EDEN PRAIRIE, Minn. – Temperatures may have cooled off Tuesday at the 2013 Minnesota Golf Association Senior Four Ball Championship at Bent Creek Golf Club, but the action on the course certainly did not.
Dick Blooston and his partner Tim Gonsior fired a final round 6-under par 65 to overcome a two-stroke deficit to win the championship by three strokes over the team of Leif Carlson and Greg Murphy, and the team of Jim Strandemo and Patrick Vincelli.
“We both played solidly, but [Blooston] played fabulous,” Gonsior said after the victory. “We were never really out of any hole. [Blooston] hit one shot in the water on 14, but other than that, we were both right there.”
After a round of 69 the day before, Blooston, Bent Creek Golf Club, and Gonsior, Golden Valley Golf and Country Club, started on the 10th hole Tuesday and had everything going in the right direction immediately as Blooston dropped a 25-foot putt for birdie.
Blooston hit an iron to 10 feet on the 12th and made the birdie putt to get to 2-under for the day before Gonsior put his approach a foot from the pin on the 13th with an 8-iron into the wind, tapping in for birdie to go to 3-under.
After a par on the 14th, both Blooston and Gonsior missed with their approaches on 15. Gonsior chipped to six feet only to miss his par putt, but was bailed out by Blooston who made his 12-foot par putt.
“He missed his putt; I made it and that helped,” Blooston said. “I’ve played in a million of these best ball tournaments, and to me, it’s all about momentum. You get out of the gates—make some putts and make some birdies—and you get into a rhythm.”
The two made another birdie at the par-5 16th hole as Gonsior hit 3-wood and then 3-iron and was on the green in two, two-putting for birdie to go to 4-under for the day. The pair made par on the final two holes of their front nine, turning at 4-under par 32.
“We came out at 3-under after the first five holes and we knew the weather wasn’t going to get any better,” Blooston said. “We made the turn at 32, and when you shoot 32 on the back side, you’re going to pick up a lot on the field.”
As the winds died down on the final nine holes the rain began to fall, but even it couldn’t cool off Blooston and Gonsior as the two made four consecutive pars before a birdie at the par-4 fifth hole put the two at 5-under for the round, and 7-under for the tournament.
After three straight pars the duo was left with one final birdie opportunity as Blooston nailed his 12-footer for par and emphatically pumped his fist as the two would close out the tournament at 8-under par 134.
As Blooston referred to himself as a ‘young 70,’ he said he still draws satisfaction from playing the game and also from winning.
“We play the game a lot; we compete at a high level, statewide, and it means a lot when you go out and win something. For all the failures you have, it keeps bringing you back,” Blooston said. “We’ve played together for the past three years and were disappointed with our finish, but in the back of my mind, knowing I had [Gonsior] with me, I’ve always felt that we had one of the better teams and one day it was to pay off—and today it did,” Blooston said.
Carlson, Valleywood Golf Course, and Murphy, Keller Golf Club, took the early lead after the first round, shooting a 5-under par 66 Tuesday but just couldn’t get in sync Wednesday as the two carded an even par 71 to finish the tournament at 5-under (137).
“It was a grind,” Murphy said. “We just never got anything going.”
“It was fun out there but we just struggled,” Carlson said.
The two opened the round on the 10th hole with five straight pars before a bogey on the 15th dropped them to 1-over for the day, but they bounced back with a birdie on the following hole and would make the turn at even par.
On the final nine holes, Carlson and Murphy mustered one birdie but it was nullified with a bogey on the seventh hole and the two made par on the final two holes of the day to finish the tournament at 5-under, tied for second.
“This is all about making putts,” Murphy said. “You can hit good shots, but if you don’t make the putts, doesn’t matter. When the ball is going in it’s a lot more fun than when it’s not.”
For Murphy, it was his first year eligible as a senior player and his expectations were high.
“I wanted to win for him,” Murphy said of his playing partner. “[Carlson] has been here and he’s won a lot. We just never got the ball in the hole today.”
Also finishing tied for second was the pair of Strandemo and Vincelli who carded a meager 1-under par 70 Tuesday to come back with a flurry on Wednesday, shooting 4-under par 67 to finish three strokes behind Blooston and Gonsior.
“It was a tough golf course today,” Strandemo said.
“Especially the back; it was playing over 3,400 yards and 18 was playing dead into the wind; it wasn’t easy,” Vincelli said.
The two started quick off the 10th tee with a birdie and followed it with another at the 13th to move to 2-under for the day. After 12 straight pars, the two recorded back-to-back birdies on the final two holes to finish the day 4-under (5-under for the tournament).
“The key today was that we didn’t make a bogey and made some key saving putts and got up and down out of the bunker,” Strandemo said.
“We had some good birdie chances, but the greens were tough to read,” Vincelli said. “[Strandemo] drove the ball really well and putted well and made some big par saves.”
View results for Minnesota Senior Four-Ball Golf Championship