2011 Men's Championship combatants square off today in second round
BEMIDJI - Last summer in the Men's Championship title match Johnny Larson of Springfield defeated Matt Skarperud of Omaha 2 up to capture his second Birchmont.
In today's second round the pair will stage a rematch of that battle as Larson downed Sam Shafer of Brooklyn Park 3 and 2 and Matt Skarperud escaped Zach Israelson 1 up in 19 holes during Wednesday's action.
The rematch will begin at 12:42 p.m. and joining them in the group will be Collin Lervick of Chashassen and Daniel Cavanagh of Perham. Lervick eliminated Tim Fiechtner of Fargo 3 and 2 Wednesday while Cavanagh bounced Jeff Wiltse of Bemidji 5 and 4.
Another intriguing second-round match-up today pits Bob Brink of Bemidji against Tom Jenkins of Plymouth. Brink has not participated in the Birchmont since winning the title in 2004. Jenkins claimed the crown in 2009 and was eliminated in 20 holes by Brink in the semifinals of the 2004 tournament.
The pair will lock horns at 12:15 p.m. Also featured in the group will be a match between medalist Josh Bergrud of Grand Forks and Michael Strain of Motley. In Wednesday's play Bergrud thumped Dave Grand of St. Cloud 5 and 3 while Strain defeated Michael Sloinski of Grand Forks 4 and 3.
Wednesday's other winners included Tim Skarperud of Grand Forks, Toby Palmiscno of Bemidji, Bill Carlson of Fargo, Duane Wages of Grand Forks, Sam Matthew of Roseville, Chris Curb of Bemidji, Jack Elliot of Fargo and Luke Sheetz of Grand Rapids.
"Bob and I are going to have a fun match," Jenkins predicted. "Whenever I play against a good friend like Bob I try to treat it like another match in terms of giving putts. There will be a comfort level in the match because we are good friends but if we are tied going into No. 17 I think that comfort level will disappear.
"I'm sure we are going to be friendly on the course but the bottom line is we are both here to win the tournament. And we both know what it takes to win the Birchmont," Jenkins added.
Wednesday against Musich steady golf was all Jenkins needed to advance.
"It was a good match but I didn't have to do anything special," Jenkins said. "Brett didn't play his best and I stayed in the match by making a bunch of pars."
That formula probably won't work today.
"I'm going to have to play better against Bob than I did on Wednesday," Jenkins said. "Bob is not going to make many mistakes. Average golf may get me to the 16th hole but it won't take me any further."
Based on the qualifying scores, Brink's win over Logan Palmer was one of three first-round upsets. Another was Palmiscno's 3 and 2 victory over Jake Sanders of Crookston. Sanders qualified at 144 while Palminsco shot 151.
"It was an even match with many pars and many halves of the holes," Palmiscno, who faces Tim Skarperud in today's round, said. "Neither of us was up more than two holes until the very end."
The 13th hole proved to be the turning point in Palminscno's victory. Sanders had trimmed his deficit to one hole after winning No. 12 with a par and after the drive on No. 13 seemed in position to win another. Sanders, however, went past the green with his approach and had to settle for a bogey. Palminscno was able to scratch out a par and his lead was back to two holes.
"It's always nice to win that first match," Palmiscno said. "If you want to make it to Saturday you have to be prepared for a marathon. If you go out and make pars you are going to do well but at some point you are going to need a round of a couple under par to win."