Albert Lea hosts MWGA state golf championship

Published 12:00 am Wednesday, August 27, 2003

More than one hundred amateur senior women golfers converged on Albert Lea Country Club this week for the Minnesota Senior Women’s Amateur (MWGA) Championship.

For the county club, it was a chance to get recognized. For the golfers it was a chance to play golf, even if it was on some of the hottest days of the year.

The MWGA has member clubs from around the state. Albert Lea County Club, a member, was picked three years ago to host the tournament.

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“I think it’s great for our city and our club,” Gerry Vogt, the tournament chair, said.

Vogt said, with the exception of the weather, the two day tournament was a success.

The first day of golf started out with lightning, afterward the humidity and heat were both extremely high. The heat and humidity went down a little for Tuesday, but Vogt said they still had an effect on scores.

The golfers agreed.

“This is definitely one of the hottest tournaments I can remember,” Nancy Harris, of Minneapolis, the tournament winner, said.

Harris, who has spent 12 years playing with the MWGA, said the last tournament that was this hot was her first, in 1991, in Austin. She admitted that the southern Minnesota tournaments haven’t always had great weather, but they’ve had great hospitality.

Harris’ name is etched many times on the tournament’s 28 year old trophy. This year, she beat the next best player in the championship heat by nine strokes with a with a two day score of 158.

She said the greens were tough and her short game was off. Still she came away with another tournament victory.

The MWGA tournament switches courses every year. Harris said Albert Lea’s was competitive with all the others she’s played.

“The greens were in really good shape,” Harris, a newcomer to the course, said. “Most of the fairways were great too.”

She said she the course gave her a good challenge.

For Vogt and the county club it was a challenge of hosting a tournament.

“Being chair was fun,” Vogt said with a smile. “But I would have much rather golfed in the tournament.”

Nine of the 122 two day tournament participants were from Albert Lea, Vogt said.

Andy Newman, the club professional at the country club, said that the tournament gave some notoriety to the course.

“I think people realized that you can have a championship caliber golf course in a small town,” he said.

He hopes the tournament advertised the city too.

“I think it enhances not only from a golf perspective, but from a city perspective, what a beautiful community this is,” he said.

(Contact Peter Cox at or 379-3439.)