WASAGAMING — Either the defending men’s champion or the top seed will not make the semifinals of the 81st annual Tamarack tournament at the Clear Lake Golf Course.
Brandon’s Jarod Crane, who won the eight-day event last year, and this year’s medallist Jared Jacobson both needed to play the 18th hole to win their opening-round matches on Tuesday, but the duo came through and will go head-to-head in Thursday’s quarter-finals.
Jacobson, who shot a two-round total of 141 in qualifying, had a four-hole lead on fellow Brandonite Grant Coulter, but Coulter came back to get all square after 17. However, he missed a five-foot putt to force a playoff hole, giving Jacobson the 1 up victory.
Crane, meanwhile, was down a pair of holes after 12 but tied it up after 14 and went on to a 2 up win over Winnipeg’s Charles Blackbird.
"It was a tough round and Charlie’s a great player," Crane said. "He beat me two years ago and we were both so-so. I was not putting well on the front side and essentially put myself back against the wall.
"Things turned around on 13 and 14, going back-to-back birdies. That got me back to even and once I got back to even I figured if I can finish up with a couple birdies then I’ll be in good shape. I think I only had one more birdie coming in, but it was enough anyway."
Blackbird’s approach shot on the 18th hole went long, while Crane hit the green, and Blackbird couldn’t recover to win the hole and force a playoff.
Thursday’s quarter-final should be very tight. Crane and Jacobsen have combined to win three of the last four titles and they are familiar with the course and each other.
"I just said to Jared it would be nice if we played on Saturday instead of Thursday," Crane said. "He’ll be a tough challenger for sure and I see that match going the distance. It might go extra holes. It will be tough."
Meanwhile, fourth seed Greg Clemmensen had the longest round in the championship flight, needing a playoff hole to beat fellow Brandonite Nolan Tutkaluk.
Both ended up in the bunker on the playoff, but Clemmensen sunk his putt to earn the win.
Clemmensen is relieved to get through, since he didn’t play well and felt the tee shots on the playoff hole summarized his and Tutkaluk’s day.
"That’s exactly what I said to him on the tee," said Clemmensen, who plays about 70 rounds every year at Clear Lake. "It’s no surprise that we’re both in that bunker because we followed each other all day. I sunk a few putts today and maybe had a slight advantage of playing here so much and knowing the greens just a little bit better."
Clemmensen will meet Russell’s Jay Thiesen in the quarter-finals. Jason Thorpe and Dale Coulter will meet in a battle of Brandonites in another quarter-final, while former Brandonite Kevin Pratt of Toronto will face Brandon’s Rod Klassen in the final pairing. Klassen beat Brandonite Trent Turner 4 and 3 in a match that turned out to be bittersweet for Turner.
Turner aced the 138-yard, par-3 12th hole to record the first hole-in-one of his life, but he was disappointed to drop into the consolation side of the draw.
"I got my first hole-in-one today and I was pretty excited about it," said Turner, who won two holes in the match, eagling both. "It was a tough match today and that’s pretty much what it took to win a hole. That being said, it’s been a good experience so far in this flight."
The Tamarack continues today with the senior men’s and junior men’s quarter-finals in the morning and the women and junior women teeing off in the afternoon. The bottom four men’s flights also tee off today.
CHIP SHOT: Turner’s ace was the third in the men’s competition. Tom Hyde of Portage la Prairie aced the 165-yard, par-3 sixth hole in qualifying play Saturday, while Bill Key of Brandon had a hole-in-one on the 12th on Sunday.