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Metzger emerges from a pack of eight to win Bobcat ND Open by one shot

Sioux Falls golfer defends Dakotas Tour title, hits key shots down the stretch.

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Andre Metzger tees off on the 18th hole with a one-shot lead in the Bobcat North Dakota Open. Jeff Kolpack / The Forum

FARGO — The first three turns of this horse race of a golf tournament were held in muddy and wet conditions. Then came Sunday, when the weather at the Fargo Country Club turned to perfection and the sun shined on Andre Metzger. Again.

The veteran from Sioux Falls, S.D., was the only player in the front pack to avoid any sort of bogey train and that consistency paid off in the end in the final round of the Bobcat North Dakota Open. He shot a 2-under 70 to take a one-shot victory in the last Dakotas Tour professional event of the summer. It was worth $10,000 and a paid entry fee to the Korn Ferry Qualifying School.

Every penny of that 10 grand can probably be traced to hole No. 13 when Metzger found himself in potential trouble with a tee shot that went right. His approach found more tree trouble and he was 97 yards from the pin, into the wind, with a couple of large trees between himself and the green.

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“I literally aimed 20 yards right into the bunker and had one gap in the tree,” Metzger said. “Other than that I could go low into the bunker. So I decided to ‘hood’ a 60-degree, hooked it 20 yards, it went through the gap and knocked it to 15 feet.”

He sank the par putt.

“It was a top five up and down all-time in my life,” Metzger said. “I was going to be fine with bogey but when that putt went in, I just couldn’t believe it. I really couldn’t. That was the first time I felt like I was in it to win it. Yeah, it started everything.”

Every inch counted. Take Kevin Stanek, for example. He stood over a makeable birdie putt on the par-3 15th hole with a chance to tie Metzger. He was short and moreover, missed the very short par putt. Instead heading to the 16th with a share of the lead, he found himself two back. At that point, there were eight players within two shots of each other.

“I saw that while we were playing and wished it wasn’t that exciting,” said David Schultz, who finished fifth, just two shots off the lead. “But I thought this is really cool if you’re a spectator.”

Schultz had his opportunities earlier on the back nine, missing a short birdie putt on the 10th that would have gotten him within one. He barely missed an eagle attempt on No. 11, yet was still just two back heading to the par-4 16th. It’s a drivable hole at 336 yards, but was also playing into a light breeze.

All of the final six players were short of the green, with Schultz in optimal position. But his short approach didn’t have enough juice, he missed his birdie putt and was three back with two holes to play.

Still, it was a day to remember for Schultz, who was in the hunt for a tourney title for the first time in a few years.

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“I was happy the way I was feeling being in contention,” he said. “It’s been a long time and I felt super calm and just was going through the process of trying to execute shots.”

The 39-year-old Metzger played mostly in the Korn Ferry Tour and was planning on making the Bobcat his last event of the year. Fellow professional Tim Ailes, a former Bobcat champion, convinced him to enter the Korn Ferry Q School just in case he won this tournament.

“So the fact I even won this is the only reason I’m going to keep on playing,” Metzger said.

Final results can be found at www.bobcatndopen.

Top 10 finishers

Andre Metzger 66-67-70--203

Chris Gilman 70-66-68--204

Matt Picanso 71-64-69--204

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Tony Albano Jr. 64-67-74--204

Dave Schultz 69-66-70--205

Alistair Docherty 67-68-71--206

George Kneiser 66-68-72--206

Sam Gillis 67-69-71--207

Sam Weatherhead 67-70-70--207

Kevin Stanek 66-66-75--207

Related Topics: GOLFINFORUM BISMARCK
Jeff would like to dispel the notion he was around when Johannes Gutenberg invented the printing press, but he is on his third decade of reporting with Forum Communications. The son of a reporter and an English teacher, and the brother of a reporter, Jeff has worked at the Jamestown Sun, Bismarck Tribune and since 1990 The Forum, where he's covered North Dakota State athletics since 1995.
Jeff has covered all nine of NDSU's Division I FCS national football titles and has written three books: "Horns Up," "North Dakota Tough" and "Covid Kids." He is the radio host of "The Golf Show with Jeff Kolpack" April through August.
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