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Minnesota State Open comes to Hastings this weekend

Win a million bucks. Watch great golf. Cheer on 10 Hastings players. Raise funds for the Special Olympics. Raise funds for Hastings Family Service.

Not a bad weekend, right?

All of it is happening starting today (Thursday) at Hastings Country Club. The club is playing host to the Minnesota State Open. The tournament features the best 160 golfers from Minnesota, South Dakota and North Dakota. There are a number of additional events happening at the club in addition to the tournament, including a shot to win $1 million in a hole-in-one competition.

But the real story is that of the 160 players who qualified to compete over the weekend; 10 are members of the Hastings Country Club.

Five of the players earned exemptions throughout the year for their play. They are Jesse Polk, Brad Schmierer, Chris Borgan, Leif Carlson and Joel Johnson.

They'll be joined by five HCC players who qualified at tournaments across the metro and the state.

They are Bob Stark, Dan Oschmann, Max Fox, Joe Conzemius and Pete Vogal.

"It's pretty cool," said Schmierer, the Hastings Country Club golf pro. "I was guessing we might get that many. There were five guys qualified already, and we had another dozen guys who are really good players who tried to qualify. Of that dozen or so, five made it."

The range in the ages of the qualifiers stretches from 16 to 56.

"We have one kid that's 16, and I'm 56," Schmierer said. "There's a whole variety of age groups that are playing. I'm pretty excited about the whole thing."

All the players at the tournament will play 36 holes, starting at 7:30 a.m. Friday. The second round is Saturday.

The field will then be trimmed to approximately 60 golfers for the championship round Sunday.

The public is invited to attend the tournament.

Treasure Island Resort and Casino is the main sponsor for the tournament.

This year marks the first time in 29 years the tournament has been held at a course other than Bunker Hills in Coon Rapids.

The tournament will rotate now, with Bunker Hills as the site next year, and then another course as the site in 2011.

The shootout

Want to win $1 million? Here's what you'll have to do: Starting at 2:30 p.m. Friday and Saturday, and continuing Sunday, qualifying will be held for the $1 Million Shootout. Anyone can come take their shot at qualifying. It's open to the public.

Players will take their best shot at a 150-yard hole set up on the driving range at the country club. Over the three days, the four players who get closest to the pin will qualify for a chance to win $1 million.

The cost to enter is $5 for two shots, or $20 for eight shots.

On Sunday evening, the four qualifiers and two members of the Hastings Country Club will head over to the ninth hole, a 150-yard par 3.

Each player will get one shot. Should one of them sink a hole-in-one, they win $1 million.

The money raised will be donated to Hastings Family Service.

"I think it's a good idea, and I hope we can raise some money," country club golf pro Brad Schmierer said.

Anytime Fitness is the sponsor for the event.


The club will be open to the public Monday, and golfers will be able to play the same course setup from Sunday's championship round. All the pins will stay in the same place, so golfers here can get a chance to see what it would have been like to play in the finals.

The price for 18 holes and a cart is $65.

To set up a tee time, call 437-6483.


The tournament kicks off Thursday with a Special Olympics tournament. Each foursome will have a golf pro, a player from the Special Olympics and two sponsors.

The PGA is putting on a clinic afterward for the Special Olympics players, and all the money raised in this part of the tournament will be donated to the Special Olympics.