2012 senior men’s champion Paul Solon was eliminated in the quarter-finals. (TIM SMITH/BRANDON SUN)
WASAGAMING — The senior men’s heavyweight match at the 80th annual Tamarack golf tournament Wednesday more closely resembled a Shakespearean play.
Both medallist Keith Fawcett and defending champion Paul Solon struggled throughout their quarter-final, turning their showcase match into a Comedy of Errors. Fawcett eventually came out on top in an extra hole.
"I think we both probably shot around 80,"said Fawcett, who’s from Onanole. "We had quite a few three-putts and it was kind of like a comedy of errors. We kept giving each other holes that we should have never given away. We were both doing it, so it ended up being a very tight much, but it wasn’t the way match play was supposed to be."
The end of the match, however, turned into pure drama at the Clear Lake Golf Course.
Fawcett, a two-time senior men’s Tamarack champion, held a two-hole lead going into the 16th hole, but that’s when Solon found his game. The Brandonite almost aced the 16th, but had to settle for an eagle, to close the gap.
The pair halved the 17th sending them to 18 where Solon squared the match by making a five-foot putt, while Fawcett missed his two-footer.
On the extra hole, Solon drove his tee shot just short of the green, while Fawcett used his three-wood for the first time and hit the green on the par-4 eighth. He two-putted to secure the victory.
Despite making a late charge, Solon was disappointed he dropped to the consolation side of the championship flight and blamed his putting for the loss.
"I just couldn’t read these greens and didn’t know them," he said. "Next year I think I have to come up here a week before and do a little practising. They’re just hard to read. I was light and then when you’re long you’ve got a four or six-footer coming back. It was the greens, definitely."
Fawcett advances to face fourth-seed Robert Desroches, from Lac du Bonnet, in Friday’s semifinals.
Desroches was 4 up heading into 14, but dropped the next four holes to Winnipeg’s Jack Zacharias to be all square heading to 18. Desroches — who got a lucky break when his bunker shot on 13 bounced off a tree and ended up on the green, allowing him to take the hole — won on the 18th to take the match 1 up.
Selkirk’s Mark Starodub will meet Melita’s Gene Banks in the other semifinal. Starodub, the second seed, beat last year’s runner-up Ken Hoy of Brandon 5 and 4, while sixth-seeded Banks upset Calgary’s Jim George 4 and 3.
The semifinal group tees off Friday at 9:06 a.m.
Although Fawcett knocked off last year’s champion and medallist in their quarter-final, he doesn’t want to look too far ahead.
"There’s lots of good players," Fawcett said. "Like I say, Mark’s a good player, Bob’s a good player. I just have to take it one match at a time and hope to get through to the next one."
The Tamarack continues today with the junior boys playing in their semifinals as well as matches for all but the last two of the men’s flights. The junior boys’ championship flight tees off at 7 a.m. The men’s championship flight quarter-finals will begin at 12:30 and 12:39 p.m.
CHIP SHOT: Brandonite Frank Gudz couldn’t get a break on Wednesday. Gudz hit his tee shot on the 12th hole into a tree and conceded the hole when he learned it was stuck in a branch. Shortly after conceding, a gust of wind blew the ball out of the branches and into play, but it was too late. Gudz ended up losing his third-flight senior men’s match 2 and 1 to Onanole’s Dan Sutherland.
Republished from the Brandon Sun print edition August 22, 2013