Mid-Am First Round: Piatz stays steady in win
The Pine to Palm Mid-Am defending champion Perry Piatz cleared his first hurdle in his title defense with a convincing 5 and 4 win over Thomas Solien in the first round of match play Thursday.
Piatz had three birdies on the day and one bogey, as he went back to his 2013 formula in which captured him the Mid-Am championship.
“I just did the same thing as I did last year and that’s hit the ball down the middle of the fairway, hit my greens and sink my putts,” Piatz said. “Consistency is my game.”
The turning point in the match with Solien came on hole 10, where Piatz saved par to halve the hole by flopping a 40-yard shot to within six feet of the cup.
After that, Solien hit water on 12 to give Piatz a 3-up advantage, which was followed with a birdie on 13 after he stroked a six iron with a punch hook to within six feet of the pin.
Piatz will stay with what is working and keep going the consistent route, with his next opponent being Keith Aasen, who was a 1-up winner over Matt Mayer in 19 holes.
In the other upper-bracket matchup, Tim Carlson will face Kent Spriggs. Carlson was a 1-up winner over Jim Mikkelson and Spriggs topped Aaron Burnside 5 and 4.
Medalist Scott Uithoven won handily over Britton Mattson 5 and 4, while Marc Redman downed David Barge 1-up.
Two-time Mid-Am champion and last year’s runner-up Jay Olafson started his 2014 campaign off well with a 5 and 4 win over Kent Fronk.
Olafson made a birdie on 17 to go 3-up on Fronk, then two-putted for a birdie on one (to start the back nine) to build a commanding 4-up advantage in the final seven holes.
“My putter was working well today,” Olafson said. “(Fronk) was in a little more trouble than I was today.”
Olafson, who shot 1-under par in 14 holes, said the motivation was to win medalist honors this year, but after falling short of that goal, winning his third title is now on the agenda.
“You always want to win again, that’s why you come out, to win it all,” Olafson said. “The competition in Mid-Am is getting better and better each year, too.”
Olafson will face longtime Pine to Palm veteran Bob Cavanagh of Perham, who took down Jon Anas 4 and 3.