Keller back to chase seventh Labor Day Classic title
Paul Keller doesn't play much competitive golf anymore. Outside of a few leisure scrambles and light rounds throughout the year, the Dickinson native only plays one tournament -- the Kevin Bergman Labor Day Classic which starts today at the Heart...
Paul Keller doesn't play much competitive golf anymore.
Outside of a few leisure scrambles and light rounds throughout the year, the Dickinson native only plays one tournament -- the Kevin Bergman Labor Day Classic which starts today at the Heart River Golf Course and is in its 61st year.
"It's a fun tournament to play in," Keller said. "It's a fun environment to be in. You add those up and you have a chance to play pretty good if you're comfortable, and with the course, I enjoy it so much. I have so many good memories that it's easy to want to come back every year."
Keller, who resides in Chaska, Minn., may show up for the fun he gets out of it, but don't be fooled into thinking he's just out for an easy 18 holes of golf. Keller has six Labor Day championships to his credit including three of the last five.
"I don't know if that's so much on my mind," Keller said. "I just enjoy coming back. Certainly there's a lot of good players and it's match play, not stroke play, so anything can happen."
The match-play format has benefited Keller, who topped Dickinson native Troy Stone 3 and 2 to win last year in what were miserable weather conditions.
"The weather was so bad on the last day," Keller said. "I remember that I hit my drive really well throughout the entire tournament. I putted really well. Those two things in match play are what you need to do.
"There's a little bit of luck that goes into anybody who wins this tournament."
Keller, who is a 1987 graduate of Dickinson Trinity and 1992 graduate of the University of Minnesota, won titles in 1989, 1990 and then again in 2004 and 2005. In 2004, he beat out Tyler Reisenauer and in 2005, he topped Doug Wellenstein.
The 40-year-old Keller said he particularly enjoys he 11th and 15th holes. While some of the holes at the Heart River Golf Course can seem long, it's nothing compared to what Keller has in his neck of the woods.
Hazeltine National Golf Club in Chaska was home to last month's 2009 PGA Championship, which was won when Y.E. Yang defeated Tiger Woods by three strokes.
Hazeltine, a private club, plays more than 1,000 yards longer than Heart River. Keller said the toughest thing about Heart River is playing to the wind.
"You've got to play well in the wind," Keller said. "That's one thing that makes this golf course so unique. It can play differently with the wind, and not only every single day, but throughout your round. You've got to be a low-ball hitter."
Keller did get a chance to watch the PGA Championship, following Ernie Els and Steve Stricker most of the time. He did make an effort to watch Tiger.
"You just try to position yourself to see Tiger as much as you can," Keller said. "We caught a glimpse of him. There were massive amounts of people. It was something else."