The first tee sits quietly ahead of the first matches of the Birchmont men's championship flight Wednesday at the Bemidji Town & Country Club.

THE BIRCHMONT: Close Finishes Abound In Opening Round Of Match Play

With a third straight day of excellent weather providing the backdrop, the 96th Birchmont wrapped up its opening day of match play with several thrilling contests in the championship flights on Wednesday at the Bemidji Town & Country Club.

Both seeding and past successes were no indicator of present outcomes in the men’s division, as several high qualifiers tumbled in the first round. Three matches also required extra holes to find a conclusion: Danny Menton (19 holes), Jacob Skarperud (21 holes), and Wyatt Blomseth (19 holes) all navigated their way into the round of 16 with bonus golf.

Defending champion Chris Swenson narrowly advanced out of the first round, edging Zach Israelson 1 up to set up a meeting with John Hafdal. Seth Badoloto was another 1 up winner, ousting the #4 qualifier in Toby Palmiscno. Lucas Johnson, two-time winner Johnny Larson, and Dylan Naylor also needed all 18 holes to secure victory in 1 up fashion, with Naylor’s a notable victory against third-seed Bob Brink of Bemidji.

Medalist Cody Cook secured a 2&1 victory over Matt Norby in the opening round, while two-time winner Andrew Israelson was a winner by the same margin over Joseph Welle. Another two-time winner found success as well, as Nick Schaefer topped Nate Longtin 4&3. Beck Erholtz, Jack Olson, Jay Gregory, and Mason Opheim completed the field playing in the round of 16 tomorrow, while all defeated golfers move into the men’s championship consolation.

The women’s division saw all of the higher seeds advance, led by defending champion Emily Israelson’s 4&3 victory over final qualifier Amber Koth. Morgan Hetletved needed a marathon 23-hole thriller to defeat Mary Harris, setting up a quarterfinal meeting with Israelson tomorrow. Detroit Lakes’ Madison Herzog rolled to a comfortable 7&6 victory over Maddy Sawyer, while Bemidji’s Abbie Kelm topped Haily Abel 5&4 to secure a match with Bemidji State rising senior Lauren Stockmoe. Rachel Hausauer, Lily Bredemeier, and Haley Tollette also picked up wins in the opening round.

Top qualifiers also faired well in the senior men’s division, led by last year’s winner Jeff Slupe (5&4) and medalist Rick Passolt (4&2). Bemidji’s Scott Hinners and Paul Daman both took victories in the opening round, while Alexandria’s Steve Herzog was the lone low seed to pull out a victory with a 3&2 win against 2015 senior champion Curt Howard.

Last year’s men’s executive winner saw his title defense end in the opening round, as Brad Anderson was defeated by Jason Urbaniak 4&3. Despite five Bemidji golfers reaching the championship flight, Bemidji State men’s golf coach Ekren Miller was the lone winner in the round of 16 with a 3&2 triumph against two-time executive winner Lee Hetletved. Medalist Steve Well advanced 4&3 over Mark Holden, and 2014 winner Derek Hasselberg rolled to a 7&6 win against Bemidji’s Ron Laituri.

In the masters, defending champion Doug Taylor booked a spot in the quarterfinals opposite Bemidji’s Bob Paine, while medalist Jim Kennelly was also able to advance among the winners.

The junior 13-17 division completed its quarterfinal on Wednesday, with top seed Rylin Petry advancing to face Markus Nelson, and Grant Gardner and Luke Thompson both winning to make up the other semifinal. In the junior 12U division, Logan Motzko and Bemidji’s Beckett Grand advanced into one semifinal match while Preston Miller and Miles Kennelly also won to set up the other.

Thursday champ flight tee times will begin with the junior 13-17 division semifinals at 8:10am, followed by the men’s executive quarterfinals at 8:50 and the masters at 9:10. The men’s championship round of 16 will tee off at 12:15pm, with the women’s quarterfinals at 12:55, the seniors at 1:45, and the junior 10-12 1st flight semifinals in the early evening at 5:45.

Men’s Championship

#1 Chris Swenson 1up over #32 Zach Israelson

#16 John Hafdal 3&1 over #17 Zach Hinschberger

#8 Nick Schaefer 4&3 over #25 Nate Longtin

#24 Beck Erholtz 5&3 over #9 Sam Skaar

#29 Seth Badoloto 1up over #4 Toby Palmiscno

#13 Danny Menton 19 holes over #20 Brennan Hockman

#28 Jacob Skarperud 21 holes over #5 Chris Curb

#12 Andrew Israelson 2&1 over #21 Joseph Welle

#2 Cody Cook 2&1 over #31 Matt Norby

#18 Lucas Johnson 1up over #15 Ben Corbid

#26 Johnny Larson 1up over #7 Nate Deziel

#10 Jack Olson 3&1 over #23 Josh Bergrud

#30 Dylan Naylor 1up over #3 Bob Brink

#14 Jay Gregory 3&2 over #19 Jack Southard

#6 Mason Opheim 2&1 over #27 Alex Skarperud

#22 Wyatt Blomseth 19 holes over #11 Matt Haugstad

Women’s Championship

Emily Israelson 4&3 over Amber Koth

Morgan Hetletved 23 holes over Mary Harris

Rachel Hausauer 5&3 over Kalley Wagner

Lily Bredemeier 3&2 over Taylor Offerdahl

Madison Herzog 7&6 over Maddy Sawyer

Haley Tollette 3&2 over Jovie Ordal

Abbie Kelm 5&4 over Haily Abel

Lauren Stockmoe 5&3 over Carrie Lundgren

Men’s Executive Championship

Jason Urbaniak 4&3 over Brad Anderson

Derrick Johnson 2up over Ben Jurgens

Ekren Miller 3&2 over Lee Hetletved

Joe McKean 6&4 over Travis Kohlrusch

Steve Well 4&3 over Mark Hylden

Mike Fore 3&1 over Mitch Deere

Derek Hasselberg 7&6 over Ron Laituri

Nathan Brewinski 1up over Chris Hennum

Men’s Senior Championship

Jeff Slupe 5&4 over Mike Herzog

Paul Daman 3&2 over Russ Moen

Paul Court 3&2 over Rick Vanyo

Steve Herzog 3&2 over Curt Howard

Rick Passolt 4&2 over Steve Lee

H.C. Tran 5&4 over Bob Bye

Scott Hinners over Bruce Nord

Mark Lindberg 1up over Roger Dibble

Masters Championship

Doug Taylor over Steve Fogelson

Bob Paine over Mike Duea

Mark Noga over Bob Ostlund

Jack Seiberlich over Bruce Pederson

Jim Kennelly over Ken Reisberg

Jeff Tweeton over Paul Welle

John Hagge over Glen Hasselberg

Wayne Caughey over Jeff Nelson

Junior 13-17 Championship

Rylin Petry 3&2 over Nick Yavarow

Markus Nelson 1up over Tony Carlin

Grand Gardner 4&3 over Carson Skarperud

Luke Thompson 5&4 over Zach Lafromboise

Junior 12U 1st Flight

Logan Motzko over Cal Barnes

Beckett Grand over Gavin Rude

Preston Miller over Jackson Schumacher

Miles Kennelly over Graham Fish