Shortstop Tournament decided on 18th hole

Published 5:47 pm Tuesday, September 7, 2021

Green Lea Golf Course hosted the 95th annual Shortstop Tournament over the Labor Day weekend, and crowned its champion Monday afternoon after a thrilling matchup that went to the final hole.

For the fifth time in eight years and the sixth time overall, Brent Miller was named the tournament champion.

Miller took on 1998 Shortstop champion Jeff Stadheim in the match play final with both men playing mistake free golf for 18 holes.

The duo started off with each man recording a par on hole No. 1. However, Stadheim pulled out to a one-hole lead on hole No. 2, capitalizing after Miller landed short left of the green on his tee shot.

Stadheim kept his one-hole lead after the third hole. Miller looked like he might have an opening after Stadheim’s approach shot came up short of the green, but some putting mishaps from Miller kept the score where it was.

Miller and Stadheim battled on hole No. 4 to each record a par, before Stadheim went up by two, taking hole No. 5. Stadheim hit a long birdie putt to take the two-hole lead.

Miller immediately came back by winning the next hole, taking advantage of a short approach shot by Stadheim. The pair went even at hole No. 7, and Miller evened the match play  at hole No. 8 after he hit the green and Stadheim conceded the hole after missing the green.

Coming up hole No. 9, the pair played nearly the exact same shots to halve the hole. Miller claimed his first lead of the match after making the turn. Miller won the hole after Stadheim sent his apprach shot over the green, forcing him to try for a difficult chip.

After splitting the 11th hole, Stadheim again, evened the match by hitting an eagle putt from just off the green on hole No. 12.

Miller, however, would take the next two holes to bring his lead back to two with just four holes remaining.

Stadheim and Miller battled to split both the 15th and 16th holes, meaning Stadheim would need to win the remaining two holes to force a playoff.

Stadheim hit a solid drive on hole No. 17 before hitting full send on a shot that traveled close to the green for an eagle look. Miller hit an errant drive that forced him to lay up on his second shot.

With Miller’s lead cut to just one, Stadheim needed to win hole No. 18. He seemed to have a shot when both players went deep on their approach but a close chip shot put Miller close, and Stadheim conceded the final hole.

With his most recent victory, Miller is now the 2021, 2017, 2016, 2015, 2014 and 2009 Shortstop Champion. He now sits one title behind Chris Baas with the most tournament championships in its 95-year history.

About Tyler Julson

Tyler Julson covers sports for the Albert Lea Tribune.

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