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Caddy Zach McKinnon to help Taylor Sundbom at U.S Amateur

Taylor Sundbom and his caddy, Zach McKinnon, read a putt during the recent Arrowhead Invitational at Ridgeview Country Club. McKinnon will caddy for Sundbom at the U.S. Amateur Championship next week outside Los Angeles. (Mike Krebs / mkrebs@duluthnews.com)

Trent Sundbom had hoped to caddy for his brother, Taylor, next week at the U.S. Amateur Championship at Riviera and Bel-Air country clubs in Los Angeles.

Instead, Taylor Sundbom is going with the guy who he stole from his brother, Zach McKinnon.

“He started caddying for my brother when my brother first won the Cloquet Invitational (in 2014), Taylor Sundbom said. “At some point he started caddying for me. We feel like we’re a pretty good pair. He kind of knows what I'm thinking. He ‘s good at reading putts on the greens and it’s reassuring there to pick the right lines.”

McKinnon, also known as ‘Fish’, has been on Taylor Sundbom’s bag throughout his plethora of local victories recently, which this season has included the Reidar Lund Skyline Memorial at Enger Park, the Cloquet Invitational at Cloquet Country Club and, most recently, the Arrowhead Invitational at Ridgeview Country Club.

McKinnon and Sundbom depart Friday for courses the two could once only dream of tackling after watching them on television.

“We make a good combo,” McKinnon said. “To go to a course like that and carry for my best friend, that will be awesome.”

Practice rounds for the U.S. Amateur are Saturday and Sunday, followed by stroke play for qualifying on Monday and Tuesday. Match play — which will be broadcast on Fox and Fox Sports 1 — begins Wednesday. The championship is Sunday, Aug. 20.

McKinnon said his biggest job over the next week will be keeping Sundbom calm. He also has to get to know the courses during the practice rounds.

“I have to know the greens from all different angles, yardages. I need to know the course and keep talking to him, be his guy,” McKinnon said. “We’ll have fun with it.”

The U.S. Amateur field features 312 golfers from 29 countries ranging in age from 15 to 64. Twelve golfers have won a USGA title in their careers, 14 played in the 2017 U.S. Open and four were in last month’s British Open.

One golfer, Derek Bard of New Hartford, N.Y., even has the 2016 Masters on his resume.

Sundbom is one of 23 in the field to have played in the 2017 U.S. Amateir Four-Ball Championship, where he and Glenn Walls failed to make it out of stroke play at 4-over.

Northland Invite begins today

The 92nd men’s Northland Invitational gets underway today at Northland Country Club with qualifying stroke play. There are 132 golfers registered for the event, including 32 for the championship flight and 16 for the senior championship flight.

The first and second rounds of match play for the championship flight are scheduled for Friday with the third round of match play on Saturday. The semifinal and final take place Sunday.

Matt Mellin of Duluth is the defending champion having beat Trent Peterson of Eagan, Minn., 1-up in the championship a year ago. Mellin, who is back to defend his title, is coming off his second consecutive runner-up finish at the Arrowhead two weeks ago.

Defending senior championship flight winner Craig Hansen is also back to defend his title.

Matt Wellens

College hockey reporter for the Duluth News Tribune covering the Minnesota Duluth Bulldogs men's and women's teams, as well as the NCAA Division III programs at St. Scholastica and Wisconsin-Superior.

(218) 723-5317
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