Amateurs Slip Past Professionals at MGA/PGA Cup Matches
May 10, 2023
Dr. Michael James “Jim” Scheller, 84, of Plymouth, passed away on January 31. Born in Minneapolis, Scheller attended Wayzata high school and enlisted in the U.S. Army, serving with the “All American” 82nd Airborne Division. He attended the University of St. Thomas, where he played football, and later accepted a commission in the U.S. Air Force, where he would become an F-4 Phantom fighter pilot. Once a civilian, Scheller graduated from the University of Minnesota with a Doctor of Dental Surgery degree and practiced dentistry for 32 years in St. Louis Park.
A talented athlete – he was goalie on the University of Minnesota’s freshman hockey team – he picked up golf at the not-so-tender age of 29, and developed into one of Minnesota’s “better amateurs,” according to three-time amateur champ Mike Fermoyle writing in the Fall 1991 Minnesota Golfer magazine. Earlier that summer, the 52-year-old Scheller, a recently reinstated amateur carrying a 4 handicap from Golden Valley CC, posted rounds of 66-73-74—213, 6-under par, during the MGA Amateur Championship to beat John Harris and Tim Herron by three strokes at Minnesota Valley CC.
The preceding season and utilizing the same “blitz-the-field-in-the-first-round-strategy,” Scheller won the Minnesota Senior Open at Rolling Green CC (now Medina G&CC), then turned professional in a bid for the PGA Senior Tour. Fermoyle explained the short-lived attempt accounted for Scheller’s seemingly out-of-sync and higher handicap upon his return to the amateur ranks in ‘91.
While a member at Golden Valley CC, Scheller, who won the club championship twice and the senior club championship three times, bagged two aces in the same round in 2002, holing out in one shot at the par-3 14th and 17th holes. The odds of making two hole-in-ones in the same round are 67 million to one.
Scheller is survived by his wife of 59 years, Patty, children Denise and Michael, six grandchildren and four great-grandchildren. Funeral services are scheduled for 11 a.m., April 28, at the Chapel of St. Thomas Aquinas at the University of St. Thomas, St. Paul. Memorials may be sent to the Disabled American Veterans.
April 5, 2023
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