Eagle on playoff hole lifts Hannig to Palmer Kise title

Ben Stoterau
Redwood Gazette

An eagle on the first playoff hole allowed Pete Hannig to secure his first ever Palmer Kise Invitational title Sunday night, July 11, at the Redwood Falls Golf Club.

The 81st annual playing of the event proved to be an instant classic as Hannig held off three-time champion Andy Jacobson and Matt Gorans in a one-hole playoff as all three player’s finished the 36-hole event tied at one-under par 139.

Pete Hannig is congratulated by Andy Jacobson (middle) and Matt Gorans (left) after topping the duo in a playoff for the Palmer Kise Invitational title.

Hannig's clutch six iron second shot from 202 yards out on the par-5 ninth hole left him a five-footer for eagle, an eagle he would eventually bury to edge the duo by a single stroke.

“Being able to win in a playoff against two of my really good friends was great,” Hannig said, “When I hit that six iron I said out loud ‘that’s gotta be good’ and after I heard the crowd cheer I knew it was close. To drive up and see it just five feet away was a great feeling. I knew on that final putt I just needed to keep my hands quiet and hit a solid putt. And I did just that.”

Hannig is part of a strong contingent of amateur players from the Willmar area that have been down to play the tournament over the past decade. Jacobson is a multi-champion in the event and Gorans, along with sixth place finisher Dan Anderson, have all been in the mix for a title. In fact, Anderson — who was third in 2020 — was the day one leader after a solid two-under 68 on Saturday.

Andy Jacobson hits his shot off of the 13th tee box during round two of the Palmer Kise Invitational.
Matt Gorans looks to get up and down from behind the green on the par-3 seventh hole.

Day one saw a stacked leaderboard following completion of the round as Anderson (68), Gorans (69), Ethan Bohlsen (69) — an athletic NHL prospect out of Wilmar — Hannig (70), Jacobson (70) and Brady Madsen (70) — a Division I golfer from Raymond who plays for Florida Gulf Coast University — all sat within two shots of the lead.

Dan Anderson — the first day leader — hits his shot off of the 13th tee.
Brady Madsen looks to sink a short putt on the par-3 7th hole.

A pair of Redwood Valley graduates, Rob Lussenhop (72) and Taylor Hengel (73), were still in the mix while local favorites Eric Anderson (80) and Dean Wilson (76) were both essentially out of contention after struggling on day one.

Rob Lussenhop hits his drive off of the 13th tee.

Other than a second day charge from former Redwood Valley standout Adam Hengel — who followed an opening round 76 with a three-under 67 on Sunday (a round that included five birdies) — it proved to be a four-man race on Sunday between Hannig, Jacobson, Gorans and Madsen as Anderson struggled to a front nine 40 and a second day 78 to finish at six-over 146 and in sixth place for the tournament.  Bohlsen also got into trouble on the back-nine after a front-nine 39 and would finish with a second day 81 but an overall solid showing in just his second ever Invitational.

Hannig got things going right off the bat on Sunday with back-to-back birdies to open the round. He then bogeyed the par-5 12th and got into trouble near the river on the par-3 13th after hitting his tee shot long and suffered a double bogey to jump back to one-over for the round.

“My head was kinda spinning after blowing that start,” Hannig said, “But I settled down and got it together after that.”

Hannig would finish with a front nine 36, while Jacobson, Gorans and Madsen all rattled off even par 35s.

The foursome were neck and neck for most of the round — in fact the foursome was tied after Madsen’s birdie on the par-3 fourth — before things got interesting with five holes to go.

Hannig, who had birdied the par-4 third hole along with Jacobson, was in trouble off the tee on the par-4 fifth but would make a crazy up and down for par out of the trees while Jacobson suffered a three-put bogey. Gorans, meanwhile, birdied the hole to take a one-shot lead over Hannig and Madsen and a two-shot lead over Jacobson.

The foursome would all par the sixth and then on the par-3 seventh, Madsen, Jacobson and Gorans would all bogey while Hannig made an easy par to pick up a stroke and a take a one-shot lead over Jacobson and pull to within a stroke of Gorans with two to play.

On the par-4 eighth, Jacobson knocked a beautiful approach shot to within three feet, almost assuring a birdie and Hannig would ultimately go long, forcing a chip from just off the top of the green.

“I had a good lie and I thought I had a pretty good read on it and honestly I was just trying to get up and down,” he said, “I hit a little bump and run with my 56 degree wedge and it curled right into the middle of the hole. That was a huge shot of adrenaline for me and it ended up being a huge shot.”

Jacobson would also birdie to remain a shot back of Hannig with one to go and Gorans suffered a second straight bogey to now fall a shot back of Hannig and into a tie with Jacobson with one to play.  

Madsen was still in it but essentially needed an eagle on the final hole after bogeys on the seventh and eighth.

On the par-5 ninth finishing hole, Jacobson — a player who knows how to finish tournaments — knocked his second shot to within 20 feet for an eagle while Hannig sat below the green in two. His chip would come up short and after Jacobson two-putted for birdie, Hannig would gut out a two-putt as the duo would finish tied at one-under.

Gorans, in the final group, then needed a birdie to join the playoff and would do just that with a solid ninth hole and the threesome would head back to the ninth for the playoff.

With a gallery watching on a perfect Sunday evening, Hannig applied the pressure to his playoff opponents with the six,iron dart and even after Jacobson sunk a clutch 12-footer for birdie to make things interesting, he would sink the eagle putt to walk off a winner.

Pete Hannig celebrates after sinking an eagle putt on the first playoff hole to capture the 81st annual Palmer Kise Invitational title.

Madsen would finish fourth, two shots back and Hengel was fifth at three-over par for the tournament

“It was great to win,” Hannig said, “It’s just a fun tournament, we love the Redwood people and the Redwood golf course and enjoy coming here every year.”

Palmer Kise Invitational winner Pete Hannig (left) poses alongside Redwood Falls Golf Club Manager Ryan Fernelius.

Max Smith (79-73), son of multi-champion Pat Smith, held off Nick Johnson (77-76), Joshua Lone Tree (77-76), Dean Hengel (78-75), and John Jenniges (80-75) to win the President’s Flight.

Drew Downey would capture the Vice President’s Flight by two shots (81-72) over Brent Neubauer (81-74), Jake Blankenship (81-76), Mitch Fischer (82-76) and Matt Johnson (83-77).

Ben Baumgartner (89-84) claimed the Captain’s Flight over Jesse Jacobson (90-86) and Chris Randleman (92-87).

Ron Kise — the three-time champion (’77, ’80 and ’90) and son of the late Palmer Kise — fired a second day 71 to win the Master’s Flight by a single shot over Brad Johnson (77-74), Todd Bergeth (75-79), Brent Ford (77-79), Randy Dahms (81-78), Doug Prins (81-78) and Steve Walling (75-84).

Dan McGregor claimed the first flight over Duane Meager and Dan Larson topped Jamey Cumming by a shot to win the CLR Flight.

The tournament is played back nine (10-18) first and finishes on the front (1-9) . Complete results can be found on the RFGC website.

Dugan Flinn of Redwood Falls looks to sink a putt on the 13th green.
Six-time champion Mike Smith looks to bury a birdie putt.