Siblings win Minnesota Mixed Amateur
Andrew and Emily Israelson <br>(MN Golf Association Photo)
Andrew and Emily Israelson
(MN Golf Association Photo)

FOREST LAKE, MN (July 3, 2018) - Carding four birdies over their final eight holes Tuesday, Emily and Andrew Israelson posted a 36-hole score of 10-under par 134 to win the 28th Minnesota Golf Association Mixed Amateur Team Championship at Forest Hills Golf Club.

Becoming the third brother and sister tandem to win the championship, the Israelsons avenged a pair of close calls, including a second-place finish in 2015 at Oak Glen Golf Club, to win their first tournament together as a team.

“We didn’t make any mistakes and kept it in play—that was the difference maker,” Emily Israelson said. “It’s nice to finally get it under our belt.”

“We’re champions now,” Andrew Israelson added, “We play in the Izzy Cup [Saturday] back home, so we’ll see what happens. If we don’t win it’ll be disappointing.”

Opening the championship with a two-stroke lead over the team of Leigh Klasse and J.T. Johnson Monday, the Israelsons opened Tuesday’s final round with 10 consecutive pars after the tournament switched to a Modified Chapman alternate shot format Tuesday.

“We thought the format change was going to help us, but we started off slow and weren’t hitting greens and we were grinding for our pars. On the back nine we got it going and had more opportunities,” Emily Israelson said.

“We weren’t hitting the back that great, but I think the front nine is quite a bit harder than the back,” her brother added. “We knew pars aren’t bad, but eventually we’re going to have to get to a couple under.”

Emily Israelson hit her approach to four feet at the par-4 11th leading to her team’s first birdie of the round before the two made a routine two-putt birdie at the 14th to move to 8-under for the championship.

Pulling away from the field, the Israelsons increased their lead to three when Emily converted her putt for birdie from four feet. Putting an exclamation point on the tournament late, Andrew Israelson’s approach from 105 yards on the final hole was nearly jarred, leaving a tap-in birdie to finish the championship with a four-stroke victory at 10-under par 134.

Betsy and Mark Aldrich teamed up to win the 2007 championship, the last time the event was held at Forest Hills, while Alissa and Tim Herron became the first siblings to win the tournament when they claimed the 1993 championship, adding a second in 1995.

After shooting a round of 71 Monday, 2016 champions Olivia Herrick and Trent Peterson rolled in three early birdies over the front nine and added two more to close with a 5-under 67 to place second at 138.

Peterson rolled in his 10-footer for birdie at the second and sank a 20-footer on the following hole as the two quickly jumped to 3-under for the championship. Hitting her approach to eight feet at the par-3 sixth, Herrick converted birdie and the two would turn at 3-under for the round.

After rolling in an 18-foot slider at the 14th, Peterson hit his approach inside of six feet at the par-4 17th and the two would finish the day with a round of 67.

“We started a little far back—we didn’t play the greatest yesterday and left a lot out there,” Peterson said Tuesday. “We did not ham and egg it well at all. Finally it came around today. We love this format. If I screw up I know I can count on her to back me up. It’s not like I have to play better to carry her—she’s good on her own.”

“I hit some okay shots and Trent hit some really great putts, was the story of the day,” Herrick said. “It’s an interesting format and so unique—we never get to play it. Trent making all those putts is obviously the most important piece, but it’s my shot that got us there. It’s interesting to feel totally invested in both parties. I love this format.”

The team of Klasse and Johnson, who finished the opening round two shots off the lead in second place, carded a round of 71 Tuesday to finish in a tie for third place at 139 with the twosome of Breanne and Mark Stuckey.

The team of Ellie Layton and Tyler Fitzel posted a 36-hole score of 12-under par 132 to earn a five-stroke victory in the Net Division, while the husband and wife team of George and Mary Butkovich earned medalist honors in the Senior Net Division at 14-under par 130. MGA Executive Director Tom Ryan and partner Brenda Williams fired a 2-under par 142 to claim the Senior Division.

ABOUT THE Minnesota Mixed Amateur Team

Round one is a four-ball stroke play format; round two is a modified Chapman alternate shot format. In addition to the overall championship, there is a senior division, as well as gross and net Husband/Wife and Mixed divisions.

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