Quesnel, Larson, Bull and Burleson Among Winners on Day One of MGA Mid-Players' Championship
September 29, 2020
By Nick Hunter
CANNON FALLS, Minn. – Looking to bounce back from a runner-up finish a season ago, Jamie Quesnel earned a pair of victories Monday to open the 14th Minnesota Golf Association Mid-Players’ Championship at Cannon Golf Club.
Closing in on his first state victory last season, Quesnel fell to Eagan High School teammate Trent Peterson at Crow River Golf Club, 5 and 4. Quesnel took two steps closer Monday by defeating Casey Nelson before pulling away from Will Hickey to advance to Tuesday’s quarterfinal round.
“Coming in I knew I was playing good enough to have some good matches,” Quesnel said Monday. “I thought I did a good job of not getting overly excited or frustrated. My attitude was pretty even keel, which is a good thing because sometimes you hang on one shot.
“It was hard today, if you missed it at all, it was gone. The greens are so good here, if you get in the wrong spot and get a downhill putt, it’s really hard. The guys winning this week are keeping the ball in the right spots.”
Quesnel trailed Nelson by one after 10 holes early Monday, but took advantage of a pair of miscues by Nelson at the 11th and 12th holes to regain momentum before pulling away with back-to-back birdies late, claiming a 3 and 2 victory.
Rolling in a pair of 12-footers for birdie early during his Round of 16 match against Hickey, Quesnel built a 2-up lead after the outward nine before carding his third birdie of the match at the 10th.
Following a bogey at the 11th and a double-bogey at the 12th, Hickey forfeited the match due to injury, sending Quesnel on the quarterfinal round for the second consecutive season.
“My game has been pretty good this season, more streaky than I’m used to—I don’t make a ton of birdies and I don’t make a ton of bogeys,” Quesnel said. “Hit the right spots, avoid mistakes and stay under the hole—if you can do that, then you should have a good match.”
Quesnel will now face 2018 champion Justin Burleson, who defeated Patrick Simmer to begin play Monday before downing Topher Baron, 3 and 2, during the Round of 16.
Looking to get back to the winner’s circle for the first time since 2013, Jesse Larson advanced to the quarterfinal round Monday, going extra holes to beat Ben Strauman before a come-from-behind victory against Minnesota Public Golf Association Senior Public Links champion Tony Brown, 2 and 1.
“I made putts when I needed to. I didn’t make a ton, but I was able to make some par saves and some birdies when I needed them,” Larson said. “Solid golf overall and I’m happy to get through.
“I played well the first match and then Tony got off to a quick start this afternoon and didn’t give me many opportunities. I made a good par save on 13 and took control on the back nine and hung on to it. Making that par on 13 really felt like I was back in it.”
Larson rolled in a late birdie during his opening-round to tie Strauman before winning the first playoff hole to meet Brown in the Round of 16.
Brown carded three straight birdies during his opening nine to jump out to a 2-up lead through nine holes. Larson took advantage of two bogeys by Brown at 11 and 12 before sinking an 8-footer for par at the 13th to remain tied.
Larson took his first lead of the match by rolling in an 8-footer for birdie at the 14th and would close out the match by winning the 17th with a par to advance to the quarterfinals for the first time since 2017.
“This year has been a struggle and I’m still trying to find it. You can come to match play and get away with it,” Larson said Monday. “I’m driving it better than I have been and my iron game is better, but my short game has been letting me down. I feel like I’ve been giving away shots with my short game.
“I’ve gotten to the finals in this event; I’ve played in the semis. You get the putter hot or find something key and last a couple days, there’s no reason you can’t go deep in this tournament. I’m hopeful and I’ve played against all of these guys many times, but getting to the second day feels good.”
Larson will now take on 2014 MGA Amateur champion Jesse Bull during Tuesday’s quarterfinal round. Bull defeated Jake Warneke, 2 and 1, to begin the championship and would cruise to a second-round victory over Geoff Klein, 5 and 4.
Tony Krogen overcame an early deficit to defeat Joel B. Johnson during Monday’s Round of 16 after downing Jonathan Hanner, 1-up, to begin the championship. Krogen will face Matthew Norgaard, who earned victories over Ryan Luessenheide and Tyler Obermueller, during the quarterfinals Tuesday.
In the final quarterfinal match, Daryl Schomer will square off against Tim McKenney after Schomer earned a first-round victory over Jordan Hawkinson before edging Tony Vincelli, 1-up. McKenney got past Robbie Kellie after a late surge to oust MGA Players’ runner-up Ryan Conn early Monday.
The 14th MGA Mid-Players’ Championship resumes Tuesday with the quarterfinal round beginning at 8:32 a.m. at Cannon Golf Club.