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Swedberg Fires Second Round 66 to Capture Assistants’ Championship

September 21, 2016

Brady Swedberg of Geneva GC shot a second round 4-under 66 to win the 2016 National Car Rental Minnesota PGA Assistants’ Championship at Oak Ridge Country Club in Hopkins, Minn. This was a one day, 36-hole event.

Swedberg was positioned in third place after he turned in an even par 70 through his first 18 holes. He trailed Derek Holmes of Dellwood CC and Tommy Koehler of Woodhill CC by three and two shots, respectively.

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“I was just trying to hang in there this morning,” he emphasized. “Made a few birdies but nothing special for the most part. I couldn’t quite get in a groove.”

It didn’t take long for Swedberg to find that groove in the second round. He birdied the par-4 2nd, par-5 5th and par-3 7th on his way to a 3-under, bogey-free front nine.

“I made some adjustments after the first round,” said Swedberg. “I worked on my ball positioning on the range to fix my driver. When my driver is going good, that is usually an indicator of how I’m playing.”

Outside of a couple hiccups on the par-3 11th and par-4 15th, Swedberg was very sharp turning in a 1-under 34 on the back to complete his 4-under 66. His performance was good enough for a five shot victory with Eric Rolland of Woodhill CC finishing in second place.

Swedberg along with Rolland, Holmes and Koehler have qualified for the 40th PGA Assistant Championship at PGA Golf Club in Port St. Lucie, FL on Oct. 27-30, 2016.

The Minnesota Section PGA consists of PGA Professionals who are experts in the game and business of golf. Our mission is to promote the enjoyment and involvement of the game of golf and to contribute to its growth by providing services to golf professionals, the golf industry, people who play golf or would like to start playing golf. PGA Section Offices oversee the 41 geographic regions throughout the United States and provide the grass-roots network for the nation’s 25 million amateur golfers and with the PGA’s 27,000 members.

Head PGA Professional Heath Ekstrom Plays Over 100 Holes to Benefit Folds of Honor

September 16, 2016

Can’t never have enough golf, can you? That certainly was the case for Head Golf Professional Heath Ekstrom who played exactly 122 holes at his home course of Superior National at Lutsen on Sunday, September 11th in order to raise money for Folds of Honor.

Talk about dedication.

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Ekstrom decorated his cart with American flags in honor of those serving.

Ekstrom began his first round at 6:20am and finished his 122nd around 8:00pm when he could no longer see what he is doing. This day was nothing but a small feat in his standards as he mentioned the others out there sacrificing and serving their country.

“When these military men and women enlist, they are not only giving up precious time with their families, not seeing their kids for 1 or more years, but they are potentially giving their lives for my freedom,” he explained. “I go to work at the golf course, get to see people play a game of golf and then go home to see my wife and three kids.  They don’t have that  luxury.”

Thanks to his determination and the kind support of his community and peers, Ekstrom has raised over $4,000 in donations and pledges for Folds of Honor.

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“Now that the word is out around my area, people have already asked what they can do for next year.  So the buzz is there,” said Ekstrom. “It helped having the Duluth stations run a piece on their news programs plus the local papers here and the Minnesota Section PGA as well.  I want to grow this into another event, besides my 100 hole challenge, and have an open event that all golfers can participate in.”

“I can’t wait to do this again next year!” he added.

To view the whole feature and interview, click here.

The Minnesota Section PGA consists of PGA Professionals who are experts in the game and business of golf. Our mission is to promote the enjoyment and involvement of the game of golf and to contribute to its growth by providing services to golf professionals, the golf industry, people who play golf or would like to start playing golf. PGA Section Offices oversee the 41 geographic regions throughout the United States and provide the grass-roots network for the nation’s 25 million amateur golfers and with the PGA’s 27,000 members.

10th Annual Ian Leonard Bad Pants Open

September 14, 2016

The 10th annual Ian Leonard Bad Pants Open was a massive success yesterday at Medina Golf & Country Club. Over the past nine years, more than $300,000 has been raised through the charity pro-am, raffles and live auctions, benefiting Special Olympics Minnesota and the Minnesota Section PGA Foundation. It is expected to raise another $50,000 this year! It was an amazing day that the athletes couldn’t stop smiling about… Especially when they got their custom TaylorMade golf bags!

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Also, The Roast of Tom Barnard at Rick Bronson’s House of Comedy had a great turnout with all tickets sales going to Special Olympics Minnesota. We want to say thanks to everyone who showed for both events! You made these past two days truly special.

Make sure to check out our online auction that has some fantastic items. The auction will close on Friday, September 16th at 8:00pm; if you bid, be sure to monitor your items so you are not outbid at the last minute!

The Minnesota Section PGA consists of PGA Professionals who are experts in the game and business of golf. Our mission is to promote the enjoyment and involvement of the game of golf and to contribute to its growth by providing services to golf professionals, the golf industry, people who play golf or would like to start playing golf. PGA Section Offices oversee the 41 geographic regions throughout the United States and provide the grass-roots network for the nation’s 25 million amateur golfers and with the PGA’s 27,000 members.

Minnesotans McCauley and Johnson, St. Aubin from North Dakota Qualify for Drive, Chip and Putt National Finals at Augusta National

September 12, 2016

Isabella McCauley of Inver Grove Heights, Jack Johnson of Chaska and Emily St. Aubin of Ashley, ND from the Minnesota Section have advanced to the Drive, Chip and Putt national finals at Augusta National Golf Club on Sunday, April 2, 2017, the week before the historic Masters Tournament. All three qualified over the weekend at the Drive, Chip and Putt Regional at Hazeltine National Golf Club on Saturday, September 10th, 2016.

Hazeltine hosted a total of 80 participants from the Minnesota, Wisconsin, Nebraska, and Iowa Sections for the Drive, Chip and Putt Regional. McCauley, Johnson and St. Aubin were among the eight qualifiers advancing to Augusta for the finals. There were qualifiers for each gender and age division; 7-9, 10-11, 12-13, 14-15.

McCauley will be representing the Minnesota Section on the national stage in the Girls’ 12-13 age division while Johnson and St. Aubin will compete in the Boys’ and Girls’ 14-15 age divisions, respectively.

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Isabella McCauley of Inver Grove Heights, Minn.

This is extra special for McCauley who finished in a tie for first last year, but missed out on Augusta by losing in a tiebreaker in heartbreaking fashion.

“Last year it was hard because I thought I won, but it made me want to practice harder,” McCauley said. “I practiced so much coming in to this event and it paid off. That little bit of practice can make all the difference in the world.”

St. Aubin won her division by an astounding 13 points, winning the drive and chip portions of the competition.

Her story is much different than most kids. In a town of just over 700 people, she spends countless hours on the golf course with family and whoever is available to play with.

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Emily St. Aubin of Ashley, North Dakota

“There aren’t many people in our town, so at 1 o’clock I go play with the 60 and 70-year-olds and they teach me a lot about life and golf—it’s just a fun time. I bring them cookies sometimes—they love them.”

No story is more heartening than Johnson punching his ticket to Augusta. Johnson, a caddie at Hazeltine National and Chaska native, was able to win his division in front of a flurry of family members and supporters.

“I get to caddie for some great members here who are great guys and they really help you a lot and tell you things that will help you not just on the course, but lessons that will help you for the rest of your life.”

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Jack Johnson of Chaska, Minn.

“This is so cool—there’s not a better place to live,” he added.

Through the chaos and outpour of support from family and friends, he received a special congratulations text message from Alexandria native and Ryder Cup Assistant Captain Tom Lehman.

“Yeah Tom sent me a really nice message after the competition congratulating me,” said Johnson.

The text message from Lehman read, “What a dream come true this must be for you! Congratulations. Hopefully this will be the first of many trips [to Augusta] over the years. Wouldn’t it be something if someday you put on the green jacket and told everyone it all started with the Drive, Chip and Putt back in 2017!! Keep up the hard work and good work. It all pays off. Blessing always, Tom Lehman.”

“I couldn’t focus at class today because I am still so excited about Saturday, it’s been awesome,” he said.

To view Golf Channel’s feature on the Hazeltine National Qualifiers advancing to the national finals, click here.

The Minnesota Section PGA consists of PGA Professionals who are experts in the game and business of golf. Our mission is to promote the enjoyment and involvement of the game of golf and to contribute to its growth by providing services to golf professionals, the golf industry, people who play golf or would like to start playing golf. PGA Section Offices oversee the 41 geographic regions throughout the United States and provide the grass-roots network for the nation’s 25 million amateur golfers and with the PGA’s 27,000 members.

The Ian Leonard Bad Pants Open & “The Roast of Tom Barnard”

September 9, 2016

The Minnesota Section PGA Foundation and Special Olympics Minnesota present the tenth annual Ian Leonard Bad Pants Open on September 13th at Medina Golf & Country Club in Medina, MN. This day includes a 9-hole PGA Member – Special Olympics Athlete Pro-Am in the morning followed by an afternoon 18-hole Charity event benefiting both charities.

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Also, prior to the Ian Leonard Bad Pants, Rick Bronson’s House of Comedy is hosting a special presentation featuring KQRS Radio personality Tom Barnard. “The Roast of Tom Barnard” will be a good-natured, fun event poking fun at Tom Barnard and will be held at Rick Bronson’s House of Comedy on the 4th floor of Mall of America on September 12th, the day before the Bad Pants Open, with the show beginning at 7:30pm. Playing host to the event will be Ian Leonard and Rick Bronson.

Live auction and ticket sales will go to support Special Olympics Minnesota, tickets are only $25! Buy tickets, HERE!

Also, visit the Bad Pants Open online auction to bid on all the awesome items we have for this year! If you bid, make sure to monitor that item so you aren’t outbid at the last second!

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The Minnesota Section PGA consists of PGA Professionals who are experts in the game and business of golf. Our mission is to promote the enjoyment and involvement of the game of golf and to contribute to its growth by providing services to golf professionals, the golf industry, people who play golf or would like to start playing golf. PGA Section Offices oversee the 41 geographic regions throughout the United States and provide the grass-roots network for the nation’s 25 million amateur golfers and with the PGA’s 27,000 members.

Berry Wins Third Consecutive Minnesota Senior PGA Championship

September 8, 2016

For the third consecutive year, Don Berry walked away victorious in the Minnesota Senior PGA Championship held at Faribault Golf Club. Berry began the second round one shot ahead of George Smith of Second Swing and three shots in front of Dale Jones of Mendakota CC; both of whom joined him in the final pairing.

The first round of play was delayed multiple times yesterday due to unplayable conditions on the course. A majority of groups were able to finish their rounds before play was eventually suspended due to darkness at 7:15pm last night. A few groups finished their first rounds this morning when play officially resumed at 9:00am. Second round tee times began at 10:15, and the final pairing of Berry, Smith and Jones teed off at 11:45am.

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Berry was fortunate enough to be a part of the majority that finished before play was suspended late last night, “overall, I played really well yesterday.” said the defending champion who finished at 5-under. “It was nice to be able to finish the entire first round; especially not having to come back early today to finish.”

He got off to a great start in the second round with birdies on the par-4 1st and par-4 4th to move to 7-under and take a commanding lead. After that Berry ran into a little bit of trouble on his front nine.

“I missed a short, par putt on the 5th hole and the 7th,” said Berry. “This is a tricky, little course; if you don’t avoid the trouble spots, it can hurt.”

Berry bounced back with a clutch birdie putt on the par-5 9th after a great wedge shot put him to within 3-feet of the pin. From there, he never looked back.

Playing partners Smith and Jones struggled to establish themselves, while Berry cruised to a 2-under 70 and his third straight Minnesota Senior PGA Championship.

“He [Berry] just doesn’t make mistakes,” said Smith. “It is really impressive.”

Berry finished with a 7-under 137 two-day total—good enough for a six shot victory over second place finishers Craig Brischke of Tanners Brook GC and Mike Flaherty of Dakota Pines GC.

Berry, no stranger to the national stage, will be heading to the 28th Senior PGA Professional Championship at PGA Golf Club in Port St. Lucie, Florida on Nov. 17-20, 2016. He finished last year’s Senior Professional Championship T-35th, earning him a spot in last year’s Senior PGA Championship.

This year, he has higher aspirations, “the goal is to ultimately play well but also try to win it,” said Berry of the PGA Professional Championship in November.

Also representing the Minnesota Section at the 28th Senior PGA Professional Championship will be Craig Brischke, Mike Flaherty, Mike Barge, Dale Jones, Brad Schmierer and George Smith.

The Minnesota Section PGA consists of PGA Professionals who are experts in the game and business of golf. Our mission is to promote the enjoyment and involvement of the game of golf and to contribute to its growth by providing services to golf professionals, the golf industry, people who play golf or would like to start playing golf. PGA Section Offices oversee the 41 geographic regions throughout the United States and provide the grass-roots network for the nation’s 25 million amateur golfers and with the PGA’s 27,000 members.

2016 September Publication

September 2, 2016

Here is the 2016 September Publication for the Minnesota Section PGA.

Content includes:

  • New Members & Employment Changes
  • Minnesota PGA Championship
  • Minnesota Women’s State Open
  • Junior Golf Championship Recap
  • Minnesota Golf License Plate

The Minnesota Section PGA consists of PGA Professionals who are experts in the game and business of golf. Our mission is to promote the enjoyment and involvement of the game of golf and to contribute to its growth by providing services to golf professionals, the golf industry, people who play golf or would like to start playing golf. PGA Section Offices oversee the 41 geographic regions throughout the United States and provide the grass-roots network for the nation’s 25 million amateur golfers and with the PGA’s 27,000 members.