19-year-old Minnesota golfer plays in PGA Tour event; community cheering with each swing

19-year-old Minnesota golfer plays in PGA Tour event; community cheering with each swing


19-year-old Anders Larson from Pine Island got to live part of his dream playing this week in the PGA Tour’s John Deere Classic.

Larson, a college golfer who also is an assistant coach of the Pine Island Zumbrota-Mazeppa High School team, qualified as an amateur to play in the PGA tournament event in Illinois.

“It’s pretty surreal to think, I’m still processing it,” Larson said after Friday’s second round.

The tournament started on Thursday when Larson posted a (+1) over-par score after 18 holes.

In the gallery was Larson’s former high school coach, Mark Moran, along with several other supporters from Southeast Minnesota.

“Just make it off the tee,” Moran thought while watching Larson on his first drive at the PGA event. “Nerves have to be going crazy, no nerves from him, pounds one down the middle of the fairway, out-drives the two competitors by 10 yards, you walk up and see this little guy, put it past these pros.”

Supporters back in Minnesota watched on TVs and on their phones to see if Larson could make the cut, to be able to play through the weekend.

“It’s heartwarming to know you have the support from home and to see familiar faces in the crowd — it’s pretty neat,” Larson said. “I’m just, really, really blessed to have the support system that I have behind me.”

Larson was on Pine Island Zumbrota-Mazeppa High School 2022 Minnesota Class AA State Championship golf team.

He will be a sophomore on the Tennessee Tech golf team, and is a three-time qualifier for the Minnesota State Amateur Championships

To see one of their neighbors play at a PGA event is an inspiration for other young golfers in the community, Coach Moran said.

“It’s amazing the work he puts in, the time he puts in, a lot of it’s on him,” said Moran.  “I know they are rooting for him.

Larson’s quest to make it to weekend play fell short, missing the cut, and finished at (+12) for the first two rounds.