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Don Berry Captures Fourth Straight Minnesota Senior Open Championship

June 4, 2015

Yesterday, the 2015 Minnesota Senior Open concluded on a three person 2-hole playoff between Section Members Don Berry, Brad Schmierer, and Bump Werness. The two-day event featured everything from excitement of a playoff to suspension of play from severe weather in the area. The tournament was hosted at Island View GC in Waconia, MN from June 2-3, 2015.

The three players all finished with an overall (-1) 143 for the event heading into the playoff. Berry held a 3 shot lead over Werness and 4 shot lead over Schmierer heading into the second day of the tournament. Beating the odds, Werness (72) E and Schmierer (70) -2 played themselves back into contention with very good second rounds. At the beginning of the round, Berry was at -3 tied with Jon Empanger of Island View GC, and John Harris of Edina CC was one stroke back at -2.

The playoff began at the 18th tee box where Werness was eventually eliminated after making a bogey while both Berry and Schmierer sunk their par putts. Most notably, Schmierer sunk a 25 foot par putt to stay alive before Berry missed his birdie chance but tapped in for par. With Schmierer and Berry advancing and Werness eliminated, the second playoff was to be played on the 1st hole.

After hitting a beautiful bunker shot about 8 feet from the flag, Berry sunk his birdie putt on the 20th hole to capture his fourth consecutive Minnesota Senior Open championship in fantastic fashion. “It was a great feeling just because I hadn’t made a birdie putt all day up until that last hole,” said Berry. “I felt that my play was better than the scores these past couple days indicate,” he emphasized. Berry’s first birdie of the day could not have come at a more opportune time for the defending champ.

Schmierer played great both days ending up just short of the championship in the playoff. He won the 60-64 Division fairly handily with his -1 overall and final round 70. “I played really well except for the 8 on Hole 14, this could have been a great round for me,” he said after the first day of play. Disregard that 8 in the first round and pair it with his second day, and the argument is there that Schmierer would have been the champion. Unfortunately for him, Berry capitalized when it mattered most in the playoff.

Other notable winners include: David Kokesh of Bent Creek GC and Jon Empanger of Island GC who shared the Low Amateur Division title, Bump Werness won the 50-59 Age Division while Pat Vincelli took home the hardware as the 65 and Over Division winner. Also, as mentioned before, Brad Schmierer won the 60-64 Age Division.

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.

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