Brellenthin and Peterson Go Back-to-Back at MGA Senior Four-Ball
September 13, 2023 | 3 min.
By Nick Hunter
WILLMAR, Minn. – A string of four consecutive birdies to begin their final round Wednesday lifted defending champions John Brellenthin and Tim Peterson to a final-round 9-under 63 at Eagle Creek Golf Club to claim their second consecutive Minnesota Golf Association Senior Amateur Four-Ball Championship.
Entering the final round in a share of the lead with 2019 champions Jim Lehman and Jerry Rose, Brellenthin and Peterson dropped birdie putts early and often Wednesday to pull away from the field for a six-stroke victory over Lehman and Rose.
“Tim and I have been friends for 40 years—playing against each other in junior golf and then together at [University of Minnesota], so it’s really a lot of fun,” Brellenthin said after collecting his fourth state victory Wednesday.
“My second statewide win—it’s nice to be able to do it again, especially with him,” said Peterson.
Edging the team of J.T. Johnson and Tom Whaley in a playoff a season ago at The Jewel Golf Club, Brellenthin and Peterson won their first MGA Senior Four-Ball title, earning Brellenthin his first Player of the Year nod, a season after Peterson claimed the honor.
Brellenthin, also 59, has now won an event in each of the past three seasons, beginning with the MGA Senior Amateur Championship on his home course at The Minikahda Club in 2021.
His first state victory came at the Minnesota Senior Open at Hastings Golf Club in 2018, defeating Don Berry by a stroke.
Rolling in three consecutive birdie chances from inside three feet to start the round Wednesday, Brellenthin moved his team into the outright lead at 10-under before Peterson converted his birdie chance at the fourth.
“Very surprising, but it was great,” Brellenthin said of the fast start to open the final round. “I was a little surprised how low the scores were the first day. We shot 7-under, which is a great score, but I thought we’d have to go out and shoot the same score again today to have a chance to win.”
“It sure looked like we were going to have to come out and shoot a low score because Jim and Jerry started out really strong today, too,” said Peterson.
The only blemish at the 36-hole championship for Brellenthin and Peterson came at the fifth hole Wednesday, carding their lone bogey of the week.
Peterson answered by carding birdie at the sixth, while Brellenthin rolled in a birdie chance at the ninth to put him and Peterson up by three.
Hitting a remarkable punch shot at the 10th, Peterson converted his birdie chance from 10 feet and rolled in an eight-foot birdie putt at the 13th to reach 14-under for the championship.
Brellenthin’s birdie putt from the front edge of the par-3 16th essentially sealed the championship, sinking another birdie on the final hole to put him and Peterson into the clubhouse at 16-under 128 for a six-stroke victory.
“Everything today went right for us,” Brellenthin said. “I don’t know that we could’ve shot one or two shots better—that was probably the best we could’ve shot.”
Lehman and Rose matched Brellenthin and Peterson early with back-to-back birdies at the first and second holes before running into trouble with bogeys at the fifth and seventh holes.
The two battled back with birdies at the eighth and ninth holes to pull within three of the lead at 9-under.
Unable to carry momentum to their final nine holes Wednesday, Lehman and Rose couldn’t convert a birdie opportunity until the 17th when Rose rolled in a short putt to momentarily move within five shots of the lead.
Finishing with a par, Lehman and Rose would card a 10-under 134.
Posting final a final-round 67 Wednesday, the team of Randy Jacobus and Tim Samuelson finished in a four-way share of third place at 9-under 135.
Also placing third was the pairing of Greg Buckingham and Bob Neuberger, as well as Bart Bradford and Rick Frieburg.
Winners in 2020 and 2021, David Haslerud and Matt Yeager followed an opening round 66 with a 3-under 69 Wednesday to finish seven shots back at 135 and in a share of third.