(Minnesota PGA Photo)
COON RAPIDS, MN (July 24, 2016) -- There will be no repeat for Andrew McCain in this year’s Minnesota State Open presented by Treasure Island Resort & Casino. The title now belongs to amateur Ben Greve of Minneapolis GC who shot a second round 8-under 64 for a 10-under 134 two-day total.
The State Open was reduced to a 36-hole championship after play was suspended on the second day, Saturday, due to severe weather and unplayable conditions. Play resumed this morning, Sunday, at 7:30am for players who had begun their second round yesterday. The rest of the field played their entire second round today.
Greve, a former Golden Gopher and national champion with the team in 2002, finished his first round on Friday at 2-under, good enough for a four-way tie for 14th. “The first day, I was in the trees a lot with my driver,” said Greve. “I just kept getting up and down from tough spots and snuck out a 2-under.”
Yesterday, prior to the suspension of play, Greve was on a mission from the start. “[Yesterday] I was making good putts, having good chances,” said the amateur. “I was kind of disappointed that we stopped because I was playing so well.”
The former Gopher standout began his second round yesterday with a birdie on the par-4, 2nd to move to 3-under for the tournament. He would add two more birdies on the 6th and 9th to go along with no bogeys on the front nine, making the turn at 5-under for the tournament.
He began the back nine with a par on the 10th and followed that up nicely with a birdie on the par-5, 11th; his fourth birdie of the day. Play was suspended as Greve was lining up his 15-foot birdie putt on the par-4, 13th.
“That 15-footer for birdie was my first shot of the day today,” he said. “It was a pretty easy putt with little movement, but you just never know.” After sinking that to begin his day, his remarkable two-day second round was just beginning.
Greve found himself just outside the edge of the green on the par-5, 14th with another birdie opportunity. “I chipped in on the 14th which really got my round going,” he said smiling. Back-to-back birdies after the resumption of play quickly put him at 8-under for the tournament and in sole possession of first place.
“The rest of the way I had good opportunities on every hole,” said Greve. “I was aiming at the center of the green and it kept going right at it; it was fun.”
In what he called his “best shot” of the tournament, Greve stuck his hybrid to within 3-feet off the tee on the par-3, 17th and made his putt for birdie. As an encore, he did nearly the same with his iron shot on the 18th, sticking it to within 5-feet. To no one’s surprise, he made the short birdie putt to close his outstanding 8-under 64 second round and finish 10-under for the State Open.
“I kept thinking yesterday, 10-under might have a chance,” he said. “That was my goal.”
Safe to say, he couldn’t have envisioned a better ending for himself with his dad on the bag caddying for him.
Defending champion Andrew McCain struggled to find his form in the second round after the lay-off yesterday. “I played okay,” said McCain who began the day at 7-under, three shots back of Greve. “It was a bummer that it ended the way it did today.”
The opportunities were there for McCain, especially in the middle of the round with five straight birdie chances. “On holes 8 through 12, I had really good looks at it,” he said. “I just couldn’t convert or get it going. If I get a few there, it may change the course of the round.”
McCain was hoping to cement himself in Minnesota history as one of the few back-to-back State Open champions. The last player to do so was John Harris when he won back-to-back titles in 1994 & 1995 at Bunker Hills Golf Course.
The low professional and second place finisher was Sam Matthew of Dellwood CC who shot 68-68 for a two-day 8-under 136 total. “I was just trying to grind out on the first nine [today] after only hitting one fairway,” said Matthew, a recent graduate of South Dakota and recently turned professional. “It changed for me on the last nine, I was able to eagle the par-5, 3rd and birdie both the 6th and the 9th.”
“I was pleasantly surprised at how well the course handled the water and weather from yesterday,” he said. A true testament to the host facility, Bunker Hills Golf Course.
View results for Minnesota State Open Golf Championship