OWATONNA, Minn. – The 2013 Minnesota Golf Association Four Ball Championship got underway Monday at Owatonna Country Club and it was two youngsters who set the bar rather high during the opening round.
The pair of Michael Oberg and Max Redetzke, both of Brackett’s Crossing, carded a 5-under par 66 to earn the top spot after Monday’s first round.
Monday, the top 15 teams, plus ties, will advance to Wednesday’s final round while Tuesday’s larger field will put through the top 21 teams, plus ties, to Wednesday’s round.
Oberg and Redetzke stumbled slightly early as they made bogey on the second hole to quickly move to 1-over on the round. They found their groove shortly after as they made birdie on the third and sixth holes and made the turn at 1-under par.
Oberg and Redetzke caught fire on the final nine holes as they made birdie on the 11th to get to 2-under par before back-to-back birdies on the 12th and 13th put them at 4-under par for the day. With one more birdie on the par-4 16th hole, the duo finished their round at 5-under par 66.
“We didn’t play as well as we needed to on the par-5s,” Redetzke said. “It took awhile but we finally got it started on the back nine.”
“[Redetzke] had his flat stick working today,” Oberg said. “I just seemed to make pars when he made bogeys. I think we only tied each other on two holes.”
Redetzke, who will be a junior at Lakeville South High School this fall, and Oberg, who will begin his freshman year at Minnesota State University, Mankato, explained their formula to team events as being quite simple.
“You need to make a lot of birdies and play good when the other guy isn’t,” Redetzke smiled.
“Read and react. If one guy hits the center of the green, the other can fire at the pin. If one guy gets in trouble, the other needs to play safe and hit the green or the fairway. You need to play off of your teammate,” Oberg said.
The duo of Jesse Polk and Ben Clymer are one of three teams that finished one stroke behind the leaders at 4-under par 67.
“We didn’t play very good on the front nine,” Clymer said. “On the back we turned it around and we both played well. On the front, it seemed like only one guy was in it on almost every hole.”
The pair carded just one birdie on the opening nine holes along with two bogeys on the second and ninth holes. The two quickly found a rhythm on the last nine holes as they started the back nine with four consecutive birdies to move to 3-under par after 13 holes.
Another birdie at the 15th put the two at 4-under par where they would finish their round at 67.
“It’s a short golf course for us,” Polk said after the round. “We came in with the mindset of trying to have two birdie putts on every green. On the back nine we were able to do that.”
Trent Peterson and Minnesota Gopher Jon Trasamar also sit just one stroke back of Monday’s leaders after shooting 67 as well.
Peterson, Valleywood Golf Course, and Trasamar got off to a quiet start with pars on the first five holes before breaking into the red with a birdie on the sixth to move to 1-under.
The two would card another birdie on the eighth hole and headed to the final nine holes at 2-under. The pair kept rolling as a birdie on the 12th moved them to 3-under before it was erased with a bogey on the 14th.
They finished strong with birdies at the 15th and the 18th to end their round at 4-under 67.
“We both hit our driver great,” Peterson said.
“We gave ourselves a few good looks early,” Trasamar said. “I hit a few shots to the wrong side of the hole which had a lot of break to them. It was hard to get really aggressive.”
Peterson said Trasamar’s short game was dialed in as he only missed a couple greens on the front and back nine.
“We just didn’t have those five or ten-foot putts,” Peterson said. “It was a little frustrating having 15 or 20-foot putts and two-putting.”
Trasamar said when playing in the team event, that it’s easy to get caught up in what the other player is doing and potentially losing focus on what is trying to be done individually.
“It’s easy to take a shot off if you see that you’re partner is in good shape,” Trasamar said. “It’s easy to lose focus or change your swing or press a little too much when you have a partner.”
The pairing of Erik Christopherson and Brian Nordin carded a 4-under par 67 as well to sit tied for second after the opening round. The two had a chance to tie the leaders but made bogey on the final hole to drop to 4-under.
Christopherson, Baker National Golf Course, and Nordin, Hastings Country Club, got off to one of the better starts of the day as they made birdie on the second hole to quickly get to 1-under. The two added another birdie on the par-4 fifth hole before four consecutive pars took them to the turn at 2-under.
Christopherson and Nordin would add three birdies on the 10th, 13th and 17th to get to 5-under for the round but a hiccup on the final hole dropped them a shot, where they would finish at 67.
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