Brischke Avoids Late Flop, Wins Minnesota Senior PGA Professional Championship
Craig Brischke of Tanners Brook Golf Club won his first Minnesota Senior PGA Professional Championship but not before making it interesting down the stretch at Forest Hills Golf Club. Brischke found himself four shots ahead of Brad Schmierer of Dakota Pines G.C., at 4-under on the day, as they approached the tee on the par-5 16th.
“If I could do anything over again, it would have been the second shot on the par-5 16th,” said Brischke. “I laid up and put myself in a tough spot 140 yards out. Especially, the way that wind was blowing coming in.”
He would leave his approach shot short of the green and eventually three-putt for a double-bogey. Another bogey at the par-4 17th had him scrambling just one shot ahead of his playing partner Schmierer heading to the final hole.
Calming himself down, Brischke hit a beautiful approach shot onto the green about 15-feet past the hole. Schmierer’s last efforts came up short as his approach missed the front of the green and his birdie chip slid past the hole. Brischke would two-putt for par and a two-shot victory over Schmierer and 3-time defending champ Don Berry with a 1-under 143 two-day total.
“For the most part, I was happy with my game this week. I haven’t played back-to-back rounds since the Tapemark [Charity Pro-Am], but it was exciting to be able to come out and play well.”
Brischke went an impressive 3-under on the par-3s on the final day which was instrumental in his victory. “That was key. The two [par-3s] on the front are very hard. Also, the pitch on the 10th, I didn’t expect it to go in.”
Schmierer gets to travel back to a familiar place for this year’s national event, “I get to go to Scottsdale where I live, so at 64-years-old, I’m very happy about that,” Schmierer said. “To qualify two years in a row is pretty good.”
Joining Brischke, Schmierer and Berry as qualifiers for the 29th Senior PGA Professional Championship at Desert Mountain in Scottsdale, Ariz. on Sept. 28-Oct. 1 are Mike Flaherty of Dakota Pines G.C., Mike Barge of Hazeltine National G.C. and Dean Zahn of Moccasin Creek C.C.