Pine to Palm: Anderson, co-medalists advance to round of 32
Amy Anderson is making quite a name for herself at the Detroit Country Club.
A gallery fit for a Sunday Championship match came a bit early at the Pine to Palm Golf Tournament Thursday as over 100 people followed the opening match between Anderson and Lake Park's Peter Krier.
The attraction was Anderson's first trip to Championship match play as she kept writing more Pine to Palm history by winning a narrow one over Krier 2 and 1.
It started when Anderson was the first female to qualify for the Championship field. Thursday, it was her first victory in match play which made some more noise.
"It's just nice to be able to prove it," Anderson said after her victory. "It was a close and fun match and I appreciated all the people who came out to watch the match."
Krier knew what he was about to face heading into the opening round of the field of 64.
But instead of shying away and making the match the battle of the sexes, he appreciated the competitive nature of the match of golfer versus golfer mentality.
"It was just a great competitive match," Krier said. "I was excited about the big gallery watching us. I just had a fun time and I enjoyed it thoroughly."
The match came down to hole 17, where Anderson was able to sink a 10-foot par putt, while Krier's five-footer just lipped out.
Just like many of Anderson's match play opponents who fell to her -- including the six in the U.S. Junior Amateur -- mistakes cost them, while she stayed the course.
An out of bounds shot by Krier on 16 gave Anderson a 1-up lead, thus putting more pressure on the Concordia College golfer to win 17.
"She hit right down the fairway on 16 and I tried to put a fade on mine and it went out of bounds," Krier said. "Then I just lipped that one on 17 and it was over."
Krier made some high-pressure putts himself, including a 15-foot birdie putt on 13, forcing Anderson to drain her four-footer to halve the hole.
The start was a bit slow for Anderson, as Krier took a 2-up advantage after she recorded a pair of bogeys on two and three.
But a birdie on four put Anderson back on track, as the duo battled back and forth the rest of the way.
As was expected, Krier was able to beat Anderson off the tee, while both played well with their greens in regulation.
But the difference ended up being Anderson's putting, as she hit five key putts in the round from around the 10-foot distance.
"Definitely, my putting was key," Anderson added.
Keeping up with a player who doesn't make many mistakes is a tough act to follow in match play.
"I just had a couple of mistakes and she didn't make many of them," Krier said. "She was piping her shots right down the gut and hit almost every green."
Which Anderson's next opponent -- Wade Walters -- can expect to see, as well.
"I'm just going to keep hitting my fairways and putting well," Anderson said of her plan in her upcoming match.
Walters had his work cut out in the opening round by surviving an extra-hole playoff with 2008 co-medalist Tim Fiechtner, to advance to the second round.
One of the other highlighted matches Thursday was between co-medalist Tom Hoge -- who shot a qualifying score of 10-under par 132 -- and 2003 Pine to Palm champion and last year semifinalist Greg Melhus, who struggled some in qualifying with a 148.
Hoge was able to jump out early on the veteran golfer, building a 5-up advantage by the eighth hole.
From there, Hoge was able to cruise to a 3 and 2 victory.
"It wasn't the nicest draw to open (match play), because Greg plays well here," Hoge said. "I just had to make sure to keep my ball in play. I felt like I did everything I needed to do and stay consistent through the round."
Hoge finished with six birdies and three bogeys in the round.
He will now face A.J. Olson, who downed former Pine to Palm champion Russ Newman 2 and 1.
Hoge's fellow co-medalist, Wyoming's Clinton Boutelle, was the first Championship golfer in after he dominated playoff survivor Aaron Clausen 5 and 4.
Clausen came out sluggish, falling down by four after five.
The only thing Boutelle had to do was shoot for par in his first five holes to build the insurmountable lead.
"It was nice to get done early and start thinking about tomorrow's match," Boutelle said. "I'm comfortable with how I've been hitting the ball, I just need to get better with my putting."
Defending champion Ben Freeman wasn't complacent heading into match play, after gaining the automatic top seed.
He came out strong, beating Tanner Jones 2 and 1 by out-parring him to finish the round two-under.
"I had a ton of pars and not many bogeys," Freeman said. "I was just hitting my fairways and greens. Later in the match, I didn't make a few putts. Later in the tournament, I won't be able to get away with that."
Another first-timer in Pine to Palm play is Frazee sophomore Beau Hanson, who finished fourth in the state Class 1A meet this past spring.
Hanson had to wait his turn to play in the tournament, despite earning a free entry last year after winning the DCC Men's Club tournament.
But he couldn't use it because he was only 15 years-old at the time, so he gave it to his father to use.
This year, Hanson again earned a free entry with another DCC win, but this time he was going to use it to its fullest.
Hanson not only qualified, he won his first match play in distinguishing fashion in the form of a 5 and 4 win over Moorhead's Nick Olsgaard.
The Moorhead golfer had a strong qualifying score of 137, but fell behind early to Hanson Thursday.
"I had a good start and was putting well," Hanson said.
He made an eight-foot birdie putt on three and a two-putt par on four to spark his lead. By the turn, he had built a 4-up advantage.
"I was able to be more conservative after going 4-up," Hanson added.
Hanson will play Brian O'Connell, who downed Curtis Carlson 4 and 3.
Two-time Pine to Palm champion Rick Kuhn ended DL rookie Tanner Lane's tourney with a 6 and 5 win.
"I shot four or five under par and really had just one bad shot," Kuhn said. "I'm just trying to survive now."
A pair of Detroit Lakes golfers will be advancing after 2004 champion Chris Braaten held off Bryce Mattson to win 2-up, while Ben Bergquist went the distance -- and more -- to beat Perry Piatz 1-up in 19 holes to move on.
Braaten's next opponent is Cameron White, who is the co-medalist record holder with Jeff Lamp (130).
Bergquist will face 1995 Pine to Palm champion Mark Halverson, who downed Kenny Rucker 2-up.
Championship match play starts up Friday at 1:19 p.m. with Freeman teeing off against Todd Hillier.