Golf: Mellin goes the distance to win Arrowhead Invitational – Reuters Sports News


DULUTH — Matt Mellin’s first championship Arrowhead Invitational was all smiles, a 7-and-6 rout. Mellin got number two on Sunday, but he had to work a full day and more.

The 2018 champion went the distance with Joel Johnson of Hugo, Minnesota, but captured his second career championship with a 1-up victory Sunday at Ridgeview Country Club.


“I made a lot of putts. Everything that needed to go is gone, and it doesn’t always work out that way,” Mellin said.

Mellin birdied the par-3 eighth hole to take a 1 lead, but Johnson erased it by drilling an excellent corner within two feet for a birdie at the No. 11. The pair were blocked within five subsequent holes before Mellin gets a decisive decision. edge on the 17th.

Almost as if to underscore the mounting tension at the 96th annual championship game and senior championship being played there, the winds were picking up and skies were darkening before a storm approached. After several pauses to assess gusty conditions, Johnson’s tee shot on the par-3 from 165 yards sailed long and to the right.

Joel Johnson emerges from a bunker during the final round of the Arrowhead Invitational on Sunday July 31, 2022.

Steve Kuchera/Duluth News Tribune

“I hit the wrong club because I thought it was mostly right-left. I didn’t mind missing a bit long because there’s a little safety net there, but it was shocking to go this far. I picked the wrong club, but it’s golf,” Johnson said.

Mellin is a southpaw, so his natural ball flight went into the wind. His ball landed near the pin and rolled a bit, leading to a par two-putt.

Johnson flopped out of the rough to give himself a par putt, but he didn’t fall, and Mellin took the lead with his par.

The misfire was part of a bad luck theme for Johnson, who simply couldn’t get a birdie putt down the stretch. He let go at 12 and also missed putts that would have won the hole on 14, 15 and 16.

Needing to win the 18th hole to extend the game, he rolled a 50-footer that missed the low side of the hole by an inch.

Johnson said he thought he had succeeded. “One percent more power and he would have gone in,” he lamented.

Mellin, a former champion, playing on his home course in his hometown, felt the love of an armada of carts after the final group. Additionally, Taylor Sundbom of Hermantown, the 2021 champion, served as Mellin’s caddy during the event. Sundbom was unable to defend his title, as he pursues professional tournaments on the PGA Tour Canada.

“It’s special. Every cart on the course was watching us,” he said. “It was pretty special to have everyone there.”

Mellin was the sixth seed in the match play field of 32 players. He knocked out No. 2 seed Joey Cummings in the semifinals on Sunday morning, while Peterson edged out No. 17 Ryan Peterson.


Mike Locker hits the ball during the final round of the Arrowhead Invitational Senior Division on Sunday, July 31, 2022.

Steve Kuchera/Duluth News Tribune

Locker spends his day in the sun

Mike Locker picked a good weekend to warm up.

The Ridgeview Country Club member earned himself the senior title at the Arrowhead Invitational, fending off defending champion Gary Carlson for what he called his first trip to the “winner’s circle.”

“I know I can compete but I’ve never been on that stage with these guys,” Locker said.

Competition he did. Locker found himself playing with a stretch lead against defending champion Gary Carlson.

Carlson battled his way back into the match, draining an audacious putt on the 17th to keep things going until the final hole, but Carlson couldn’t take the lead in the end allowing Locker to take victory 1 -up.

“I played the best golf I could play and made a lot of putts, so I knew if I could get on the green and have a chance I was more than likely going to make the putt. I makes the right putts at the right time,” Locker said.


Gary Carlson reacts to a shot during the final round of the Arrowhead Invitational Senior Division on Sunday, July 31, 2022.

Steve Kuchera/Duluth News Tribune