If we know anything about Cecil Belisle, it's that the Red Wing native is a battler.
He's also his own toughest critic.
So it's no shock to anyone who knows him that Belisle was the last one standing at Hastings Golf Club on Wednesday afternoon.
With a convincing 5 & 4 victory against Ryan Conn of Chaska Town Course, Belisle added another prestigious championship to his golf resume, winning the Minnesota Golf Association Players Championship. Belisle went unbeaten in six matches over three days to capture the title, winning when Conn just missed a four-foot par putt on the 14th hole.
“It was big. I was kind of antsy coming into (Wednesday). I was anxious and nervous a little bit, which is good because it means you want it and you’re hungry and determined,” Belisle said in a press release from the MGA. “But I was tired of feeling that way and knew if I brought the same mentality into today, I wasn’t going to play that well. When I saw that last night, it just clicked.”
Belisle, who plays college golf at Minnesota State University, Mankato, was 3-up after nine holes in the title match, then birdied the par-5 No. 10 hole to take a 4-up lead. He preserved that lead with a sensational up-and-down for bogey to halve the 13th hole, after losing his second shot. On the decisive 14th hole, he stuck his approach shot to 10 feet and made par, then won when Conn slid his par attempt just past the cup.
It was a spectacular, if somewhat unsurprising, rebound for Belisle, who missed the cut by one shot at last month's MGA State Amateur Championship.
Belisle has shown before the ability to push back after a rough round or a tournament where he may not feel he played his best.
He won his first high school state title as a sophomore in 2017. He finished third in the state in his junior season, making a strong push by shooting 32 over his final nine holes. As a senior, he triple-bogeyed the first hole of the state meet, but was the best golfer in the field over the final 35 holes and captured his second title.
Belisle's victory against Conn was his second win of the day Wednesday. In the morning's semifinals, he defeated Peter Capouch of Medina Golf & Country Club 5 & 4 to advance to the final.
In Tuesday's quarterfinals, Belisle won 4 & 2 against Shane Barnes of Minneapolis.
Belisle's toughest matches of the championship -- score-wise, at least -- were his first two. He beat Matt Armstrong 1-up in the Round of 16 after beating Ian Simonich 1-up in the Round of 32 on Monday in a battle of former MGA Junior Boys Players of the Year.
Belisle played 95 total holes this week and led for 92 of them.
“I guess you don’t want to play me in match play,” a sheepish Belisle said Wednesday. “I don’t really make that many mistakes. I think I’m pretty consistent and I don’t really hit it offline. Match play is a par game and a huge mental game. The mental game this week was pretty spot on."