Second round suspended at Minnesota State Open
Andrew McCain <br>(Minnesota Golf Association Photo)</br>
Andrew McCain
(Minnesota Golf Association Photo)

COON RAPIDS, MN (July 23, 2016) -- Play at the 99th Minnesota State Open has been suspended during the second round Saturday at Bunker Hills Golf Club.

Players were called off the course originally at 10:32 a.m. due to inclement weather as only 10 groups had played nine holes.

When severe weather moved out of the area Saturday, tournament officials determined the course to be unplayable and suspended the second round until Sunday.

The championship will now be reduced from 54 to 36 holes when play resumes at 7:30 a.m. Sunday at Bunker Hills Golf Club.


Playing in his first tournament as a professional Friday, Ben Welle carded an 8-under par 64 to take the early lead after the first round of the Minnesota State Open at Bunker Hills Golf Club.

Defending champion Andrew McCain fired a 7-under par 65 during Friday’s first round, while former University of Minnesota golfer and 2012 Minnesota Golf Association Amateur champion, Erik Van Rooyen, carded a 6-under par 66 Friday and will begin Saturday’s second round in third place just two shots off the lead.

“I felt good coming in even though this was my first tournament all summer,” said Welle. “I was excited to get back out here. Honestly, I was a little burnt out after the long season [at Kansas] and took some time off, but I was really excited to play this week.

“I hit the ball really well,” he said. “Irons and wedges were really good. I honestly didn’t make that many putts.”

Beginning his round on the tenth hole Friday, Welle rolled in his par putt on the opening hole before dropping six consecutive birdies and would turn at 6-under.

Following a bogey on the first hole, Welle answered by chipping in for eagle at the third to move to 7-under. Taking his second bogey of the round at the par-4 fifth, Welle dropped to 6-under, but would finish at 8-under by sinking two birdies over his final three holes to take the lead following the opening round of play.

Welle won the 2012 Class AAA individual title while at Moorhead High School. He finishes as runner-up at both the 2013 and 2015 MGA Amateur Championships. Welle won the Pine to Palm in 2014 and finished his senior season at the University of Kansas this spring with two collegiate victories to his credit.

Looking to become the first player to repeat at the Minnesota State Open in more than 20 years, Andrew McCain took a step in the right direction Friday as he carded a 7-under 65, sitting one shot off the lead ahead of Saturday’s second round.

McCain began his round on the 10th tee Friday and got started quickly with a birdie on the opening hole before an eagle at the par-5 11th put him at 3-under.

Rolling in his birdie at the 12th would put the defending champion at 4-under but he would give back a stroke with a bogey at the 16th.

McCain answered by rolling consecutive birdies at the 17th and 18th to turn at 5-under for the day. A second bogey of the round put McCain back to 4-under but he would again bounce back with a birdie at the par-3 fourth and finished his day with back-to back birdies at the eighth and ninth holes to finish one shot off the lead at 65.

Van Rooyen, who started on No. 10, carded a pair of birdies to start his round Friday, quickly jumping to 2-under before converting another birdie opportunity at the par-5 14th. He would turn at 4-under following his fourth birdie of his front nine at the 16th and continued to roll during his final nine as he sank his birdie look at the par-5 third.

A birdie at the sixth put Van Rooyen at 6-under but his only blemish on the scorecard came at the sixth, where he failed to get up-and-down for par, dropping back to 5-under. Van Rooyen finished the opening round with his seventh birdie of the round on the final hole to card a 6-under par 66.

ABOUT THE Minnesota State Open

Beginning in 1917, the Minnesota State Open is a premiere golf tournament bringing together top professional and amateur players all vying to have their name included with the likes of Les Bolstad, George Shortridge, and Tom Lehman as past champions. An 18-hole qualifier is required for those who do not meet the exemption criteria. Format will be 54-holes of stroke play with a cut to the low 60 and ties after 36 holes.

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