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Mackedanz Wins Minnesota PGA Championship at Home in Playoff

August 31, 2016

Winning a Section Major Championship in your debut is a daunting task for anyone; but when Mitch Mackedanz showed up Tuesday for the final round of the 2016 Minnesota PGA Professional Championship at Bemidji Town & Country Club, something just felt right.

With his family, friends and the Bemidji State golf team in attendance, Mackedanz battled back-and-forth with Minnesota Golf Hall of Famer and defending champion, Don Berry.

After 18 holes, the two remained tied at 7-under for the tournament forcing a playoff.

On the first playoff hole, Berry found trouble in a greenside bunker which ultimately led to a bogey, opening the door for the hometown kid. Mackedanz calmly two-putted for par from 10-feet to clinch the biggest victory in his young professional golf career.

“I was just trying to play some decent golf this week,” said the 29-year-old Bemidji native. “I know this course extremely well, probably better than anyone else in the field.”

Mackedanz, a former Bemidji State Beaver from 2006-2009 and Assistant Professional at Bemidji Town & Country Club, was familiar with the course, but began the day one shot back of Berry, knowing very well that he had a difficult battle ahead of him as they teed off Tuesday.

If there were any nerves for Mackedanz as he began his round, they were not evident as he knocked in a 10-footer right out of the gate for birdie. This pulled him even with Berry and Jon Reigstad; who also fired an opening round 67 but struggled on  the second day.

Mackedanz continued his stellar play on the front nine with a couple of lengthy birdies on the par-5, 4th and par-5, 9th. Par-5s were crucial for him as he birdied all four on the final day.

Berry would answer with birdies of his own on the par-5, 4th, par-4, 8th and par-5, 9th after an early bogey on the par-3, 2nd. The pair made the turn at 7-under a piece, setting up what would be a fantastic finish.

After a birdie on the par-5, 10th for Mackedanz, he hit an errant tee shot on the 12th that led to a double-bogey. Luckily for him, Berry would bogey the 12th to soften the blow.

Unfortunately, the bleeding didn’t stop there for Mackedanz. He would three-putt, bogey the 13th while Berry would sink his birdie try to take a two shot lead heading to the 14th tee.

“I missed a putt for birdie on the 11th, and I let it linger for the next couple holes,” Mackedanz said. “I let that carry over a little too much.”

When it seemed to be unraveling for Mackedanz, he saw the Bemidji State golf team waiting for their local professional on the tee, giving him the boost he needed to rebound. “I saw the guys up at the tee box and said to myself, alright let’s have some fun,” he added.

He would then birdie the par-5, 15th and par-4, 17th to move to 7-under, good enough to put him in a tie with Berry for first with just the 18th to play. With the gallery watching, Berry would par, placing the pressure on Mackedanz. He quickly responded with a 10-foot par to match Berry, setting up his dramatic, playoff victory.

“Being paired and competing with Don [Berry] was awesome, he’s a class act and a great player,” Mackedanz said. “I don’t know what to say right now, it feels great.”

Joining Mackedanz and Berry at the 50th PGA Professional Championship at Sunriver Resort in Sunriver, Oregon on June 25-28, 2017 are Section Members Jeff Sorenson, Brent Snyder, Kris Kroetsch, Eric Chiles, Jon Reigstad and Dave Tentis.

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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