Minnesota Golf Association

Patience Pays Off For Thul as He Claims 27th Twin Cities Senior Championship in Hastings

August 1, 2018

By Nick Hunter
  HASTINGS, Minn. – After finishing second at the Twin Cities Senior Championship in 2016, Scott Thul carded a 2-over par 74 at Dakota Pines Golf Club to claim the 27th playing of the championship Wednesday to earn his first amateur victory.
Despite finishing tied for 70th in early June at the Minnesota Senior Open, Thul said the experience at Dakota Pines early in the season paid off Wednesday, particularly from the tee box as Thul’s round consisted of one birdie and three bogeys to earn a three-stroke victory over David Heisler, John Anderson and John Juntilla.
“I did a good job of staying patient,” Thul said after his victory Wednesday. “When my driver gets loose on me, I kind of lose my focus. To be able to bring that back and stay consistent—I was really happy with that. I started off pretty well, but got a little shaky with the driver and kind of had to collect my thoughts. I got it back going and started to hit a lot of greens and I played a really good back nine.
“I’ve been struggling a little bit, especially with my putter. At the [State Amateur] qualifying, I hit it close all day long and made one birdie. I’ve been really working on putting and trying to get consistent and changing grips to see if that helps. Playing here earlier this year definitely helped because I’ve struggled off the tee on this course and I know how to play it now. Today I hit 14 greens and at the Senior Open I think I hit three.”
Finding the right rough each of his first three tee shots Wednesday, Thul scrambled to save par before he was forced to punch out at the par-4 fourth hole, leading to bogey, his only blemish on his outward nine, slipping to 1-over for the round.
Thul fell to 2-over with his second bogey of the round at the par-4 14th, but he would answer by sticking his approach at the 15th inside of five feet and convert birdie to get back to 1-over. After missing a short birdie at the 16th, Thul was unaffected by a bogey on his final hole to post a round of 74 to earn his first amateur victory.
“This win definitely builds my confidence and to finally get that win is huge,” Thul said. “Playing with guys I know I can compete against and to play more senior events will really bring some confidence to me.”
Playing on his home course of Bunker Hills at the 2016 championship, Thul carded a round of even par to finish tied for second with Joe McGinnis, four strokes behind champion J.T. Johnson, to give Thul his best finish to date.
Thul advanced to the Round of 16 at the 2017 Minnesota Golf Association Senior Players’ Championship at St. Cloud Country Club, eventually falling to Jim Lehman, 3 and 1.
Helped by back-to-back birdies late in his round Wednesday, Tom Smith carded a 2-over par 74 to earn medalist honors by three shots in the Masters Division.
Smith began his round with a bogey on the opening hole and would turn at 2-over par following a second bogey at the par-4 fifth.
Getting back on track at the 10th, Smith would double-bogey the 11th and take bogey at the 12th to drop to 4-over for the championship. But back-to-back birdies at the 14th and 15th holes would give Smith a three-stroke margin of victory over Gary Huber, Darrell Retka and Skip Schultz.
The Twin Cities Championship, Twin Cities Junior Championship and Twin Cities Senior Championship are competitive golf tournaments that raise money for the Fairway Foundation. Created by the 3M Championship, the Minnesota Golf Association as well as the Minnesota Section of the PGA, the organization introduces inner city youth and the many benefits from the game of golf.
6,382 YARDS, PAR 72
1. Scott Thul, 37-37—74
T2. David Heisler, 40-37—77
T2. John Anderson, 40-37—77
T2. John Juntilla, 36-41—77
5. Mark Thompson, 38-40—78
6. Bill Tadewald, 42-37—79
T7. Tim Gordon, 38-42—80
T7. David McCook, 43-37—80
9. Bob Auman, 41-40—81
10. David Gunderson, 38-44—82

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