Sinking a short eagle putt on the 16th hole on Aug. 21, Alexandria’s Hunter Rebrovich and partner Ryan Conn pulled away from the field at the 58th Minnesota Golf Association Amateur Four-Ball Championship, going on to claim a three-stroke victory at The Classic at Madden’s on Gull Lake in Brainerd.
Opening the championship with a round of 7-under 65 on Tuesday, Conn and Rebrovich began the final round in a tie for third, two shots off the lead. They pieced together a back nine of 4-under par to come from behind Wednesday, claiming the first state championship victory for both golfers.
“It’s a nice confidence boost for me going into my first year of college, knowing I can play with the best of them and that you’re never out of it,” said Rebrovich, a soon-to-be freshman at Minnesota State University-Mankato. “We definitely could have given up a few times during the week, but we kept at it, grinded out a bunch of holes and that’s all it takes.”
While it’s the first time Conn and Rebrovich have teamed up to play competitively, the two Alexandria natives are hardly strangers.
“It’s funny because I’m double Hunter’s age—he’s 19 and I’m 36. I’ve known him since he was in diapers and his dad was the head pro at the golf course I grew up at for about 20 years,” Conn said. “To play with him as an adult who’s going to college soon is really fun.
“A couple of partners I normally play with cancelled for various reasons and then I called up Hunter and I’m pretty darn glad I did—I think he’s my new partner for a while.”
After both Rebrovich and Conn bogeyed the par-4 third during the opening round Tuesday, Rebrovich took matters into his own hands early Wednesday by sticking his approach to six feet and converted his birdie chance to move the twosome to 8-under for the tournament.
Conn, who now lives in Minneapolis, countered with his putter late on the front nine, sinking a downhill curler from 30 feet for birdie at the eighth before making a lengthy par save at the ninth to carry momentum to the back nine.
“We’d been hitting a bunch of greens early and knocking on the door, hoping that eventually some would fall, which they did on the front,” Conn said. “We kind of had some stress there. I had to make an 8-footer to save par and that kind of set us up for the back nine. That one was big.”
Hitting his tee shot at the 220-yard 12th, Conn’s ball stopped 30 feet from the flagstick and he would bury his birdie chance to put the pair to 10-under and into a share of the lead with Trent Peterson and Troy Johnson, who were playing on the opposite nine Wednesday.
Rebrovich wedged his approach to eight feet at the 15th and would convert his birdie chance to give him and Conn their first lead of the championship before Rebrovich’s second at the par-5 16th landed below the flagstick and rolled inside of six feet to close the door on the field by extending his team’s lead to three late.
“Our goal all week was staying in the hole and giving ourselves opportunities,” Rebrovich said.
Peterson and Johnson held the lead briefly as the first to post a number at 10-under 134, but were joined in second place shortly thereafter by the twosome of University of Minnesota golfer Noah Rasinski and Winona State University’s Michael Schmitz, who fired a round of 67 for the second consecutive day.
Teammates this week as well as at North Dakota State University, MGA Players’ champion Andrew Israelson and partner Nate Deziel carded a 3-under 69 Wednesday to earn a share of second at 134, as did the twosome of Joel B. Johnson and Blake Onkka, who began the day one shot off the lead in second place.