RANCHO BERNARDO, Calif. (March 30, 2012) -- The 2012 San Diego County Match Play Championship got underway early on Friday morning with each match going out on its own in twosomes from 6:50AM-8AM. Pace of play was great and the greens pure which made for some very good scoring conditions.
16-seed Pat Duncan, arguably the greatest amateur to ever live in San Diego, got underway early against 17-seed Phil Walker of Rancho Santa Fe. Both players did not have their best stuff on Friday, but Walker made three birdies in a 7-hole stretch starting on the 9th hole to win the match, 5 and 3. Walker’s task does not get any easier heading into Saturday, as he faces another Duncan, this one being the defending champion and #1 seed.
In perhaps the biggest upset in the round of 32, #25 seed Scott Stratton of Rancho Santa Fe was never down in the match, defeating the #8 seed Ryan Furey of San Diego, 2 and 1. Furey had battled it back to even after a nice birdie on #12, but Stratton birdied the very next hole to take a 1-up lead that he would never give back.
Another upset of sorts happened in the very next match, with 9-seeded Tom Isaak of San Diego going head-to-head with 24-seed Pete Wlodkowski of Carlsbad. The match was even heading into #7 and Wlodkowski kicked it into overdrive, making birdies on 7, 8, and 9 to build a strong 3-up lead. A lost ball for Isaak on #10 got the match to 4-up for Wlodkowski who would cruise to the victory on the back nine, 3 and 2.
13-seed Jeff Hunter of Rancho Santa Fe never trailed in his match in spite of not making a birdie until the 10th hole. Hunter would birdie 10 and 12 to defeat Ryan Flanders, 3 and 2. Hunter will take on #4 seed Spencer Thurn, who had a bye in the opening round of 32.
5-seed and a semifinalist a year ago, Bill Brammer of Rancho Santa Fe got off to a horrible start, losing the opening hole to John Fieberg with a triple-bogey 7. Brammer would right the ship, however, and build a 3-up lead after nine holes of play. Fieberg, who plays out of San Diego Country Club (host course for this year’s Century Club Matches), was scrappy on the back nine and made a charge, but fell just short, losing to Brammer 2 and 1.
John Kollus (12 seed) and Bill Borden (21 seed) was the first match to see the 18th hole on Friday morning. After Kollus had built a 2-up lead after 11 holes, Borden got back into the match and pulled to even heading into the final hole of the day. A pushed tee shot and bad bounce would cost Borden, who would go on to bogey the 18th hole with Kollus winning the match, 1-up.
Two players from Chula Vista, 15-seed Dallas Field and 18-seed Akash Patel faced off on Friday. Patel, who was 1-down before even hitting a tee-shot for being late to the tee, found himself 4-down after six holes of play. Down and not out, Patel made a ferocious comeback winning the 7th, 8th, 10th, 11th, and 12th holes to go from 4-down to 1-up. That score remained as the players headed to 18, with Field having a 10-footer for birdie to extend the match. The putt just slid by the edge of the hole, Patel winning 1-up.
7-seed Scott Stevens of Encinitas and 26-seed Adam Reyes have some history in this tournament. In the round of 16 (in 2010), Stevens was dormie, 4-up with four holes to play against Reyes. One of the best performances in this event’s history, Reyes would finish birdie, par, birdie, eagle to send the match to extra holes and win the match in 19-holes thanks to another birdie. Fast forward to 2012, Reyes would build an early 2-up lead that would diminish to all square after 12-holes of play. Stevens made par on holes 15-17 while Reyes made bogey on each of them, with the match finishing on the 17th hole and a 2 and 1 victory for Stevens.
In another upset on day 1, 23-seed Cory Gladstone faced off against 10-seed Brad Larsen of Oceanside. Gladstone would never trail in the match, making four birdies to win, 2 and 1.
The heavyweight match of the opening round had to be 14-seed and 2010 Champion Jimmy Harris versus 19-seed Pete Roberts of San Marcos. Roberts would birdie both par fives on the opening nine and head into the back 3-up over Harris. Harris, who was 4-down after 12-holes of play, would claw back into the match winning the 13th, 14th, and 15th holes. Harris had the opportunity to birdie the last hole of the day to extend the match, but it narrowly missed allowing Roberts to two-putt from ten feet to win the match, 1-up. The road does not get any easier, as Pete squares off against fellow Taylor-Made employee Joe Ryon in the round of 16.
6-seed Mark Stuart had little trouble getting past 27-seed Jason Matteson on Friday. Stuart would build an early lead and never get down in the match, winning on the 13th hole, 6 and 5. Matteson, who has improved tremendously the past few years, should take some good experience away and look for him to win a match or two in 2013.
Some of the best golf was seen in the final match of Friday, with 11-seed Cavin McCall of El Cajon pitted against 22-seed Stacey Morimoto of Rancho Santa Fe. Morimoto birdied both par fives on the front, and the match was all square heading to the final nine. McCall and Morimoto matched each other with pars on 12, 13, 14, and 15. A bogey on the 16th hole saw Morimoto go 2-down. The match would end on seventeen, McCall winning 2 and 1.
Round of 16
6:40 (1) Buddy Duncan VS (17) Phil Walker
6:40 (25) Scott Stratton VS (24) Pete Wlodkowski
6:48 (4) Spencer Thurn VS (13) Jeff Hunter
6:48 (5) Bill Brammer VS (12) John Kollus
6:56 (2) Gary Robinson VS (18) Akash Patel
6:56 (7) Scott Stevens VS (23) Cory Gladstone
7:04 (3) Joe Ryon VS (19) Pete Roberts
7:04 (6) Mark Stuart VS (11) Cavin McCall
View results for San Diego County Match Play Golf Championship