EAST GULL LAKE – Alexander Herrmann has put on the first number for the CRMC PGA Tour Canada Championship presented by Gertens.
The German shot a 9-under 61 in the first round on Thursday August 25 at Cragun’s Legacy Courses.
He opened with birdies on the 16th and 17th and eagled on the par 5 18th for a return nine 5 under.
He finished with a 4-under front nine that included five birdies and a bogey on the par-4 ninth hole.
“I just got there and the first two holes played against the wind, so it wasn’t necessarily easy,” Herrmann said. “There were also long par 4s, so I just hit quality shots that were close to the flag. I didn’t birdie at the start. My first was on 13, but I was hitting every place I looked. I wasn’t aiming for the flags for the first few holes so I knew my ball striking was very good.
Herrmann said that turning the 14th most of the holes were downwind from there, so he started to get aggressive with his approach shots.
“I took advantage of it and was close to all the flags there,” Herrmann said. “I didn’t really punch long putts, but I felt like it was very easy. Sure, it was good golf, but it was a lot of fun.
A birdie on his last hole would have given Herrmann a 59. It didn’t even register for him until the round was over.
“That makes it even more boring,” Herrmann said. “It played against the wind and I thought if I could birdie it again it would be a good round. I was just a little too aggressive there. I should have hit my 2 iron there instead of 3 wood. The way the hole is shaped, it’s set up perfectly for my draw, so that was a bit of a mistake. It’s something I can learn from.
Herrmann’s good first lap only put him one shot away from the field. Conner Godsey of Rogersville, Alabama, and Taylor Funk of Ponte Vedra Beach, Florida each shot 8 under.
Six players shot 7 under.
Staples-Motley High School graduate Andrew Israelson and his playing partner Thomas Lehman sit at 2 under.
Israelson opened on the back nine and made the gallery for 50 people after his band of cheers with a birdie on the 12th hole. This was followed by consecutive bogeys. The 24-year-old tied the game with a birdie on the par-5 16th and narrowly missed a birdie putt on the par-17. The former North Dakota State University Bison birdied on the 18th par 5 for an opening nine of 1 under 34.
“I’m happy with the way I played,” Israelson said. “I played smart. All my bogeys were purely based on club selection. I had four bogeys and they easily won’t happen tomorrow.
Israelson hit five straight pars to open his second nine before participating in the par-4 eagle on the sixth hole. That momentum carried him to a birdie on the seventh hole.
“I was considering not hitting the pilot on six, but my caddy (his brother Zach Israelson) convinced me because I was playing really well,” Israelson said. “I was. I was riding great today. I saw Thomas hit his chip and I thought I lied a little better. His was downhill and mine was uphill. Got hands. Was good. Then I thought about landing it on the green instead of the fringe. But then I got up there and knew I had to land it on the fringe. I just hit right where I was trying to and I just cheered him on and he went in. It was a good swing and I birdied the next hole.
However, the group was cautioned for slow play and Israelson finished bogey-bogey for his round.
“For some reason we were timed and it made me rush the last two holes and honestly it was just a club selection,” Israelson said. “I hit some bad shots, but that was because I had bad yardages. I think if I don’t rush it’s a little bit different, but that’s golf.
“On nine I hit 3-wood and honestly I should have hit driver or 3-iron. But I hit him at exactly the right yardage – he just went into the woods. I hit the 3-wood well , but I just pulled him in. Just an inch and because it was the wrong club he went another 10 yards and I’m in the woods.
That puts him tied for 55th with Lehman and 19 other players, which would put him into the weekend.
Caddy note: Brainerd Warriors senior Dawson Ringler was on the sack for Lehman on Thursday. After the round, Ringler said he learned a lot about offense from his home run.
“Yeah, you have to keep it in play and drive it 330 yards,” he said.
JEREMY MILLSOP can be reached at 218-855-5856 or [email protected] Follow us on Twitter at www.twitter.com/jeremymillsop.