Four championship 16-rounds go to extra holes
Half of the Pine to Palm championship quarterfinals provided high drama going extra holes, highlighted by Tanner Lane and Nate Varty needing five holes to decide a match either golfer could have won.
Lane found trouble off the tee at five in the trees to the right and was unable to recover, while Varty ended the match with a solid eagle putt from the fringe to seal the match.
“I hit it a little hard, but it went in,” said Varty.
Lane missed a three-foot putt on the third extra hole for the victory to keep Varty in the match and both golfers halved at four.
“It’s golf, at that point,” Varty said. “You try to make the best score you can and hope it works out.”
Varty was 2-up at the turn before Lane turned it on birdying four of the first five holes on the back nine to take the lead. Lane took a 1-up lead to the 18th tee, where Varty won with a long putt to force extras.
“It was a long, tough day; we both played well,” said Varty. “We both made 15-20 footers to keep the match going. Tough loss for him; I was happy I came out on top.”
Rick Kuhn and Andrew Passanante were in the same group as the foursome duked it out together until the fourth extra hole where Kuhn found trouble on the drive left in the trees. Passanante was on in two and made a long, breaking, birdie putt for victory.
On the third extra hole, Passanante made a nice sand save to halve and stay alive.
Jon Miller made a huge save on hole No. 19 and another big putt on hole 20 with a shot in hand to eliminate Erik Weiss.
“I tried to two-putt,” Miller laughed. “It was going a little firm, it might have gone two to three-feet by, but I got a good read.”
The lead changed hands late in the match and Weiss made a 15-foot putt on 17 to keep going.
“It was a crazy match, neither one of us were playing that great,” said Miller. “I’m a grinder. I didn’t pick up the game of golf until I was 18-years-old. I love it and competition; it’s what I do.”
No. 1 seed Nick Myhre came back from being three-down to force extras and needed only one hole to eliminate Matt Rachey.
“That was a battle, but it was really fun though,” said Myhre. “He played a really good front nine and I didn’t play bad either.”
Rachey was three-under to two-under from Myhre on the opening nine.
“I had a couple stupid mistakes early on the back nine and was three-down at one point,” Myhre said.
He won three holes in a row, including a long, birdie putt on hole No. 14. Rachey went out-of-bounds on 15 and Myhre smartly played the middle of the green to win with par to even the match.
Myhre had a chance to win on 18 with the putter but the shot did not break as much as he had planned.
Rachey had a very difficult chip on the extra hole from right of the green well below the cup and Myhre needed to chip from the front of the green to a makeable up-and-down with a two-putt to advance.
The victory gave Myhre his deepest run in the Pine to Palm.
“It wasn’t looking good early, but I’m glad I got it done,” he said.
Grady Meyer continued to cruise through his matches winning 7&6 over Gopher teammate Thomas Longbella. Meyer was the first guy off the course for the second consecutive day and has been a birdie machine the entirety of the tournament.
Connor Holland was also done early defeating Adam Gronaas 5&3. Holland is the lone golfer of the eight in the field who has won the Pine to Palm.
Brennan Hockman and Chris Swenson round out the final eight golfers both winning 1-up. Hockman, seeded 60th, avoided extra holes for the first time in three matches defeating Coy Papachek. Swenson took out Nick Olsgaard.