BROOKINGS – The SDGA is making a stop in town this week with the Men’s and Women’s Amateur Championships being contested at the Brookings Country Club.
Seventy-eight men and 27 women are entered in the 54-hole tournament, which begins Friday and concludes Sunday.
“I think I speak for the Brookings Country Club membership that it’s always fun to have these tournaments at home,” said reigning Club champion Brodie Hullinger. “I think the BCC embraces the SDGA.
“And for me, personally, I think it has to be a bit of an advantage having a home game playing on a golf course that you’re familiar with and a place that I’ve been around a lot.”
Hullinger is seeking his first individual SDGA crown.
Eight other BCC members are competing in the event – Jake Steen, Scott Holm, Ian Vizina, Chris Brozik, Matt Krogman, Justin Sell and Brian Berkenhoff on the men’s side and Kelly Evans-Hullinger on the women’s.
Steen recently won the city title.
Defending-champion Jace Guthmiller, of Yankton, is not in the field, nor is last year’s runner-up, Alejando Perazzo.
Jesse Talcott is in after taking third last season. He won the event in 2014.
A pair of youngsters are trending upwards in Minnesota sophomore Will Grevlos and South Dakota State senior Jacob Otta.
Grevlos took fifth in 2017 and tied for 11th in 2018.
Otta tied for 10th in 2017 and finished outright 10th in 2018.
Otta won the Men’s College division of the Sanford Futures Golf Championship on Tuesday in his hometown of Sioux Falls.
Mitchell’s Jeff Meyerink will attempt to become the sixth player in SDGA history to win the Match Play and the Amateur in the same season. He prevailed with a 3-and-2 victory over Chris Long on July 14. Otta and Kolby Newborg, who is in this week, were semifinalists at the Match Play.
Meyerink, an annual contender, tied for sixth in the Amateur last year.
Tom Vining was the last player to pull off the season sweep, doing so in 2015. Ryan Jansa is the only player to do it twice (1993 and 1995).
Brandon Sigmund, Meyerink’s Two-Man partner, won the Amateur and Mid-Amateur in 2012 and is another consistent contender.
SDGA regular Matthew Johnson was runner-up when the Match Play was contested at the BCC in 2013.
Another familiar face in the field is Charlie Jacobson.
“It’s a pretty exciting course to have a state tournament on,” the former Jackrabbit said. “We’re all pretty familiar with it; it has a lot of character; each hole is kind of unique; and the greens are all unique and they’re fast and they’re really challenging. So I think we’re all pretty excited.”
The two-time SDGA winner knows the BCC well and is in search of his first Amateur title.
“It’s not bad,” he added when asked about the current shape of his game. “I haven’t played a whole lot since the Match Play. I played well in the Match Play, but I just got beat. But I haven’t played a whole lot since then. The game’s all right.”
On the brink
Four individuals – Pat Lockwood, Mark Amundson, Tom Carlson and Jim Entwisle – have completed the SDGA career “grand slam.” That is, winning the Amateur, Match Play and Two-Man.
Michael Keeton is one victory away.
He’s already won five different events after going on a three-year tear – winning the 2015 Two-Man, 2016 Match Play and Mid-Amateur, and 2017 Mixed Team and Mid-Amateur Two-Man (with Hullinger).
Keeton’s 2019 season was slowed by an injury.
“Physically, I’m getting back. I’m six months post-surgery from the Achilles and still trying to keep getting stronger in the leg category,” he said. “It’s coming around. It’s a little sore … I really have no expectations for the week. You know, I’ve only played one tournament this year and it was last week. So I haven’t played too much golf, but I’m just looking forward to getting back in the action.”
Keeton is another player with plenty of experience at the BCC.
He entered Sunday two strokes back at the 2011 event and ended up placing third. Carlson won it to wrap up the “grand slam.”
“It’s a great golf course; designed really well; the greens are always hard and fast,” Keeton said. “The setups are always amazing – you kind of have to keep it below the hole. There is a lot of history there; a lot of great players have come from Brookings Country Club and it’s just a great atmosphere as well. So it’s an all-around great event. It’s going to be exciting; it’s going to be great for the town and going to be great for the club.”
There are a few big story lines entering the week.
“(The field) looks good,” said Maggie Murphy. “There are a lot of good high school players and some good college players and a couple ‘veterans’ I would say in Julie Jansa, Kelly Evans-Hullinger and myself.
“So it’s a good mix of players.”
Murphy, an assistant coach at SDSU, is looking for her second major in as many starts this season.
“I feel pretty good about (my game),” she noted. “I’ve been trying to play a lot. I took a little break after the Match Play, just being on the road recruiting, but I’ve been trying to get out to Brookings Country Club and get a good feel for the greens and just get ready to go for the tournament.”
Murphy built a 5-up lead through eight holes en route to a 2-and-1 defeat of Katie Bartlett in the Match Play final on July 14.
It marked the Sioux Falls native’s third career title but first since the 2010 Match Play. She finished first in the Amateur in 2007.
Murphy placed fourth in the event in 2018.
“It’s been a lot of fun,” she added. “I love to compete so being in coaching now I’m kind of on the other side of it – which I enjoy, helping our student-athletes be as good as they can be.
“But in the summer, it’s great to kind of put myself back in the mix; it’s been a lot of fun.”
Defending-champion Karissa Guthrie is not in the field.
Jansa (one back) and Bartlett (two back) finished second and third, respectively, last year. Jackrabbit senior Sydney Bormann was fifth.
Bartlett, a senior at South Dakota from Pierre, teamed with fellow Coyote Julia Hall to win the Two-Woman in a playoff last weekend.
Evans-Hullinger and Carley McMacken were second.
Jackrabbits joining Bormann in the field are sophomores Lani Potter and Sydney Wirebaugh and freshmen Alex Kandolin and Jenna Sutcliffe.
SDGA AMATEUR CHAMPIONSHIP
Friday/Saturday Tee Times
7:30 a.m. (1)/noon (10) – Judah Aderhold, Jake Steen, Nicholas Heig.
7:30 a.m. (10)/noon (1) – Jocob Otta, Kolby Newborg, Hunter VonBergen.
7:40 a.m. (1)/12:10 p.m. (10) – Ryan Anema, Luke Honner, Scott Holm.
7:40 a.m. (10)/12:10 p.m. (1) – Gavin Hatch, Max Honner, Chase McDonald.
7:50 a.m. (1)/12:20 p.m. (10) – Bryce Hammer, Ben Clarke, Jackson Rogers.
7:50 a.m. (10)/12:20 p.m. (1) – Jon Burns, Sam Sutcliffe, John Grothe.
8 a.m. (1)/12:30 p.m. (10) – Will Grevlos, Russell Pick, Bennett Lundy.
8 a.m. (10)/12:30 p.m. (1) – Ryan Neff, Jack Hilgenberg, Patrick Schmidt.
8:10 a.m. (1)/12:40 p.m. (10) – Ian Vizina, Colin Murphy, Brett Grosz.
8:10 a.m. (10)/12:40 p.m. (1) – Nick Lust, Ben Daane, Brenden Bassing.
8:20 a.m. (1)/12:50 p.m. (10) – Matt Johnson, Chris Mithelman, Brandon Sigmund.
8:20 a.m. (10)/12:50 p.m. (1) – Chris Brozik, Matthew Schaefer, Scott Cmelik.
8:30 a.m. (1)/1 p.m. (10) – Jeff Meyerink, Jack Lundin, Jesse Talcott.
8:30 a.m. (10)/1 p.m. (1) – Gunar Rang, Tony Hayes, Carter Janssen.
8:40 a.m. (1)/1:10 p.m. (10) – Brodie Hullinger, Michael Keeton, Lucas Schaefbauer.
8:40 a.m. (10)/1:10 p.m. (1) – Mikael Zuidema, Michael Hoxter, Brock Murphy.
8:50 a.m. (1)/1:20 p.m. (10) – Jonah Swartz, Charlie Jacobson, Jon Emerson.
8:50 a.m. (10)/1:20 p.m. (1) – Justin Kolb, Hank Eggebraaten, Owen Holmes.
noon (1)/7:30 a.m. (10) – Nolan Wiegel, Matt Krogman, Justin Sell.
12:10 p.m. (1)/7:40 a.m. (10) – Michael Schmidt, Payton Phares, Brian Berkenhoff.
12:20 p.m. (1)/7:50 a.m. (10) – Max Donohue, Julean Michels, Troy Klongerbo.
12:30 p.m. (1)/8 a.m. (10) – Jayden Engels, Jack Kray, Kade Groos.
12:40 p.m. (1)/8:10 a.m. (10) – Kevin Kolb, Darin Richards, Sam Mock.
12:50 p.m. (1)/8:20 a.m. (10) – Nathan Woodall, Tyler Westra, Kyle Schock.
1 p.m. (1)/8:30 a.m. (10) – Stuart Stein, Maxwell Nielsen, Adolph Shepardson.
1:10 p.m. (1)/8:40 a.m. (10) – Sam Batta, Paul Schock, Jonah Dohrer.
noon (10)/7:30 a.m. (1) – Maggie Murphy, Katie Bartlett, Lauren Sutcliffe.
12:10 p.m. (10)/7:40 a.m. (1) – Samantha Langford, Masy Mock, Taylor Sudenga.
12:20 p.m. (10)/7:50 a.m. (1) – Shannon McCormick, Sydney Wirebaugh, Emily Olson.
12:30 p.m. (10)/8 a.m. (1) – Kelly Evans-Hullinger, Sophia Salter, Natalie Poppens.
12:40 p.m. (10)/8:10 a.m. (1) – Julia Hall, Megan Hinker, Lauren Tims.
12:50 p.m. (10)/8:20 a.m. (1) – Julie Jansa, Ashley Zimmer, Sydney Weber.
1 p.m. (10)/8:30 a.m. (1) – Lani Potter, Kyleigh Moran, Jayden Bormann.
1:10 p.m. (10)/8:40 a.m. (1) – Liz Duncan, Sydney Bormann, Jenna Sutcliffe.
1:20 p.m. (10)/8:50 a.m. (1) – McKayla Poppens, Alex Kandolin, Reese Jansa.