Welch, Madsen Take Tournament of Champions
Emma Welch of Lakeville and Brady Madsen of Raymond win the 2017 Players Tour Tournament of Champions in the Girls’ and Boys’ divisions, respectively. Madsen’s win makes it back-to-back for him. This was a two-day, 36-hole event at Breezy Point Resort with the first round held at Whitebirch Golf Course and today’s round at Deacon’s Lodge.
Welch, a 14-year-old, shot a 2-over 146 two-day total to win by three shots over the 18-hole leader, Alayna Eldred, of Osakis, Minn. She shot an even-par 72 on the final day that included four birdies, three on the back nine, leading to her victory. Eldred struggled early with two double-bogeys in her first five holes. She never seemed to to be able to recover.
“I thought I played really well and the course was in great shape,” emphasized Welch. “I was making a lot of long birdie putts and anytime that happens, it’s exciting.”
She joins her sister, Megan, who won this tournament in 2015, as a champion of the Players Tour end-of- year major. Not only was winning on Welch’s mind, but she wanted to up the ante and beat her sister’s 36-hole score while doing so.
“My sister had won this tournament two years ago, and I wanted to do the same this year,” said Welch. “Being in contention, I had some extra motivation to beat her score which I was able to do.”
Madsen fired a 5-under 139 two-day total to win his second consecutive title by one shot over Will Freeman of St. Cloud. The defending champ began the day one shot off the leader, Freeman. After a bogey to start the final round, he would go on to birdie five of his next six holes and post a 4-under 32 on the front side.
“The goal heading into today was to defend my title,” said Madsen. “I knew it wasn’t going to be easy with all the great talent here.”
Freeman started 2-over on the front side but added some pressure late with consecutive birdies on the par-4 13th and par-5 14th. Madsen would bogey the par-4 15th and the two were all tied up going to the 18th tee.
Madsen would soidify his victory with a birdie on the final hole to repeat as champion.
“I was struggling with my game early on this summer. I’ve put a lot of hard work into it over the past couple weeks,” he said. “It feels great and is an awesome way to end my junior career.”
For full results of the Girls’ division, click here.
For full results of the Boys’ division, click here.