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After 31 Holes & 2 Golf Courses, Schmierer/Borgen Prevail in 4-Ball Match Play Championship

October 9, 2015

The 2015 Minnesota PGA Four-Ball Match Play Championship is a season-long event in which two-person teams square off in match play format to eventually determine a champion. This event requires the participants in each match to schedule and arrange each match by stated deadlines; while also determining the method to complete each match. Typically, each match is 18 holes, but there is no set requirement as to how the winner shall be determined; leaving the option for matches to be settled by playing less or more than 18 holes, having a chip-off, or even conducting a coin flip to determine a winner.

The event started with 63 teams in May, and the Championship Match came down to the final two teams in the field—Brad Schmierer (PGA Life Member) and Chris Borgen from Lost Spur GC versus Tim Brovold from Bunker Hills GC and Mike Marshall from Oak Ridge CC. The sides elected to play the Championship Match at Golden Valley G&CC on a crisp, fall afternoon day; and the Brovold/Marshall team jumped to an early lead as they found themselves 4-up through 10 holes of play. Schmierer/Borgen, who admittedly have not played great all year but well enough to advance the Championship match, fought back and tied the match on the 18th hole as Borgen dropped in a 15-foot birdie putt to square the match. With sunlight diminishing on this early fall day, both sides headed back to the 1st tee at Golden Valley G&CC to play extra holes in sudden death format meaning the first team to win a hole is declared the Champion. On the short par 5, Brovold and Marshall found themselves in great position as they both had eagle putts to win the match. Unable to find the bottom of the cup with their eagle putts, they settled for birdies which were matched by Borgen. The match continued, and the sides would halve three more holes—22 total holes played on the day—reaching an interesting dilemma.

As the sun had now set, the match was suspended due to darkness; so the two sides discussed how and when they were going to resume the match. Do they resume on another day right where they left off on the 5th tee at Golden Valley G&CC? Do they start completely over on a new day and at a new course? Do they stop at the putting green on the way in and conduct a putting contest to determine the winner? All being viable options, the two sides eventually agreed to re-start the match and play a new 9-hole match at the Legends Club a few days later. This would work out well as none of the players were excited about resuming the match under sudden death conditions, knowing full-well that there is a chance of only playing one hole and then going home. Additionally, three of the players (Brovold, Marshall & Borgen) were scheduled to be at Legends Club for another event; so the inconvenience of aligning four separate schedules was minimized when only Schmierer had to make schedule changes to continue the match on another day.

So two days later, after the Minnesota PGA Fall Scramble, the match re-started on the 10th tee at the Legends Club. Four holes into the match and Schmierer/Borgen had a commanding 3-up lead. Brovold/Marshall stopped the slide and were able to hold steady until they found themselves 3-down with 3 holes to play. After Brovold/Marshall won holes 16 & 17, all four players stood on the 18th tee box at Legends Club in complete twilight; slightly wondering what they were going to do if this match isn’t complete after this hole. After halving the 18th hole in darkness, they had completed one of the most unusual Championship matches ever—two different golf courses, 31 total holes, spanning over three days from start to finish—and Schmierer/Borgen were (finally) the Four-Ball Match Play Champions after their 1-up victory.

Story credited to Darren DeYoung, Tournament Director of Minnesota Section PGA

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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