Deep seeded players bring upsets to field of 64
A pair of top five qualifiers were upset in the opening round of 64 golfers during the first day of championship match play at Detroit Country Club, host to the 85th Pine to Palm golf tournament.
Alan Spriggs had the biggest upset of the day advancing as the 61st seed with a 2&1 victory over No. 4 Dax Wallat. Spriggs was matched in his effort by Brennan Hockman, seed-60, who duked it out with No. 5 Bill Carlson in a marathon match.
The duo teed off at 2:03 p.m., and needed the third extra hole where Hockman finally broke the tie after 8:30 p.m. Carlson was 1-up after five holes and the match was all-square at the turn and down the stretch.
Top seeded and co-medalist Nick Myhre cruised 6&5 over No. 64 Dieter Zuehlke. Myhre got off to a hot start winning the first five holes and two more before the turn to go to hole No. 10 up seven.
His counterpart, co-medalist and two-seed Noah Lawson had his hands full with Detroit Lakes high school local Wyatt Blomseth. Lawson held a 1-up lead with a putt to win on hole No. 16 that did not fall. On 17, Lawson was on the green and two-putted for par. Blomseth hit to the back-left of the green and had to chip from three feet off. His par putt would not fall and Lawson advanced 2&1.
No. 3 Lucas Johnson advanced swiftly 7&6 over No. 62 Tanner Kretchman.
Two-time medalist Grady Meyer is the next highest seed in the sixth position. Meyer was off the course early winning 5&4 over No. 59 Trevor Swangler.
Bryant Buckellew is the seven-seed; he recorded the fastest knockout of the first round winning 8&7 over No. 58 Jack Kluge.
No. 8, Erik Weiss, who led day two of qualifying at the turn, advanced 1-up over No. 57 Alex Skarperud.
Rounding out the top 10, No. 9 Benjamin Dirck went extras with Marc Vincelli to win with birdie on 19. Vincelli scrambled a bit to stay one-down through the opening nine and tied the match by 14.
Tenth-seeded Nate Varty moved on with a 2&1 victory over (55) Hunter Thorsen.
In another match that lasted six hours, No. 44 Cody Christensen and No. 21, the 2003 champion Greg Melhus had a tense match that ended on 18.
Melhus had an advantage with a birdie putt on 17 with the match square, much like Lawson and Blomseth’s match. Melhus’ putt would not fall and Christensen got a big up and down to keep even.
On 18, Melhus’ approach found the front fringe and trickled back to force a chip. Christensen got his ball above the pin, which was placed back left drawing the majority of approaches back down the green. Christensen’s ball stuck 12 feet above the hole with a break. Melhus had a valiant effort to hole out for birdie that skirted by the cup. Christensen was one better with a well-earned and quality putt for the victory.
No. 14 Adam Gronaas and No. 51 Charlie Duensing, 2015 runner-up got the drama started with the first match to go to 19 holes. Duesing’s approach was short, front fringe, while Gronaas was on the green, pin-high in two.
No. 54 Jon Stecher added to the upsets from deep in the field defeating No. 11 Mason Kennedy 2&1.
The round of 32 begins Friday at 1:27 p.m. with the top seed, Myhre, facing No. 32 Ben Hauge.
The rest of the matchups:
49 Pat Dietz vs 17 Matt Rachey
8 Erik Weiss vs 40 Cody Cook
9 Benjamin Dirck vs 24 Jon Miller
61 Alan Spriggs vs 29 Andrew Passanante
13 Rick Kuhn vs 45 Spencer Hilde
60 Brennan Hockman vs 28 Jack Holmgren
12 Coy Papachek vs 44 Cody Christensen
2 Noah Lawson vs 31 Chris Swenson
50 Regan Steen vs 18 Nick Olsgaard
7 Bryant Buckellew vs 26 Tanner Lane
10 Nate Varty vs 42 Robert Wagner
3 Lucas Johnson vs 35 Connor Holland
14 Adam Gronaas vs 19 Jacob Dehne
6 Grady Meyer vs 27 Mason Fiddle
54 Jon Stecher vs 22 Thomas Longbella
Championship Match Play scores:
Nick Myhre over Dieter Zuehlke 6-5
Thomas Longbella over Caleb Ketterling 6-5
Ben Haugen over Joe Schornack 5-4
Jon Stecher over Mason Kennedy 2-1
Pat Deitz over William Leaf 2-1
Mason Fiddle over Dylan Naylor 1-up
Matt Rachey over Nathaniel Kahlbaugh 3-2
Grady Meyer over Trevor Swangler 5-4
Erik Weiss over Alex Skarperud 1-up
Jacob Dehne over Lincoln Cizek 2-1
Cody Cook over Cade Montplaisir 2-1
Adam Gronaas over Charlie Duensing 1-up (19 holes)
Benjamin Dirck over Marc Vincelli 1-up (19 holes)
Connor Holland over Ben Frazzini 3-1
Jon Miller over Cole Hanson 3-2
Lucas Johnson over Tanner Kretchman 7-6
Alan Spriggs over Dax Wallat 2-1
Robert Wagner over Thomas Strandemo 3-1
Andrew Passanante over Alex Uloth 2-1
Nate Varty over Hunter Thorsen 2-1
Rick Kuhn over John Fischer 6-5
Tanner Lane over Benji Miller 8-7
Spencer Hilde over Gus Minkin 3-1
Bryant Buckellew over Jack Kluge 8-7
Nick Olsgaard over Nolan Frank 6-4
Chris Swenson over Peter Jones 6-5
Brennan Hockman over Bill Carlson 1-up (21 holes)
Jack Holmgren over Ryan Geiger 2-1
Regan Steen over Alexander Schwab 2-1
Coy Papachek over Matt McElveen 3-2
Cody Christensen Greg Melhus 1-up
Noah Lawson over Wyatt Blomseth 2-1