Gophers golfer wins State Amateur title
HASTINGS — Frederick Van Rooyen birdied the last hole for a closing-round 73, an even-par total of 213, and a comfortable three-shot victory over Sammy Schmitz, David Christensen and Matt Schneider on Wednesday in the 109th MGA Amateur Championship at Hastings Country Club.
Van Rooyen, a senior-to-be at the University of Minnesota from South Africa, shot rounds of 72 and 68 leading up to his closing 73. Schmitz, Christensen and Schneider tied for second at 216.
"It was tough today," Van Rooyen said. "The wind made it tricky, and I was feeling some pressure. I think that's just normal when you're leading a tournament. I was a little shaky there in the middle of the round."
He sealed the victory by draining a 35-foot birdie putt at the 160-yard, par-3 18th.
It's been 45 years since the State Am switched from match play to stroke play. Since then, there have been 20 winners — out of a possible 46 — who were either current Minnesota players or alumni, and the Gophers have tended to win their titles in bunches, beginning with a stretch of six in a row from 1970 to '75.
They also won two in a row (1980-81), three in a row ('85-87), four in a row (1998-2001) and now another two in a row.
A year ago, Donald Constable, who had recently concluded his senior season as the No. 1 player for Minnesota, won the State Am. He was succeeded as the No. 1 player in the Gopher lineup by Van Rooyen during the 2011-12 season.
Constable was absent this week because he's playing a national schedule of amateur tournaments this summer.
• Only one southeastern Minnesota player was among the 63 competing in Wednesday's final round. Rochester's Alex Kapraun shot a 76 for a three-day total of 230 (17 over par). That had him tied for 46th place.
Missing the cut after Tuesday's second round were: Elton Mosman (Rochester) 81-78—159; Andrew Althoff (Cannon Falls) 82-79—161; Bryan Peck (Adams) 86-82—168; Greg Peterson (Rochester), 82-87—169; and Logan Bashaw (Byron) 90-WD.