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Ready or not, Mid-Ams advance to 2nd round

Craig Stein hits his tee shot on the first hole during his Thursday match against Bob Cavanagh. Stein beat Cavanagh 1-up to advance in Mid-Am play at the Pine to Palm.1 / 2
Michael Seelye watches his tee shot on the par five first hole during his Mid-Am match against Otis Hesteness Thursday at the Pine to Palm.2 / 2

As it turns out, golf isn't meant to be played in the water.

The all-day rain at the Detroit Country Club cut short the majority of Pine to Palm Mid-Am championship match play Thursday, with some matches already out of hand and others very close.

The top two seeds survived as defending champion Jay Olafson downed No. 16 seed Brad Solheim 6 and 5, while medalist and Concordia College head men and women's golf coach Duane Siverson outlasted Miles Schacher 2-up with three holes to go.

With play being interrupted twice due to lightning, it was decided by the Pine to Palm Committee to cut short the Mid-Am, Senior and Super Seniors match play to allow the Championship flight take off on a shotgun start.

All matches which were stopped on the second delay, they in essence were officially ended.

For Siverson, he didn't feel his match play performance wasn't as good as his two-day qualifying medalist score of two-under par 140, but it was more than enough to advance to the second round.

"I wasn't hitting the ball like I was the first two days, but I was able to make some tough par putts, which maybe frustrated him a little because he thought he had that hole," Siverson said. "But I wasn't hitting the ball well off the tee and was scrambling most of the round.

"I just needed to grind it out today."

Siverson took a one-up lead with a birdie on five, which lasted at the turn (Mid-Am had a shotgun start and started on various holes) and took a 2-up lead with a par on 10.

The Cobber coach lost 11, but won each of 12 and 13 to take a commanding 3-up advantage and ended up winning 2-up on 18 before the match prematurely ended.

"This was my first match and my first win, but my strategy isn't going to change, I just need to do better off the tee," Siverson said.

No. 3 seed Mike Seelye played a familiar opponent in last year's medalist winner Otis Hesteness.

Both golfers are members of the DCC and know the course well, but it was Seelye who came out on top 3-up.

Seelye kept up his solid play in the Pine to Palm after his even-par 142 qualifying score, by carding five birdies in the match, including a chip in on 11.

"Otis is a solid player and I knew I had to play well to beat him," Seelye said. "I was happy with the way I was hitting it, despite the rain and will just have to take it one match at a time."

There were three matches decided with 1-up wins, as Craig Stein topped Bob Cavanagh, Chad Niles downed last year's runner-up Kent Fronk and Perry Piatz nipped Keith Aasen.

AJ Greff won 2-up over George Strand and Wade King was a 3-up winner over Scott Linnerooth in the final two matches.

Friday's quarterfinals will pit Olafson against Greff; Stein against King; Siverson versus Niles and Seelye against Piatz.

Brian Wierima
Detroit Lakes Newspapers Sports Editor for the last 15 years. St. Cloud State University graduate, who hails from Deer Creek, MN.