Schmitz Takes Advantage of the Southview Par 5s, Leads PGA Foundation (Tapemark) by 2

June 8, 2024 | 8 min.
By Michael R Fermoyle



WEST ST. PAUL -- For Septuagenarians who used to play in tournaments, watching the 20- and 30-somethings who play tournaments these days is both amazing and demorlizing at the same time. The young guys  hit the ball so hard, and so far, and the ball comes off the driver face so fast that the old guys can't even follow it. And it goes 315 or 325 yards, sometimes even farther. That's about 50 yards farther than the longest hitters used to hit it.

(Jack Nicklaus averaged about 270 yards off the tee in the late '60s and early '70s, and at the time, that was as far as anyone on the PGA Tour could hit it. Lee Trevino, a six-time major champion, averaged something more like 245 yards off the tee.) 

That trend toward more and more distance by elite players makes the par 5s at Southview Country Club, all of which are between 475 and 488 yards, par 4s, basically, for the pros who are playing in the Minnesota PGA  Foundation Pro-Am (formerly The Tapemark) this weekend.

And Michael Schmitz did exactly what you would have expected him to do to on the par 5s Saturday. He played the four of them in 4 under par. The 28-year-old professional, who went to Bloomington Jefferson High School and  played college golf for Winona State but now splits his time between Phoenix and Minnesota, made only two birdies on the front nine -- the 477-yard, par-5 fourth hole and the 486-yard, par-5 sixth. After makng the turn, he birdied the short -- but deceptively difficult -- 329-yard, par-4 12th, and the 142-yard, par-3 13th. He gave one back at the 436-yard, par-4 16th (No. 12 and 16 have been the two toughest holes at Southview in the tournament this year), but he birdied both of the finishing holes, the 488-yard, par-5 17th and the 475-yard, par-5 18th. 

That gave Schmitz a 6-under-par 65 and a 36-hole total of 133, and he emerged from Saturday's morning session as the tournament leader. 

Nevertheless, most of the players who were a the top of the leader board at the end of Friday's first round were scheduled to play in the afternoon on Saturday. As the afternoon went on, a few of  them made runs at the 9-under target that Schmitz had set for them, and it appeared that at least a couple of them would pull even with Schmitz, or maybe even pull ahead. But that never happened, and at the end of the day, Schmitz was still on top, by two shots.

No amateur has ever won this tournament since it became the Tapemark Charity Pro-Am in 1972 (it was the Peters Open before that), but Justin Burleson, the former MGA Mid-Amateur and Mid-Players champion, put himself in postion to become the first amateur winner of the Minnesota PGA/Tapemark title when he shot 66 Friday afternoon in the first round. He went off early Saturday, and although he failed to birdie the fourth hole, he did birdie the sixth, which put him a 6 under for the tournament. But he bogeyed the eighth and ninth holes. Burleson birdied the par-3 13th, which got him to minus 5 for the tournament, and if he could have just made pars on the next three holes and closed his round with birdies at the two remaining par 5s,17 and 18, he would have been 7 under. Instead, he bogeyed the 16th and birdied the 17th, but parred the 18th. So he ended up at even par for the day and minus 5, 137, for the tournament..

As a result, Burleson leads the amateur portion of the tournament by nine shots over Joe Honsa (146) after 36 holes -- and is four behind Schmitz in the overall standings going into Sunday's final round.

Thomas Campbell, the former University of Minnesota star from New Zealand, shot 66 on Friday, which put him in a postiion to challenge Schmitz for the lead when he got onto the course Saturday afternoon. He made three bogeys in  his first seven holes, and managed only two birdies on the par 5s, which relegated him to a second-round 71, and a tie for third place with Chris Borgen.

The 52-year-old Borgen, who looks as if he must be spending at least two hours a day, seven days a week, in the gym, won the Minnesota Golf Champions in 2022, and the State Senior Open in '23. On Saturday, he birdied both of the par 5s on the front nine (4 and 6), and then made three more birdies in the first five holes on the back nine (10, 13 and 14). So he came to the 16th hole 5 under for the day and 7 under for the tournament, and with the two par 5s in front of him, it looked as though he would probably end the day at something like minus 9. 

But as Borgen lamented later: "I was playing pretty well -- and then I wasn't." 

Instead of playing the last three holes in 2 under (par-birdie-birdie), he played them in 1 over. At the 16th, he hit what he thought was a good drive, but it went too far and trickled into the water hazard, resulting in a bogey. He then pulled his tee shot at the par-5 17th and had to settle for a par. At the par-5 18th, he was in position to make a birdiie, after a pretty good tee shot, but hit what he described as "a horrible second shot," left of the green." He left his pitch from there in the rough short of the green and had to make a 4-foot putt just to save his par.

So instead of shooting a 64 and  being tied for the lead, Borgen signed for a 67 (we should all have such disappointments), and he will go into Sunday's final round three shots behind Schmitz.   

Then along came Andrew Israelson, the son of  former two-time Tapemark champ Bill Israelson, who won virtually every tournament there was to win in Minnesota, starting with three consecutive Minnesota State Amateur championships in 1976, '77 and '78. Andrew, who shot 67 on Friday, started on the back nine Saturday and birdied the 385-yard, par-4 14th. It seemed that all of the contenders bogeyed the daunting, par-4 16th on Saturday, including Israelson, but he did birdie the two valedictory par 5s on th back nine, 17 and 18.

That got him to 6 under for the tournament, and although he failed to birdie the two par 5s on the front nine, he did birdie the long par-3 fifth (201 yards) and the par-4 seventh (367). One more birdie would have gotten him even with Schmitz, at 9 under, but he bogeyed the short, 330-yard, par-4 ninth, and that's why he will start Sunday's final round two behind Schmitz, at 7-under 135, after a Saturday 68.      



Minnesota PGA Foundation Pro-Am

At Southview Country Club

Par 71, 6,023 yards

West St. Paul 

Second-round results 

Professionals


1. Michael Schmitz                            67-66--133

2. Andrew Israelson                           67-68--135

T3. Thomas Campbell                       65-71--136

T3, Chris Borgen                               69-67--136

T5. Grant Shafranski                         68-69--137

T5. Eric Chiles                                   70-67--137

T7.  Don Berry                                   69-69--138

T7. Ross Miller                                  70-68--138

T7. Scott Cole                                   67-71--138

T10. Jack Ebner                                68-71--139

T10. Brent Snyder                            70-69--139

T10. Derek Holmes                           67-72--139

T13. Thomas Strandemo                   71-69--140

T13. Trey Fessler                               70-70--140

T15. Brady Swedberg                         70-71--141

T15. Bennett Smed                             71-70--141

Amateurs

1. Justin Burleson                               66-71--137

2. Joe Honsa                                       72-74--146

T3. Jake Erickson                               75-75--150

T3. Steve Busho                                 74-76--150

Teams

1. Smed/Burleson/Retka/Kennedy                 125-129--254

2. Sorenson/Daniels/Bosshart/Tufvander      133-122--255

T3. Campbell/Haselrud/Kowalski/Gustafson  127-129--256

T3. Israelson/Flynn/Larson/Busho                  129-127--256





 

Michael R Fermoyle

Mike Fermoyle’s amateur golf career features state titles in five different decades, beginning with the State Public Links (1969), three State Amateurs (1970, 1973 and 1980), and four State Four-Ball championships (1972, 1985, 1993 and 2001). Fermoyle was medalist at the Pine to Palm in 1971, won the Resorters in 1972, made the cut at the State Amateur 18 consecutive years (1969 to 1986), the last being 2000, and amassed 13 top-ten finishes. Fermoyle also made it to the semi-final matches at the MGA’s annual match play championship, the Players’, in 1982 and 1987.

Fermoyle enjoyed a career as a sportswriter at the St. Paul Pioneer Press Dispatch before retiring in 2006. Two years later he began a second career covering the golf beat exclusively for the MGA and its website, mngolf.org, where he ranks individual prep golfers and teams, provides coverage on local amateur and professional tournaments and keeps tabs on how Minnesotans are faring on the various professional tours.

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