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Johnny Larson returning for shot at 7th New Ulm Invitational Title

NEW ULM — In the 64 years that the New Ulm Country Club has hosted its Invitational championship, no golfer has dominated the championship flight like Johnny Larson.

One of the best golfers to come out of southern Minnesota, Larson was a standout at Springfield High School and played collegiately, first at the University of Minnesota and later at the University of Iowa. He and teammate Mike Fiedler started playing in the tournament during college, in 2004, and Fiedler of Faribault, won three straight titles, 2004 through 2006.

Larson, who finished second in 2005, took over from Fiedler, winning three straight from 2007 to 2009.

After another second place finish in 2009, Larson won three times more, in 2013 and 2014. He won his sixth title in 2016, but hadn’t played in the Invitational since then.

Now a seed business owner in the Springfield area, Larson is back to play in the Invitational, looking for a record seventh title.

He will face some stiff competition in Championship Division. Scott Paa, from New Ulm, holds a 0.6 handicap to Larson’s 1.9, and should be tough on his home course. Paa has three second place finishes in the past five years.

Also in the championship flight is Shane Kvidera, of Ramsey, who is a two-time champion (2019 and 2022).

Rounding out the flight are Paul Andersen (2.3 handicap); Aiden Guggisberg of New Ulm (2.0); Jason Wieland of New Ulm, (3.7), Mason Buegler, New Ulm (6.6); Colin Huffman, New Ulm, (2.1); Scott Stueber (1.5); Keith Dahle (6.7); Ethan Kirchberg, New Ulm (5.8); Ryan O’Keefe (7.2) and Nate Weisenburger, New Ulm, (5.0).

The tournament will follow its normal format, with all flights playing on Saturday and Sunday, with practice rounds on Friday.

The tournament champion will be determined with a nine-hole title round on Sunday afternoon.

The golfers will be playing on a lush green course, which has benefited from an early spring and recent rains.

The public is welcomed to come and watch the competition throughout the weekend. Admission is free, and the Cottonwood Grill will be open.

A variety of events will take place on Friday and Saturday. A banquet will be held for participants on Friday at 5:30 p.m. A shootout will be held starting at 6:30 p.m. Golfers will compete on the 10th, 11th and 18th holes, with the high scorers eliminated until there is just one winner left. The Bockfest Boys will entertain from 8 p.m. until closing.

The first round on Saturday begins at 8 a.m. A Chopper Shootout will start at 6:30 p.m., and another banquet will take place from 5:30 to 7:30 p.m.

Award ceremonies will be held following the completion of each flight.

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