Medalist and No. 1 seed Andrew Israelson was first off the course Friday with a 3&1 victory on a day where players struggled with tough greens and challenging pin placements at the 87th Pine to Palm golf tournament in Detroit Lakes.
"The greens were a little bumpy and the pins were in some tough spots," said Israelson. "Sometimes you hit a good putt and it doesn't go down and sometimes you mishit and it goes in. If the greens were a touch quicker they would have been really hard, but they were manageable."
Israelson defeated No. 33 Mason Kennedy but had to work to get the victory.
"I wouldn't say I was very comfortable the whole time," Israelson said. "I just kept putting pressure on. I drove the ball poorly. I didn't make any long putts but didn't miss any short ones. I just have to be more consistent off the tee."
Israelson (NDSU) will match up with one of three Detroit Lakes natives left in the field Tanner Schnathorst.
No. 16 Schnathorst's (Valley City State) scorecard red 2-up after five, nine and 14 holes against Blake Kahlbaugh (Concordia).
"It was not as easy as it looked," said Schnathorst. "I led the whole way but Blake definitely made me work for it."
Kahlbaugh closed to 1-down after 15 but gave a hole back at 16 and Schnathorst tied with par on the short 17th to end the match.
The match ahead against the top seed will be a stiff challenge as is being a DL native trying to capture the Pine to Palm for only the second time in 87 years. That, however, is not on Schnathorst's mind.
"Not too much," he said. "I've been focused on playing my own game. I don't really know how the other matches are going. I'm just focused on what can give me the best score on every hole and it's been working."
Schnathorst was 4-under on his round Friday without playing the 18th.
Another former Laker, No. 24 Isaac Cihak (Concordia) had his hands full down one after the front nine to Ryan Ames (UND).
Two approach shots on holes No. 10 and 11 turned the match around. Cihak stuck those shots to tap-in distance on both holes and left the 11th with the lead and a strut off the green. From there it was smooth sailing to a 2&1 victory.
Cihak draws Moorhead high junior Ian Simonich who is continuing a hot summer of golf and proving that seeds don't always matter at the Pine. No. 57 Simonich defeated No. 40 Jack Michel 1-up.
No. 22 Bryant Buckellew of Scottsdale, Arizona has been hot out of the gates the first four holes to the tune of eight birdies on the first five holes two days in a row.
He led Cade Montplaisir 4-up after five holes in a battle of Arizona golfers. Buckellew tried playing conservative with the lead and it did not work.
"I tried just hitting fairways and greens and that didn't happen," he said. "It was a grind the entire way."
All the success early on the course has not changed Buckellew's opinion of the front's first four holes.
"Holes one through four are my least favorite holes on the course; I've just been playing them good the past couple days," he said.
Montplaisir climbed all the way back and forced an extra hole where Buckellew hit an excellent 50-degree from under a tree and rolled his ball up to four feet for the birdie winner.
Buckellew will want the same start he has been getting when he faces No. 6 Rick Kuhn Saturday. The 49-year-old North Dakota Golf Association President is playing his typical brand of golf at the Pine to Palm. He advanced 1-up over Justin Reddig.
No. 10 Nate Adams, an NDSU golf recruit from Maple Grove, took out DL's Tanner Lane 4&3. Fergus Falls' Keaton Lausch ended former Laker Ben Bergquist's bid with a 2&1 victory.
Nathan Ginnaty is the third DL golfer left in the field after a 3&2 win over Adam Van Raden. Ginnaty had the most comfortable scorecard of the day after Buckellew lost his lead. Ginnaty led by at least three holes at each of the reporting stations at five, the turn and hole No. 14.
No. 34 Pat Dietz had the upset of the day taking down No. 2 Lucas Johnson 1-up. No. 30 Alex Skarperud was right there with Dietz defeating No. 3 Erik Weiss 1-up.
The 2010 champion Todd Hillier stayed alive with an extra holes victory over No. 18 Jack Olson.
No. 26 Patrick Traynor ended No. 7 Will Czeh's chase for the trophy 2&1.
In other late matches, No. 4 Cody Cook (Bemidji State) advanced in extras over Marc Vincelli. No. 5 Bill Carlson defeated Greg Melhus 1-up and No. 12 Joe Christianson took down Austin Rene 1-up.
Saturday's matches begin at 7:18 a.m. Golfers who win play 36 holes each of the last two days of the tournament.
Pine to Palm (Round of 32) Click here for Saturday's matchups
ANDREW ISRAELSON (1) 3&1 MASON KENNEDY (33)
TANNER SCHNATHORST (16) 2&1 BLAKE KAHLBAUGH (17)
IAN SIMONICH (57) 1up JACK MICHEL (40)
ISAAC CIHAK (24) 2&1 RYAN AMES (9)
CODY COOK (4) 1-up MARC VINCELLI (36) extra holes
NATHAN GINNATY (13) 3&2 ADAM VAN RADEN (20)
BILL CARLSON (5) 1-up GREG MELHUS (28)
JOE CHRISTIANSON (12) 1-up AUSTIN RENE (21)
PAT DEITZ (34) 1-up LUCAS JOHNSON (2)
TODD HILLIER (50) 1-up JACK OLSON (18)
PATRICK TRAYNOR (26) 2&1 WILL CZEH (7)
NATE ADAMS (10) 4&3 TANNER LANE (42)
ALEX SKARPERUD (30) 1-up ERIK WEISS (3)
KEATON LAUSCH (19) 2&1 BEN BERGQUIST (51)
RICK KUHN (6) 1-up JUSTIN REDDING (27)
BRYANT BUCKELLEW (22) 1-up CADE MONTPLAISIR (11)