Quesnel and Tylke Headed to U.S. Amateur Four-Ball; Johnson and Klein Advance From Four-Way Playoff
October 7, 2020
By Nick Hunter
BLAINE, Minn. – A fast start and strong finish, highlighted by a 40-foot birdie on the final hole Tuesday at Victory Links Golf Course, helped the team of Jamie Quesnel and Max Tylke to a round of 7-under 64 to earn medalist honors and a spot in the 2021 U.S. Amateur Four-Ball Championship next spring.
Tuesday’s sectional qualifier consisted of 50 teams, playing for two spots in the field at next year’s national championship, which will be played May 22-26 at The Home Course at Chambers Bay in University Place, Wash.
Joining Quesnel and Tylke at the championship will be Troy Johnson and Geoff Klein, who advanced from a four-way playoff early Wednesday after play was suspended due to darkness late Tuesday.
“We’ve played four or five events together and had some [second-place finishes], so it’s good to bump through and qualify,” Quesnel said Tuesday. “We’ve been close and put ourselves in position where we had to birdie three of the last four.”
“It’s the first time we got off to a start where we had any control,” Tylke said. “It was perfect because we had at least some control of our outcome instead of having to make a bunch of birdies at the end and hoping to tie.”
Quesnel holed his eagle chance from 25-feet at the second before Tylke strung together three consecutive birdies beginning at the fifth to quickly move to 5-under for the day.
“That was all iron play. I didn’t have more than six feet,” Tylke said of his hot streak on the front nine Tuesday. “The iron play was perfect there and the eagle to start was huge. We had a good up-and-down at four and ran from there.”
Tylke converted his fourth birdie of the round at the par-5 12th to move the twosome to 6-under before Quesnel’s no-doubter from 40 feet at the last found the bottom of the cup to finish atop the leaderboard with a 64.
“We really ham and egged—I think we tied on two holes,” Quesnel said Tuesday. “When I was taking breaks, [Tylke] was doing it and he had a good stretch of birdies. I bogeyed four straight and he made par on every single one. He threw some darts and got us right into the mix of things.”
Quesnel, who owns three victories at the Labor Day Classic in Worthington, Minn., qualifies for his first USGA championship Tuesday, while Tylke heads back to his first national championship since his appearance at the U.S. Amateur at Riviera Country Club in Los Angeles. Tylke also earned a trip to the U.S. Amateur Public Links Championship in 2013 at Laurel Hill Golf Club in Lorton, Va.
Late Tuesday, Johnson and Klein finished 18 holes of regulation in a four-way tie with the team of Jesse Bull and Mike Fiedler, the twosome of 2013 Minnesota Golf Association Amateur Four-Ball champions Jordan Hawkinson and Jesse Larson and the pairing of David Daly and Robbie Kelley at 6-under 65.
Resuming the playoff early Wednesday, Klein dropped his birdie chance on the second playoff hole to clinch the final qualifying spot for him and Johnson.
During their round Tuesday, Klein rolled in a pair of birdies during his front nine, while Johnson added a third birdie for the twosome at the par-4 ninth to turn in 3-under. Klein continued his hot play to the final nine holes, carding three consecutive birdies beginning at the 11th, which included a massive 90-footer for birdie, to move to 6-under and the two would tally consecutive pars to close out the round in a tie for second.
No stranger to playing on a national level, Johnson will make his 13th appearance at a USGA championship next spring, including appearances at the U.S. Amateur Four-Ball two of the past three seasons.
“Geoff was our horse for sure,” Johnson said Wednesday. “He played an almost perfect round of golf making five birdies, and one in the playoff today. He didn’t need my help much but I was there when he did, so I felt good about that.
“It’s a lot of fun to play with a partner—it doesn’t seem to have the same pressure or feel as other [USGA] events I’ve played in, so I’m excited to see what Chambers Bay is like.”
Earning his first trip to a national event in more than 10 years Wednesday, Klein twice qualified for the U.S. Mid-Amateur Championship in 2007 and again in 2010. Taking the position of head golf coach at Minnesota State University, Mankato for over five years, along with raising a young family kept Klein away from competing himself.
“This is my first USGA event since 2010 so it means a lot to me,” said Klein, “I was starting to wonder if I was going to get back to one.
“It was awesome to have someone with Troy’s pedigree to ask me to partner with him. He’s very steady, so it made it easy for me to play kind of stress-free. I’m not sure I’ve made a longer putt in my life than on the 11th. It was a bogie hole we turned into a birdie with a lot of luck.”
The tandem of Hawkinson and Larson finished as first alternates, while the pairing of Jesse Bull and Mike Fiedler finished as second alternates.