Michigan Amateur: Weather forces Round 2 suspension

HARBOR SPRINGS, Mich. (June 22, 2011) -- The youngest competitor in the 100th Michigan Amateur, Brandon Barrows (Lake Orion), looks as if he will be in a playoff tomorrow morning to determine the 64 match play field.

Barrows’ putter was uncharacteristically cold in the first round (81) and he went to an indoor putt-putt facility to practice his short game. A little unorthodox to be sure, but thunderstorms made the practice green impractical so he headed for the Petoskey putt-putt course. Apparently, the odd practice round did the trick.

“I would say it definitely worked for me,” said Barrows. “My putting was the difference today.”

Barrows picked up his game as his round went on and ended with a strong back nine.

“I hit a lot of good shots today and that really helped me,” said Barrows. “I knew I needed to go under par on the back nine and I did.”

Once again, Mother Nature wreaked havoc with the tournament schedule with thunderstorms causing an hour and 20 minute rain delay in the afternoon.

Matt Thompson (Battle Creek) will be in contention for medalist honors after shooting 71-69—140. The rain delay came as he was walking off the fourth green and the rest seemed to help his game. He notched four birdies on the back nine for a total of five birdies on the day.

“I was one over at the turn,” said Thompson. “I made a couple of long putts on the back nine including a 35-footer on 14.”

Thompson has played in the Michigan Amateur for the past three years and lost in the final to Tom Werkmeister (Kentwood) at Spring Meadows in 2009. At the start of the tournament, Thompson’s goal was just to make it to match play but after shooting a one-under-par 71 in the first round of stroke play he raised the bar.

“After seeing what I shot in the first round I had to set a different goal and keep myself motivated,” said Thompson. “So I went out today with the goal of being the medalist.”

Defending champion Joey Garber (Petoskey) finished with a 70 for the day – one stroke better than his first round but not enough to beat his University of Michigan teammate Thompson. Garber played well but was disappointed not to shoot in the 60s and grab medalist honors. Werkmeister came back with a 69 after starting with a 79 on Tuesday.

Play was suspended at 9:10 p.m. due to darkness with nine golfers still on the course so a medalist won’t be named until Thursday morning.

Francesco Ruffino (Bloomfield Hills) and Eric Lilleboe (Okemos) both shot under-par in the morning round. Lilleboe had a 4-under-par 68 while Ruffino came in with a 69.

“I just like the rain,” said Ruffino, who shot an 82 in the first round of stroke play. “I just don’t think about it at all when I’m out there. The way I look at it, it’s just a little bit of water so it’s nothing to worry about.”

Lilleboe said the rain and wind were tough to battle in the early going but once the rain slowed and the winds calmed he hardly noticed Mother Nature.

“When we were driving off the first tee it was really windy and it was raining pretty good,” said Lilleboe. “But after the fourth hole, the wind died down and the golf course became very scorable. So I saw it being a good day early.”

Lilleboe finishes stroke play 74-68—142; Ruffino finishes 82-69—151. Both are expected to make the cut and advance to match play. Match play will begin Thursday after the conclusion of stroke play. The concluding rounds of stroke play are set to begin at 7:30 a.m.

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