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Resorters Golf: Herzog, Empanger to meet in battle of prior champs

Multi-time Resorters champions Steve Herzog and Jon Empanger are set to compete for first Men's Master's title.

Jon Empanger watches his tee shot head down the No. 6 hole on Au
Jon Empanger watches his tee shot head down the No. 6 hole on Aug. 5, 2022. Empanger, the No. 3 seed in the bracket, is headed to the finals where he'll meet top-seeded Steve Herzog. Both are multi-time Resorters champions but are looking for their first Master's title.
Sam Stuve / Alexandria Echo Press
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A first-time Men’s Masters champion will be crowned on Saturday. Top-seeded Steve Herzog of Alexandria and three-seeded Jon Empanger of Chaska will meet in Saturday’s finals in a battle of storied Resorters champions.

Whoever wins will be adding to a jam packed trophy case from Resorters past.

Herzog is a three-time Men’s Seniors titlist, two-time Men’s champion and one-time Men’s Executive winner.

Empanger is also a three-time Men’s Seniors champion and is also a five-time Executive champion on top of that.

To get to the finals, both of them had to get through some tough competition.

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Herzog had to get past three-time Men’s Seniors runner-up Jim Arnold, while Empanger had to out duke defending champion, Tom Ryan.

Herzog def. Arnold, 2-1

Herzog and fifth-seeded Arnold went tip-for-tap with one another through 14 holes with neither giving too much to the other in terms of a strong lead on the scoreboard.

Steve Herzog hits a short chip shot from just behind the No. 6 g
Steve Herzog hits a short chip shot from just behind the No. 6 green on Aug. 5, 2022. Herzog is the top seed in the Men's Master's bracket and is headed to the finals. He's won Resorters titles before, but not a Men's Masters yet.
Sam Stuve / Alexandria Echo Press

But Herzog turned it on during the home stretch to win 2-1. He parred the par-4 15th and 16th holes to take a 2-up lead, which he held onto after tying Arnold on the par-3 17th.

Friday was the second day in a row in which Herzog made some clutch shots in the final few holes to win. In his quarterfinal match on Thursday against Greg Mattson, Herzog won holes 15 and 16 to tie the match and he won a playoff hole to advance.

Herzog’s last championship win came in 2019 when defeated Chris Haugen 2-1 in the Seniors championship.

Empanger def. Ryan, 5-4

A flurry of birdies guided Empanger to victory over Ryan, the No. 2 seed. Empanger birdied five times between holes 1 and 14.

His birdie flurry started early, with one coming on the par-4 2nd hole to go 2-up. Ryan had a birdie on the par-4 5th hole to trim his deficit in half.

Jon Empanger hits a shot down the No. 6 fairway on Aug. 5, 2022.
Jon Empanger hits a shot down the No. 6 fairway on Aug. 5, 2022. Empanger is the No. 3 in the Men's Master's division and defeated defending champion Tom Ryan to get to the finals on Saturday, Aug. 6, 2022.
Sam Stuve / Alexandria Echo Press

Empanger caught fire, starting on the par-4 9th hole, which he birdied to go 2-up heading to the back nine. He then birdied the par-4 11th, the par-3 13th and the par-4 14th, which helped him win, 5-4.

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Empanger has birdied holes 11 and 14 in back-to-back rounds. He’s also won hole 14 each time he’s played it in match play, along with one of the first two holes.

2011 was the last time Empanger won a title at the Resorters. That was his third straight Seniors title win in a row. Empanger finished runner-up to Haugen in the 2018 Seniors championships.

MENS MASTERS CHAMPIONSHIP, SATURDAY - 1ST TEE 
12:45 p.m. - Steve Herzog vs. Jon Empanger

Sam Stuve covers a variety of sports in the Douglas County area. He also is assigned to do some news stories as well.
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