Minnesota Golf Association

Welch Sisters Jump Out Front Early at MGA Women's Amateur Four-Ball

August 7, 2019

By Nick Hunter
  ELK RIVER, Minn. – During the final round of the 2018 Minnesota Golf Association Women’s Amateur Four-Ball Championship, Megan Welch carded five birdies and an eagle to help her and partner Taylor Ledwein to a five-stroke victory at Crow River Golf Club.
Playing alongside her younger sister Emma this week at Elk River Golf Club, Megan Welch continued her strong play at the championship Wednesday, rolling in four birdies to once again help her team to the top of the leaderboard, posting 3-under 69 to take a two-stroke lead after the first round of competition.
“Today went well. I thought we did a good job of having one of us play safe, allowing the other to try to make birdies. [Emma] made some really good 10 to 12-footers for birdie out there. Most of my birdies I hit close enough that I didn’t have to work,” Megan said Wednesday. “We played really well together.
“We thought anything under 70 would be good today. We played a practice round and knew that this course was going to be a lot harder than Crow River was last year and the scores would be higher. We thought anything in the 60s would be good after Day One.”
Emma Welch, who will begin her junior year at Lakeville North High School next month, hit her approach to 12 feet on the opening hole and buried her birdie putt to quickly put her team in red figures for the round before the two would give back a stroke with bogey at the second.
Megan Welch, a soon-to-be sophomore at Bradley University, sank her birdie putt from off the green at the par-4 third hole and sank her 6-footer for birdie at the fifth to put the twosome at 2-under before a second bogey at the ninth dropped the sisters back to 1-under for the championship.
“These are some of the smallest greens I’ve ever played on,” Megan Welch said. “They’re hard to stop—on [No. 3] I landed a pitching wedge before the green and it rolled all the way over to the back of the green. Par is a good score on this course.”
“It’s hard to spin the ball, which makes it hard to hold them. You usually have to run the ball up onto the green,” Emma Welch said.
At the short par-4 14th, Megan Welch hit her approach inside of two feet for a tap-in birdie, but the two would both take bogey at the 15th to fall back to 1-under once again before each added a birdie over the next two holes to finish the day with a three-stroke lead at 3-under 69.
Taking experience from her win a year ago, Megan Welch said, “I think it was good to be there for your teammate and always have someone play risky and someone plays safe, so you always have that par opportunity. If you’re both trying to make birdie, that’s where you’re going to get into trouble, especially on this course. If you go at a lot of pins, you could be way off track.
“If we eliminate the bogeys—we had some short game issues today, so if we can eliminate the bogeys and play our game, we’ll be fine.”
Carding three birdies against two bogeys Wednesday, sisters Stephanie and Leah Herzog posted a 1-under par 71 and will begin the final round two shots off the lead.
Stephanie Herzog, who will begin her junior season at the University of Iowa this fall, won the 2017 Ms. Golf award, given to the best golfer during their respective senior season, while Leah Herzog took the honors in June, following one of the best seasons for a high school golfer in Minnesota history. She will begin her collegiate career at the University of Nebraska next month.
Leigh Klasse, who has 16 state four-ball championships to her credit, and partner Betsy Aldrich will begin Thursday’s final round in third place following Wednesday’s round of even par 72, three shots off the lead. Aldrich paired with Ede Rice to win the 2006 Minnesota Women’s Golf Association Amateur Four-Ball Championship at Medina Golf and Country Club.
The 2019 MGA Women’s Amateur Four-Ball Championship concludes Thursday, with final-round tee times beginning at 7:30 a.m. at Elk River Golf Club.

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