Golf: Locals help Minnesota raise Midwest Cup
Cottage Grove's Eric Rislove and Woodbury's Joel Johnson and Greg Murphy helped Team Minnesota win the Culver's Midwest Cup Golf Tournament - a team and individual amateur tournament pairing the best players from the states of Iowa, Minnesota, Nebraska and Wisconsin.
"We were all pretty pumped about it," said Murphy, the Minnesota team captain. "This is a big deal for us."
The event is a Ryder-Cup Style invitational for amateur golfers, from the age of 25 and over. Players are chosen from the state golf association points list, with captains from each team determining who to invite and how the players will be paired against one another. The goal of the event is to become the premier amateur event in the Midwest.
In this year's tournament, a 36-hole team and 54-hole individual competition, the Minnesota golf team upset the Iowa golf team in Hastings. In a close contest, Team Minnesota won four of the final 12 matches to post a score of 264 points, six more than two-time defending champion Iowa, which had 258 points, and Nebraska at 246. Wisconsin scored 192 points.
The tournament has been going on for seven years. Minnesota has taken part the past three years. Minnesota finished third out of four teams two years ago and fourth out of four teams last year.
"We went from worst to first," Murphy said. "It was kind of cool actually."
Having a home-field advantage helped Team Minnesota win the Cup, Murphy said.
"I had responsibility for setting up the golf course this year," Murphy said. "I knew my team, what our strengths would be and what the other teams' weaknesses would be."
In the individual competition, Josh Black of Iowa shot a brilliant final round 5-under par 67 on the final day to tie Ryan Nietfeldt of Nebraska, (who shot 69), then won in a two-hole playoff. Both competitors shot a 3-over par score of 219, with Minnesota's Jesse Larson a stroke back at 220 following a 75 on the final day.
Team Minnesota's Leif Carlson, of Apple Valley, shot a 75 for a three-day total of 223 to win the senior division, four strokes ahead of teammate Steven Hjortness of Rochester who shot a 227, with a 72 on the final day.
In addition to Rislove, Johnson, Murphy, Carlson and Hjortness, Minnesota team members were: White Bear Lake's Larry Barnacle, Minneapolis' Jesse Bull, Mark Hayes of Vadnais Heights, Jesse Larson of Shakopee, Rogers' Greg Melhus, Rochester's Greg Peterson and Rosemount's Pat Vincelli.
"Normally we try to get the top nine mid-amateurs which are 26 or older and three seniors," said Murphy, 54. "We go after as many of the top players in the state as we can get. This year, we happened to have six seniors on our team, which was the most of any of the teams. These guys know how to play."