BRANDON -- Jeff Meyerink bested 88 golfers and 117 holes of golf through four days.
The Mitchell native captured the 99th South Dakota Golf Association's men's match play championship on Sunday at the Brandon Golf Course. It’s his first individual SDGA title.
“It’s a huge accomplishment personally,” Meyerink said. “I don’t think I realize the scope of it yet. It just kind of happened all so fast. For not playing much or practicing, I didn’t really have any expectations going into the tournament, but everything kind of came together and I finished it off.”
He finished it off with a 3-and-2 victory over Garretson's Chris Long and it call came down to the No. 16 hole. Meyerink drove his tee shot left and into the trees, while Long had applied some pressure.
“Chris was on the green in two,” Meyerink said. “So he was putting for eagle and I had 72 (yards) to the pin. I hit it probably 82. So I had probably about a 20-foot putt, I suppose. I really kind of gave that one some extra attention because I know Chris is just a really good player. I knew I probably had to make that putt to get it done and buckled down. I made it and he missed his eagle putt and that was it.”
Meyerink stayed even-keeled after the victory, which was his second SDGA title. Meyerink and Mitchell’s Brandon Sigmund won the two-man state title combo in 2014.
“Obviously, I was happy,” Meyerink said. “But at the same time, I have been on the other end of that, where you are competing and feeling like you are playing good enough to win. But just run into someone playing a little bit better. I have known Chris for a long time. It was no great feeling about beating him because I know he wanted it as much as I did. It certainly did feel pretty good to finally win my first individual state tournament.”
Meyerink shot a 2-over-73 in the qualifying round, which seeded him 34th in the 64-man bracket.
“I didn’t think about it,” Meyerink said about his seed. “A lot of the top seeds were getting knocked off right away and it really doesn’t mean anything in match play. It’s the number sitting next to the name. You play the next guy and hope you can pull it off.”
Three of the top four seeds failed to qualify for the final 16 spots, while No. 8 seeded Long was the highest-remaining seed left in Sunday's final four.
“Each day I got a little better,” Meyerink said. “I learned how to play that course a little more and by the end of it, it just came together.”
Meyerink, 39, is a former Mitchell Kernel and Dakota Wesleyan University golfer. He’s a member of the Lakeview Golf Course.