Minnesota Players': Peterson wins title

PEQUOT LAKES, Minn. (June 22, 2011) -- Ryan Peterson defeated Devin Holmes 5&4 at Deacon's Lodge on Wednesday in the final of the 2011 MGA Players' Championship.

Basically, it was a victory that was waiting to happen.

This was Peterson's first state championship since he won the second of his two Minnesota high school titles in 2007. But he's won three pretty big tournaments in the last year -- the Twin Cities Championship (where he lapped the field) a year ago this weekend, the Northwest Amateur in August, and the Falcon Invitational last September at the start of his senior year at Colorado State.

He also finished third in the 2010 State Amateur and tied for first but lost in a playoff at the Mountain West Conference Championships in early May.

It seemed almost inevitable that he would collect another state championship, and probably sooner rather than later.

His performance at Deacon's Lodge this week left little doubt about who the best player in the field was. Peterson, who is from Eagan but plays out of Cannon Golf Club, was under par in every one of his six matches. He was 8 under for the week; and he never had to go further than the 16th green in any of his victories.

On Monday, he was 3 under for the day as he dispatched Chad Hecker and Alex Robb, and he was 3 under again on Tuesday as he beat Jeremy Tetrault and Jesse Polk. He capped things off by playing 1-under-par in both matches on Wednesday.

One of the rare times that he was over par during the tournament was early in his semifinal match against Colton Buege, the Minnesota redshirt freshman from Rogers. Buege won the first hole with a birdie to Peterson's bogey. Peterson came back to win the par-5 second with a birdie, but lost the third with a bogey to Buege's par.

Peterson played the next 10 holes in 3-under and won the match 6&5.

Holmes, who will be sophomore at St. Cloud State in the fall, got off to a bad start in his semifinal against Kyle Beversdorf, who will be a sophomore at Northern Iowa, losing the first hole with a double bogey.

He came back with a birdie at the second, but Beversdorf matched it. Holmes took control of the proceedings by going birdie-par-birdie and winning the fifth, sixth and seventh holes, and ended up winning 2&1.

In the final, Holmes got off to another shaky start, making another double at No. 1. He also bogeyed No. 2 to go 2 down, but Peterson never let up, and his birdie at the 10th hole gave him a 7-up advantage.

Holmes actually played the five holes that were required on the back nine in 3 under, but by then it was too late. He won the 11th and 12th holes with birdies to cut the deficit to 5 down, before he and Peterson both parred the 12th, and both birdied the last hole of the tournament, the 534-yard, par-5 13th.

ABOUT THE Minnesota Players Championship

After the MGA Amateur changed from a match play to stroke play format in 1967, the MGA was without a match-play championship. That changed when the Players' Championship was created and first hosted in 1979 at Interlachen Country Club, Edina. The MGA annually invites the state's top 17 amateurs to participate along with 47 qualifiers from a field of over 300. Only 64 golfers compete during three days of match-play competition. The strong field always provides for an exciting tournament

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