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Shortstop Tournament champ wins back-to-back titles

Brent Miller drives the ball from the seventh-hole tee box Monday during the championship match at the 88th annual Shortstop Tournament at Green Lea Golf Course. — Micah Bader/Albert Lea Tribune

Brent Miller drives the ball from the seventh-hole tee box Monday during the championship match at the 88th annual Shortstop Tournament at Green Lea Golf Course. — Micah Bader/Albert Lea Tribune

Brent Miller is 3-for-3.

After his third appearance in the finals, Miller won his third cup by defeating Josh Jones Monday on the final day of the 88th annual Shortstop Tournament at Green Lea Golf Course.

Miller is the tournament’s back-to-back champion with other titles in 2014 and 2009.

Aside from a bogey against Andy Petersen in the semifinals — a rematch of the 2014 and 2009 championship match — Miller said he hit for only birdie or par in Monday’s portion of the three-day tournament that featured 112 competitors.

Miller said his best hole in the championship match was No. 7. He led by two strokes before sinking a 20-foot putt for par.

“That could’ve turned the tide,” he said.

Mirroring last year, Miller’s caddie was seven-time tournament champion Chris Baas. Baas captured titles in 1999, 2001, 2002, 2003, 2008, 2012 and 2013.

“We’re good friends,” Miller said.

Miller, an insurance agent with New York Life in Sioux Falls, said he enjoyed the tournament’s format.

“I love the match-play,” he said. “Josh played great. It was his first time in the finals, which is a different element.”

Josh Jones said he enjoyed the gallery that followed the finalists throughout the course.

“It’s always fun to have a lot of people driving around and watching and then hearing people cheer for you,” he said. “It adds another exciting element to it other than just two guys out playing golf.”

Josh Jones is a chiropractor with an office in Blaine, but his roots with Albert Lea and the tournament run deep. He said he was born and raised in Albert Lea, and he participated in the tournament with his father, Clif Jones.

“Our family goes way back (with the tournament),” Josh Jones said. “I remember being 8 years old and caddying for my dad in this.”

The roles flipped this year. Clif Jones caddied for Josh Jones.

“That was cool,” Josh Jones said. “My whole family made it down. It’s almost like a family reunion for us.”

Another connection Josh Jones had with the tournament was through his great uncle, Gene Peterson, who won the tournament in ’85 and ’86.

Green Lea owner Jeff Elseth said the Shortstop Tournament is one of two tournaments the course hosts each year with the match-play format. The other tournament was the Green Lea Club Tournament on July 25.

“There’s not many of these around anymore,” Elseth said. “The bulk of the tournaments are medal (stroke) play.”