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Roses capture a special title at AGC

Alexandria's Jerry Rose has won a lot of golf tournaments in his life. Resorters championships. Minnesota Golf Association events. You name it. But he had never won a member-guest tournament at the Alexandria Golf Club, and never won a tournament...

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The Roses, Mike (left), and his dad Jerry share a laugh on the eighth green at the Alexandria Golf Club after Mike sank a five-foot putt to keep their hopes alive in the AGC Member-Guest Tournament on Saturday afternoon. (Eric Morken / Echo Press)

Alexandria's Jerry Rose has won a lot of golf tournaments in his life. Resorters championships. Minnesota Golf Association events. You name it.

But he had never won a member-guest tournament at the Alexandria Golf Club, and never won a tournament with his son, Mike, playing right next to him. That's why Saturday's win for the Roses was so memorable.

"This is kind of a special time for us," Jerry, a longtime member at AGC, said. "It's just awesome (playing with Mike), and then it being in front of everybody here, I feel like this is family. My parents grew up here. My dad was a green superintendent at Alex when he was in college, so we've been coming here every year since I was a kid. It's just fun to be here and play. It's beyond our imagination to win."

The tournament started with 12 six-team flights on Thursday and was dwindled down to the flight winners, one wildcard team that had high points but did not win its flight and the day two high-point winners. Those 14 two-person teams entered into a shootout on Saturday where pairings are eliminated hole-by-hole until there are only two groups left standing.

The final foursome came down to the Roses competing against Robb Buttweiler and Jay Kopischke after Matt Fischer and Nick Strautz lost in a chip-off when all three pairings finished with pars on hole eight. Fischer and Strautz settled for third overall as Mike and Jerry joined Buttweiler and Kopischke on the ninth tee box in front of a big gallery of spectators.

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Kopischke hit his tee shot left of the fairway, but Buttweiler recovered nicely in the alternate-shot format by setting them up just in front of the green on his approach. Jerry Rose left his second shot a little short of the green and in the right rough.

"It was a pretty good lie," Mike said. "I just didn't want to chunk it. That was all I was thinking about. Get it on there somewhere he can putt it. I was pretty confident he was going to sink it."

Mike rolled his chip to about 10 feet, but Kopischke was even closer when he chipped up and left Buttweiler with about a six-footer for par.

Jerry Rose stood over his par putt knowing their safest bet of winning was to make it. He did just that, hitting it center-cup as it dropped in for the four. Buttweiler saw his putt to tie it go just wide.

"I knew Robby had a tough putt coming back down the hill," Jerry said. "I thought, 'Well, if I can make this there's a good chance we could win.' Mike had a good chip getting it up there, and I had to get the right speed. I was lucky enough to hit the right speed, and it went in."

The Roses shook hands with Buttweiler and Kopischke before Mike came in for a hug and lifted his dad in the air as the two shared a laugh together.

"I just love playing with this guy," Mike said.

It was the first tournament that Mike has ever won. His dad knows his way around pressure situations on the golf course, but Mike showed he could handle some nerves, too. It was his five-foot putts on holes seven and eight that kept the Roses alive in the shootout.

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"Where did he tell me to putt it? That's what's going through my mind (on those putts)," Mike said. "Put it on the line where he told me to hit it. That's the biggest thing. It's nice having this guy as a partner."

It takes playing good golf over a few days and also getting some breaks along the way to win the member-guest tournament.

"The first day we kind of struggled a little bit," Jerry said. "We didn't really play great, but we hung on. We played a lot better in the two matches today. Hit a lot better shots, but we were kind of just barely hanging on on every hole in the playoff."

Jerry said they felt fortunate just getting to the shootout. Everything after that was an added bonus with the two getting to play a few more holes together.

Mike lives in Hawaii where he teaches. He gets back to Alexandria for a couple weeks every summer.

The Roses had plenty of support in the gallery as friends and family came up to congratulate them on the ninth green after the win. A fun ending for the father-son duo in what was a special day on the course for both of them.

"It was really lot of fun and exciting," Jerry said. "This is home for me."

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Eric Morken is a sports and outdoor editor at the Echo Press Newspaper in Alexandria, Minnesota, a property of the Forum News Service. Morken covers a variety of stories throughout the Douglas County area, as well as statewide outdoor issues.
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