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Bull Looks to Win Second MN Am in Five Years
Jesse Bull (photo courtesy Minnesota Golf Association)
Jesse Bull (photo courtesy Minnesota Golf Association)

CHASKA, Minnesota (July 17, 2018) -- Jesse Bull entered the final round of the 111th Minnesota Golf Association Amateur Championship two shots off the lead before posting a final-round 70 to earn a one-stroke victory on his home course at Golden Valley Golf and Country Club in 2014.

After carding back-to-back rounds of 2-under par 70 to open the 115th MGA State Amateur Tuesday, Bull will carry a two-stroke advantage to Wednesday’s final round, looking to capture his second title in five years.

“Yesterday was fairways and greens and today was getting up-and-down for par. It’s funny that it’s the same score, they were completely different days,” Bull said after his round Tuesday. “It was a lot of putting yesterday and a lot of one-putts today because I was missing greens. It was a round I never felt really comfortable with because I was just trying to get it around."

“I need to keep doing the same and enjoy it. I love playing golf and whatever happens is going to happen. Tomorrow will be a day to just enjoy it and not think too much. There could be a lot of things that happen—there are a lot of good players who could go low. I’ll be the first to tell you I’m happy with the way I played the first two days.”

Playing his first 10 holes at 1-over par thanks to a bogey at the par-5 third, Bull pulled even for the round after sinking his birdie putt from 15 feet at the 11th. Using a 3-wood at the par-5 15th, Bull rolled his second shot to within 15 feet of the pin and sank his eagle putt to quickly jump to 4-under for the tournament.

Looking at a slippery, downhill 12-footer at the 16th, Bull saved his par and would finish with his second straight round of 2-under par to take a two-shot lead over Van Holmgren with 18 holes to play.

“The key to today was that when I needed a good drive, I hit a good drive. Other drives that didn’t hit fairways, I was able to manufacture pars for the most part,” Bull said Tuesday. “At some point my round finally turned more consistent—back to fairways and greens and that was basically the birdie at 11. That was settling back into a round more like Day One, but it was a tale of two days and that’s golf—every day is different.”

Following a round of 69 to earn a share of the 18-hole lead Monday, Holmgren tapped in for birdie on his final hole to shoot 1-over par 73 during Tuesday’s second round.

Starting his round with a bogey for the second consecutive day and carding a second birdie at his fourth hole, Holmgren was able to limit the damage by rolling in a 10-foot birdie at the 14th, getting back to 2-under for the championship.

“I bogeyed my first hole today and bogeyed my first hole yesterday as well, so I tried to stay patient. This course gives and takes and I remained calm and didn’t let it take too much. This is a three-day event and it’s really easy to let the course beat you. I was really happy about staying level-headed and trusting my swing.”

Sticking his approach inside of three feet at the par-4 18th, Holmgren tapped in for birdie to turn at even par for the day, eager play the final nine holes after a strong finish on his front nine.

“I was ready to go. I thought I caught some momentum on the back end of the first nine and my swing felt great and was hitting most of the fairways, but the putts just didn’t drop.”

Missing a pair of short par putts at the third and fourth holes, Holmgren dropped back to 1-under for the championship, but would again finish strong with a tap-in birdie on his final hole after nearly holing out for eagle, carding a 73 to sit in second place after 36 holes.

“It was a grind—the course was playing hard. It definitely a little softer today, but the pins were in a lot harder spots,” Holmgren said. “Most of them were tucked and the rough is long, so I lost some strokes there. I didn’t get the birdies I got yesterday.

“[Tomorrow] I have to put my foot on the pedal. With [Jacques Wilson] right behind me and a lot of good amateurs, I know I’m going to have to shoot something that starts with a six to bring it home.”

Monday’s first round co-leader, Jacques Wilson, turned at 5-over par Tuesday, largely by carding a quadruple-bogey at the par-5 seventh. Wilson would roll in four birdies with one bogey over his final nine to get back to 1-under for the championship and will begin Wednesday’s final round three shots off the lead in third place at 143.

The 115th MGA State Amateur Championship concludes Wednesday as the 156-player field will now be cut to the top-64 players. The final round is set to begin at 7:30 a.m. at Hazeltine National Golf Club.

ABOUT THE Minnesota Amateur

In 1901, the first Amateur Championship concluded the MGA's inaugural meeting at the Meadow Brook Club in Winona. Thus, the MGA began a tradition that has carried into the present day. The MGA Amateur is now one of the largest golfing events in the state. Nearly 900 people enter the championship every year. It takes more than a dozen qualifying sites around the state to accommodate the competitors. 54 hole stroke play championship.

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