BEMIDJI -- After all of the upsets to open match play in the men’s championship at the Birchmont Golf Tournament, two tournament favorites remain in the hunt after a tamer round of 16 Thursday at the Bemidji Town and Country Club.
Two-time champion Andrew Israelson and top qualifier Cody Cook moved on to Friday’s quarterfinals with wins of 2-up and 5-and-4, respectively.
Israelson and Cook were the top favorites of the 211 prognosticators who are taking part in the pick ‘em contest on the tournament’s website.
Twenty-two different golfers were picked to win the men’s crown, with seven picked by 10 or more people to rank them among the most popular. Israelson (65 votes) and Cook (28) are the only players in that group still standing.
The six remaining quarterfinalists -- Danny Menton (4 votes), Johnny Larson (3), Jay Gregory (3), Mason Opheim (2), John Hafdal (1) and Beck Erholtz (0) -- were the favored picks of just 13 fans.
Larson remains in contention for his third men’s title to go along with 2007 and 2011 wins. He picked up a 3-and-2 victory Thursday to advance.
Defending champion Chris Swenson didn’t fare as well, falling to Hafdal to end his hopes of a repeat. Nick Schaefer’s shot at a third title ended with a 1-up loss to Erholtz. Bemidji golfer Gregory punched his ticket to the quarterfinals with a 1-up victory.
The men’s championship continues Friday beginning at 12:15 p.m.
The top three women’s-championship qualifiers continued to ease their way through the bracket. Reigning winner Emily Israelson (6-and-5), plus low qualifiers Abbie Kelm (6-and-5) and Maddie Herzog (5-and-4) each won handily.
Lily Bredmemeier, meanwhile, needed all 18 holes to secure a 1-up win over Rachel Hausauer and advance to Friday’s semifinals.
The women’s semifinals will tee off at 9:10 a.m. Friday.
The semifinalists in the executive men’s championship are Derrick Johnson, Joe McKean, Mike Fore and Derek Hasselberg. Hasselberg, the 2014 winner, is in search of his second executive title.
The executive championship semifinals are set for 8:40 a.m. Friday.
Jeff Slupe still has his sights set on repeating as senior men’s champion after surviving Thursday’s quarterfinals. He’ll be joined in the final four by Paul Court, Rick Passolt and Mark Lindberg.
The senior semifinals are scheduled to tee off at 12:35 p.m. Friday.
Doug Taylor remains in contention as he seeks a second consecutive masters division crown. Mark Noga, Jeff Tweeton and Wayne Caughey also advanced to the semifinals, which are set for 1:45 p.m. Friday.
The championship final is set in the junior U17 division where Rylin Petry will meet Luke Thompson on Saturday.
In the junior U12 division, Logan Motzko and Preston Miller advanced to the first flight final, while Kyler Bydal and Jack Lundgren progressed to the second flight final.
For a schedule and full results, visit thebirchmont.com.