Brandon’s Pete LePage eliminated men’s medallist Rob Hall 2 and 1 Tuesday at the Tamarack. (COLIN CORNEAU/BRANDON SUN)
Onanole’s Kody Fawcett took out Dauphin’s Regan Hedley in the men’s quarter-finals on Tuesday. (COLIN CORNEAU/BRANDON SUN)
WASAGAMING — For the second straight year, the top seed in the men’s championship flight at the Tamarack golf tournament fell in the first round of match play.
Brandonite Rob Hall couldn’t get his putter going on Tuesday at the Clear Lake Golf Course and lost 2 and 1 to 16th seed Pete LePage to drop to the consolation side of the draw in the 80th annual event.
"It is (disappointing) for sure," Hall said. "I was looking forward to the matches and when you’re playing well and everything is kind of clicking, you want to keep it going and see how far you can get.
"The end goal is to win this thing. When you lose early, the dream's dead, but it’s golf. It’s Tamarack and it’s fun. It’s disappointing, but not the end of the world."
Hall was on fire during the qualifying round, shooting 66 and 69, but he was in a battle with LePage all day long. Neither golfer managed to take a commanding lead, with LePage holding a one-hole advantage after 13.
Hall had chances to birdie and even the match on the 14th and 15th, but he couldn’t get his putts to fall. LePage won the 16th hole and made a great recovery from a poor tee shot on 17 to halve the hole and end the match.
"Today he didn’t get the breaks and I did," LePage said. "… Robbie is generally a really good putter and today they just weren’t falling for him.
"I made some key six-, seven-footers to stay with him the whole time, so it was actually a really tight match. We halved most of the holes for sure and I got lucky. I tried to keep it in play and was fortunate enough to do that. I made a couple of putts."
There seems to be a curse surrounding the men’s medallist as only one of the past seven top seeds have gone on to win the championship flight. Four-time men’s champion Jared Jacobson of Brandon was the last to accomplish that feat, in 2010.
The last two, however, haven’t even made the quarter-finals.
Neither LePage nor Hall are sure why the medallists have struggled recently, but Hall isn’t building a good track record as a medallist.
"This is second time I’ve gone out in the first round after being medallist," he said. "That’s golf, right? The weekend it seemed like such an easy game, but today it was just a grind. I hit it OK, but I could not make a putt. You have to give credit to my opponent, he made a couple good five-, 10-footers when he had to."
LePage wasn’t the only one to pull off a major upset on Tuesday. Jacobson struggled all day, dropping four of his first seven holes and the four-time champion eventually lost 7 and 6 to fellow Wheat City native Greg Clemmensen.
Brandon’s Grant Coulter, meanwhile, got lucky as he blew a three-hole lead in the final six holes to Brandonite David Glenn, but Glenn three-putted the second playoff hole to lose the match.
Coulter will take on Jay Thiesen of Russell in Thursday’s quarter-finals, while Clemmensen will battle Brandonite Jarod Crane and second seed Tyler Rice of Winnipeg will face Jeff Sawchuk of Brandon.
LePage, meanwhile, faces a matchup with Onanole’s Kody Fawcett, who beat Dauphinite Regan Hedley 2 up, in Thursday’s quarter-finals.
Despite pulling off a major upset during the first day of match play, LePage doesn’t want to get too far ahead of himself as he knows there will be tough matches the rest of the way.
"I’d have to say that (seeds) 16 through five, the scores were pretty tight," he said.
"The last four guys in the flight shot the same score, 145, that I did to qualify. They’re good players. If their games are on, anybody in the flight can win."
The Tamarack continues today with the women’s, junior girls’ and senior men’s events. Also taking to the course will be the bottom four flights of the men’s competition and last three flights of junior boys’ action.
The senior men’s championship flight tees off at 8:48 and 8:57 a.m., followed by the junior girls at 12:30 p.m., and the women at 2:18 and 2:27 p.m.
Republished from the Brandon Sun print edition August 21, 2013