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Ryan Helminen Sinks Birdie on 18 to Claim Minnesota Golf Champions Title

May 9, 2016

The Minnesota Golf Champions field is scattered with the state’s elite talents, but on this day the title would belong to Wisconsin native Ryan Helminen of Ridgeway CC.

With more favorable conditions on the final day of the Minnesota Golf Champions at Golden Valley Golf & Country Club, Helminen fired a 6-under 67 to win the title with a three-day total of 13-under 206. Donald Constable of Spring Hill GC finished runner-up one stroke back at 12-under 207.

Helminen began the day two back of Constable but quickly erased the deficit with a 3-under 34 on the front nine to pull even at the turn. Constable’s front nine was up-and-down; he just couldn’t quite gain his form of days earlier but finished strong with a birdie on the 9th.

“In general, I felt very comfortable out there,” said Helminen. “Don and I were kind of feeding off each other.”

All square making the turn, Helminen found a groove birdieing the first four holes to build a three stroke lead. It looked all but certain that Helminen would run away with it given his play throughout the day, but he had a costly four-putt for double bogey on the 16th, opening the door for Constable who birdied.

Despite the mishap, Helminen remained composed and focused on the final two holes, “I knew I had to shake it off and that I still had a good chance to win,” he said.

The two parred the par 3, 17th including a stellar greenside bunker save from Constable that warranted a fist pump. “I hung in there after leading and then trailing and that putt on 17 was probably one of my all-time saves,” said Constable.

The pair headed to the 18th tee knotted at 12-under for the tournament. Eventually it came down to Helminen’s 5-footer for birdie and the title.

And just like a majority of the putts he had throughout the day, the ball struck the bottom of the cup.

It was a tough loss for Constable who looked great all weekend, but he didn’t leave discouraged. “I can take a lot away from it without winning–a lot of positives.”

Jesse Bull of Golden Valley G&CC was the low amateur with a three-day total of even par 219. The Past Masters Champion was Bill Rislove who finished with a 4-over two-day total.

Special thanks to the host course Golden Valley Golf & Country Club and our sponsors Clarity Sound Design & Vision and York Solutions.

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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