Minnesota Golf Association

Peterson Cruises to Fourth Win at MGA Mid-Amateur Championship

August 31, 2021

By Nick Hunter
  WILLMAR, Minn. – A 6-under 66 helped four-time Minnesota Golf Association Player of the Year Trent Peterson to a four-shot advantage after Monday’s second round of the 34th MGA Mid-Amateur Championship. Peterson extended his lead Tuesday at Eagle Creek Golf Club, firing a 5-under 67 to earn a seven-stroke victory over Justin Burleson and Troy Johnson.
Successfully defending his title from last year’s championship at Northland Country Club, the 34-year-old Peterson has now won four of the last five Mid-Amateur Championships, collecting the 31st state victory of his career Tuesday.
“Any time you can win a big, state event like this four times, it’s pretty good,” Peterson said following his win. “Going into the year, my goal was to win one big event. Now I’ve won two—I couldn’t be happier.
Peterson extended his streak of at least one state victory to a ninth consecutive season with his win at the MPGA State Public Links Championship at Pebble Creek Golf Club Aug. 22 for his 30th-career state championship. But his milestone victory was short-lived as Peterson emerged as the only player in the field to post three straight rounds below par during this week's dominating performance.
“I’m really confident in my game right now and I can get up on the tee box and swing hard at it because I know where it’s going,” Peterson said. “I’m hitting the ball how I want with my irons and I’m making putts—I’m playing really good right now.
“When you have that confidence, you play that much better because I can play more aggressive here or there, take dead-aim at the pin and get an extra birdie look or two.”
An up-and-down front nine for Peterson with four birdies and three bogeys to turn in 8-under for the tournament, it was only a matter of time before the defending champion found his stride, carding four birdies over his final eight holes Tuesday, including three straight birdies beginning at the 11th to pull away from the field.
With the tournament well in-hand, Peterson hit his approach to four feet at the par-4 17th, rolling in his eighth birdie of the final round and two-putted for par at the last to capture the victory at 12-under 204.  
“My irons were good and I was giving myself good looks at birdie all day. The back nine was pretty stress-free,” he said. “I knew I had a little cushion and was hitting the ball great, so why change anything? It’s only putting pressure on myself.”
Peterson now passes Sammy Schmitz and John Spreiter with his four tournament wins, but remains one win shy of John Harris’ five wins, including three straight from 1990-1992.
Scaling back his competitive schedule due to his work and school conflicts, Peterson has continued to play at an extremely high level despite fewer and fewer repetitions during the season.
“If you count up all of my tournament rounds, and I’d have to look it up, I’ve played maybe 30 times this year, which is more than I thought I would, and 29 were tournament rounds,” he said. “Part of it is that I have more responsibilities. I’m not in college anymore and can’t play every day.
“I don’t work on things, per se, because I’m more about the feel and I’m not mechanical whatsoever. As long as I have the feel and the touch, I can move the ball around the course.”
Beginning an intense two-year program late in the 2019 season, Peterson has still managed to claim seven tournament titles, while adding another four top-5 finishes.
Winner of the 2010 and 2014 MGA Mid-Amateur Championships, the 50-year-old Johnson entered the week with one win on the season, defeating Paul Meyer in the finals of the 2021 MGA Mid-Players’ Championship at The Quarry at Giants Ridge for his first win in seven seasons.
“All-in-all, I’m really happy with how I’m playing, but I just can’t keep the momentum and get everything going,” Johnson said Tuesday. “I changed my swing over the winter and I’m definitely seeing the results in my ball-striking. It’s frustrating, but positive for the year. Couple tournaments coming up, so let’s see if we can have a couple more good finishes.”
Johnson birdied his first hole Tuesday to keep pace with Burleson and Peterson, but would fall to even par for the round with a bogey at the third. Playing his next six holes in even par, Johnson would remain five shots off the lead before a spark early during his back nine.
Carding three consecutive birdies beginning at the 10th, Johnson moved himself into second place, three shots back, but a bogey at the 13th kept Johnson from gaining any ground. He would finish with consecutive pars to post a final-round 70 to finish tied with Burleson at 5-under 211.
“It’s kind of the same broken record—I just couldn’t keep the momentum going. I hit a lot of poor wedge shots into the greens and I had two-three putts again today.”
Burleson, winner of the 2019 championship at Bearpath Golf and Country Club, birdied his final two holes Tuesday to card a 2-under 70 during his final round to join Johnson in second place, seven shots behind Peterson.
Owner of five state championship victories, Burleson kept pace with Peterson by two-putting for birdie at the first, but it was a pivotal bogey from a greenside bunker at the par-4 seventh that kept Burleson from contending late Tuesday, trailing by six shots after his first bogey of the round.
Burleson traded a bogey for a birdie at the 11th and 12th, but would make a move late by sinking back-to-back birdies at the 17th and 18th to jump into a share of second with Johnson.
Yarri Bryn, winner of the 2020 Twin Cities Championship, posted a final-round 68 Tuesday to finish in a four-way tie for fourth with Nick Jarrett, Joel B. Johnson and Ryan Conn at even par 216.

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