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Matthew Gregg

Gregg, Johnson lead Bemidji qualifiers in Junior division

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BEMIDJI -- Matthew Gregg of Bemidji shot the lone round in the 70s during Monday's Junior Championship division qualifying at the Bemidji Town and Country Club and he will take the favorite's role into the match-play portion of the tournament which begins Wednesday.

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Placing second in the qualifying was Brady Wright of International Falls (81) while Kyle Thompson of East Grand Forks was third (82).

Jack Johnson of Bemidji and Gavin Loscheider of Grand Forks tied for fourth with 83s.

Gregg will open his match-play against Bauer Brown of East Grand Forks who claimed the 16th and final match-play spot with a 92.

Johnson will tangle with Keaton Wolf of Grand Forks who qualified with an 89.

Also reaching the match-play tournament is Alex Barrett of Red Lake who shot 84 Monday. He will open against Austin Jensen of Grand Forks who carded an 87.

Gregg will be a sophomore at Bemidji High School this fall and is a member of the Bemidji High School golf team.

"Bemidji is my home course and I have learned that the secret to playing this course is to find the fairway, especially on the back nine," Gregg said. "I'm happy with the 79. If I play the rest of the week as well as I did today I should be in the championship hunt."

Gregg's card on Monday featured six bogeys, a double-bogey and birdies on No. 6, No. 9 and No. 15.

"On the back side I struggled a bit off the tee but I usually was able to recover because I putted well," Gregg said.

Last week Johnson shot an even-par 72 but he admits that he was lucky during that round.

"I chipped in twice," Johnson, who will be a sophomore at BHS this fall, said. "You can't plan on that happening very often."

Johnson admitted that it was difficult to choose the right club Monday because of the strong north wind.

"At times it was a two-club wind," he said. "Mentally you have to try and play every shot based on the wind and physically you have to use a different club. On some of the shorter par-4s you couldn't hit the driver.

"But on this course distance isn't as important as placement," Johnson added.

Johnson was happy with Monday's 83 and is eager to begin match-play.

"My goal is to try and win the tournament. Isn't that everyone's goal?" he said. "I'm pretty excited to see what happens the rest of the week."

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Pat Miller is the sports editor at the Pioneer.

(218) 333-9200
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