Brellenthin and Peterson Down Johnson and Whaley in Playoff to Win MGA Senior Four-Ball
September 30, 2022 | 5 min.
LAKE CITY, Minn. – Teammates at the University of Minnesota on the golf course and roommates off the course, John Brellenthin and Tim Peterson have played with or against each other for over to 40 years.
It only seemed natural for the two to pair up at the Minnesota Golf Association Senior Amateur Four-Ball Championship when they became eligible at age 55.
The two notched a third-place finish in 2020 at Southern Hills Golf Club and bettered their performance last year at Southview Country Club by finishing second to Dave Haslerud and Matt Yeager by one stroke.
Brellenthin and Peterson erased a three-stroke deficit entering Thursday’s final round at The Jewel Golf Club, firing a 2-under 69 for the second consecutive day and prevailed in a two-hole playoff against J.T. Johnson and Tom Whaley to win the 49th playing of the championship.
“It’s pretty cool to finally win an MGA event. I’d hate to add up all the events I’ve played in over the years because it’s a lot,” Peterson laughed after collecting his first state win late Thursday. “Things coming full circle—it’s fun to win it with this guy.”
“We played against each other as juniors and then lived together in college, so to win the Senior Four-Ball with him is pretty cool,” Brellenthin said. “He’s the best partner around.”
Peterson got his team on the board early during the final round Thursday, sinking a 20-footer for birdie at the third to put his team at 3-under for the tournament, but the two were unable to convert scoring chances over the next six holes.
“It felt like a bit of a grind today because we weren’t making many putts. We were three back coming into the day and felt like we needed to make up some ground, and it just wasn’t happening,” Peterson said. “[John] was so solid on those putts inside of five or six feet. We didn’t make a lot of putts, but he made a lot of clutch par saves.”
Hitting his approach to a foot at the par-4 10th, Peterson tapped in for birdie, but the two would take a step back with bogey at the 15th.
“We weren’t looking at the leaderboard at all—John doesn’t want to, but on the 16th hole, I finally looked and saw we were only one shot back,” Peterson said. “John winds up birdying that hole and all of the sudden we’re right there.”
At the 16th, Brellenthin wedged his approach to 10 feet and converted his birdie chance and the two would go on to join Johnson and Whaley in the clubhouse at 4-under 138.
On the first playoff hole, both Johnson and Brellenthin missed birdie chances inside of five feet to extend the playoff to a second hole.
Brellenthin hit his approach to four feet once again at the second playoff hole and buried his birdie putt to secure the victory for him and Peterson.
“We both really kept the ball in play. We had a lot of holes where we were both putting and had our chances,” Brellenthin said. “Neither one of us were out of any holes and relying on the other player, which is a lot less stress.”
“The key for us was just staying in it,” said Peterson. “Even though it didn’t feel like we were playing the greatest, just grinding away. Low and behold we were right in the thick of things when it came down to the end.”
With the win this week, Brellenthin earns MGA Senior Men’s Player of the Year honors, edging Johnson by a total of 1.67 points.
“It's an honor. I won the [MGA Junior Boys’] Player of the Year in 1981 and to win Senior Player of the Year 40 years later is crazy,” Brellenthin said of earning top senior men’s honors this season. “Without Tim I couldn’t have won it.
“Without Tim I wouldn’t have won the Senior Am. Last year I was hurt and didn’t start playing until late in the year. We played the [MGA Four-Ball] together and made the cut, and it gave me another competitive round before the Senior Am, which probably the difference for me winning the tournament.”
Last season Brellenthin became the first player in 20 years to win the MGA Senior Amateur on his home course when he earned a two-stroke victory at The Minikahda Club.
Upon returning from the Dallas area to begin the 2018 season, Brellenthin quickly made his mark once again on the Minnesota golf scene by edging Don Berry by a stroke to win the Minnesota Senior Open at Hastings Golf Club.
Peterson entered the week coming off a top-15 finish at the MGA Senior Amateur Championship at Crow River Golf Club, also the site where a 15-year-old Peterson made his first appearance at a state championship at the Minnesota State Junior Boys’ Championship in 1980.
Tallying three top-5 finishes at state championships, as well as advancing to the quarterfinal round of the U.S. Senior Amateur at the Country Club of Detroit last season, earned Peterson the first MGA Senior Men’s Player of the Year nod of his career.
Johnson, who won the Minnesota Public Golf Association Senior Public Links earlier this season, and Whaley combined to shoot 1-under 70 to open the championship Wednesday.
The two started fast during the final round with back-to-back birdies at the first and second, but played the final seven holes of their front nine in 1-over.
Carding a birdie and two bogeys during their final nine put Johnson and Whaley into the early clubhouse lead with a final-round 68.
Following a 2-under 69 to begin the championship Wednesday, the twosome of Bill and Robert Anderson tallied a final-round 74 to edge the team of Mike Fermoyle and Tom Smith by one stroke to earn medalist honors in the 65-and-over Masters Division.
Carding three net eagles during their final round Wednesday helped the pairing of Brian Patterson and Steve Pribyl to a second consecutive round of 7-under 64 to earn a two-stroke victory over Jack Hughes and Larry Noble in the Net Division.