Veteran Metzger uses experience to claim North Dakota Open title

FSA golf
Stock image

FARGO — Year after year, the Bobcat North Dakota Open hosts young players looking to make a career in golf. And year after year, experience seems to be the prevailing factor in determining a champion.

That’s exactly what happened Sunday, Aug. 23, at the Fargo Country Club. Andre Metzger from Sioux Falls, S.D., remained composed down the stretch to take a two-shot victory. It was the 38-year-old Metzger’s second Bobcat title winning it in 2013.

“It requires a patience out here,” Metzger said. “No other Dakotas Tour event requires the amount of patience that this one demands of you. Usually any other Dakotas Tours event it’s who goes the lowest. How low can we go? This one requires a patience where I see young guys go for things when you’re actually being better 30 feet away and short.”

Metzger had rounds of 67-66-67 for 16-under par. Former Washington State golfer Brian Mogg was two shots back.

The win was worth $15,000 for Metzger, who jokingly said he got a parking spot back at the Fargo Country Club. Normally, every former champion gets a prime spot next to the clubhouse, but the club decided to only do the defending champion this year. And Metzger said he wanted a toy Bobcat truck that goes to the winner for his 5-year-old child.


“It was more about staying in the moment this week and I was able to do that,” he said.

Nobody made it easy on themselves down the stretch. Metzger, for instance, missed a gimme-type looking putt on the par-3 15th that would have given him a three-shot lead over Matt Picanso.

“The toughest part about that was that it was so embarrassing,” Metzger said. “It definitely threw me off. I would say if not for a good break on 17 I think there’s a good chance you’re crowning somebody else. Once you get a break like I did on 17, you know it’s your day.”

He was able to overcome errant drives on both 16 and 17 that found trees.

On 16, while standing on an exposed tree root, he hit a low pitch that found the green, good enough for a two-putt par. An approach by Picanso, meanwhile, who was just two back at the time, appeared to hit a piece of tree debris near the green and rolled over the putting surface. He bogeyed the hole.

On 17, Metzger had a fortunate opening to the green between a couple of trees. His birdie on the par-5 hole restored a two-shot lead over Eric Lilleboe, who was playing one hole ahead on 18.


“Everybody needs a good break and that’s what it takes to win sometimes,” Metzger said.

While waiting for Picanso and Jeff Sorenson to finish their putts on 17, Metzger was staring down at No. 18 fairway, where Lilleboe was looking for his ball in the left rough next to the Red River.

“I was watching him hard,” Metzger said. “He was the only one I knew of that was within range right there with me.”

Not finding his ball, Lilleboe went back to re-tee and sent that shot into the right rough. A double bogey ended his title hopes.

“I’d say if anything experience all day helped me,” Metzger said. “I knew to really not take a lot of chances today, play more for position and hope I had an opportunity at the end.”

Fargo Shanley junior Jake Skarperud was the low amateur on a weekend where he got his total to 9-under before running into some bogeys to close his round on Saturday. He rebounded on Sunday with a solid three days of 68-71-70. That was one shot better than North Dakota State senior Andrew Israelson.


Andre Meztzger 67-66-67—200


Brian Mogg 67-69-66—202

Doug Quinones 66-72-65—203

Jeff Sorenson 64-70-69—203

Eric Lilleboe 68-67-69—204

Matt Picanso 64-70-70—204

Chris Gilman 73-67-65—205

Ross Miller 67-69-69—205

Brian Bullington 66-70-69—205


Derek Bayley 69-66-70—205

Samuel Weatherhead 74-65-68—207

Steven Kupcho 66-72-69—207

Kyle Karazissis 71-66-70—207

Even Knight 73-64-70—207

Richard Hearden III 68-68-71—207

Jeff Swegle 71-69-68—208

Kevin Stanek 69-69-71—209


Tim Ailes 67-70-72—209

Tyler Koivisto 71-68-71—210

Nick Delio 68-70-72—210

Gregory Robarge 66-73-72—211

Jeremy Tuggy 71-68-72—211

Aaron Whalen 69-71-73—213

Thomas Lehman 68-70-77—215

Zander Winston 70-67-78—215



Jake Skarperud 68-71-70—209

Andrew Israelson 69-71-70—210

Evan Long 72-71-69—212

Lincoln Johnson 72-66-75—213

Josh Persons 78-68-68—214

Will Grevlos 75-70-70—215

Lucas Johnson 73-71-71—215

Nate Deziel 76-72-68—216

Jason Schmidt 74-72-70—216

Josh Galvin 71-73-72—216

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.
What To Read Next
Get Local