Schmitz comes close in Minnesota State Open

Farmington native and Apple Valley resident Sammy Schmitz finished second in the Minnesota State Open for the second time in three years. (Photo by Mark Brettingen/Minnesota Golf Association)
Farmington native and Apple Valley resident Sammy Schmitz finished second in the Minnesota State Open for the second time in three years. (Photo by Mark Brettingen/Minnesota Golf Association)

Farmington native ties for second following playoff

Farmington native Sammy Schmitz, a two-time Minnesota Golf Association Player of the Year, was in a playoff Sunday for what would have been the biggest title of his career.

But University of Minnesota golfer Jon DuToit birdied the first hole of the Minnesota State Open playoff to snatch the championship from Schmitz’s grasp Sunday at Edinburgh USA in Brooklyn Park. It was the second time in three years Schmitz finished second in the state open.

Schmitz, who lives in Apple Valley and plays out of Valleywood Golf Course, broke par all three rounds of last weekend’s tournament, shooting 69, 71 and 68 for a 208 total (8 under par). His final round included a 3-under 33 on the back nine and a 20-foot birdie putt on the 18th hole.

Former Elk River High School golfer Clayton Rask, who now plays on various mini-tours, had a one stroke lead with one hole to play in the final round but made bogey and wound up in the playoff with Schmitz and DuToit.

Schmitz and Rask both parred the first playoff hole but DuToit, a former Chaska High School player, made a 10-foot putt for birdie and the victory. Because Schmitz and DuToit are amateurs, Rask ended up with the $8,500 first-place money.

Schmitz, who won the MGA Player of the Year award in 2011 and 2012, has been a consistent high finisher in local events. He won the MGA Mid-Amateur in 2011 and the MGA Mid-Players match-play tournament the following year. He played college golf at St. John’s and briefly turned professional and played mini-tours before regaining his amateur status.

Another reinstated amateur, Trent Peterson of Valleywood (and formerly of Eagan High School), finished tied for sixth at 4 under.

Several other players with connections to Valleywood also made the cut. Amateur Justin Burleson tied for 26th at 2 over. Tyler Ekenberg, a mini-tour player who competed at Apple Valley High School, also finished in the tie for 26th and won $531.25. Ralph Baxley earned $378 by tying for 36th place at 4 over.

Chris Borgen, a teaching professional at Lost Spur in Eagan, tied for 26th. Justin Doeden, a June 2013 graduate of Lakeville South High School, qualified as an amateur and tied for 48th at 6 over.

Defending state open champion Ryan Peterson, a two-time state high school individual champion while at Eagan (he tied Trent Peterson for the title one year), struggled to an 80 in the first round but was able to make the cut, finish 7 over for the tournament and earn $275.

Many of the best players Minnesota has produced have won the Minnesota State Open. Former champions include Tom Lehman, who won the second of back-to-back titles in 1990. Six years later, he won the British Open.

MGA Amateur

Earlier last week, the state’s best amateur golfers gathered for the MGA Amateur Championship at Medina Golf and Country Club. After three days of play in sweltering weather, Sam Matthew of Midland Hills Country Club and the University of North Dakota finished with a 4-under total of 212 to win by one stroke.

Trent Peterson, playing in the state amateur for the first time since winning it in 2008, tied for fifth at 3 over. Peterson spent some time as a professional before regaining his amateur status.

Among players finishing in a tie for 18th at 8 over were Lakeville North High School incoming senior Freddy Thomas and Concordia University incoming junior Adam Petterson, a Lakeville North graduate. Thomas tied for second in the state high school Class AAA tournament in June.

Justin Burleson and Schmitz, both of Valleywood Golf Club, were in a tie for 28th at 9 over. Another Valleywood player, J.T. Johnson, tied for 34th at 10 over. Matt Chalberg of Heritage Links in Lakeville tied for 60th at 20 over.

Hegland wins

Bruce Hegland of Apple Valley last weekend won the Minnesota Public Golf Association Senior Public Links championship by 10 strokes at Southbrook Golf Club in Annandale.

Hegland was the only player to finish under par for the 36-hole tournament. He shot 68 the first day and followed with a 70 for a total of 138, 6 under par.

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