THE BIRCHMONT: Familiar Meetings Set The Stage For Championship Saturday Matches

Rematches, college teammate duels, and even a father-son match helped bring the 97th Birchmont into its final day of play as match play continued Thursday and Friday from the Bemidji Town & Country Club.

Last year’s men’s division finalists battled again on Thursday in the round of 16, with Danny Menton avenging last year’s loss to champion Johnny Larson with a thrilling 20-hole victory. In a different kind of match of familiarity, it was son Jacob Skarperud who got the best of father Chad with a 5&4 triumph on the same side of the bracket.

North Dakota State teammates Nate Adams and Nate Deziel met in another round of 16 match, as Adams progressed 5&4. 2019 winner Chris Swenson and Jay Gregory both advanced with extra-hole wins, with two-time winners Nick Schaefer and Andrew Israelson along with Jim Foss all progressing as well.

In Friday’s quarterfinals, Israelson ousted Menton 5&4 to set up a Saturday morning matchup with Foss, who edged Jacob Skarperud 2&1. It will be their third matchup since 2016, as Israelson defeated Foss in back-to-back men’s championship finals.

2020 BTCC club men’s champion Gregory continued his outstanding run with a 2 up win over Swenson, while Adams defeated Schaefer 4&3 to punch his ticket to the semifinals tomorrow morning at 8:10am.

Thursday victories for Emily Israelson and Madison Herzog meant another rematch from last year’s championship in the women’s division. Despite trailing almost the entirety of the front nine, the four-time champion Israelson won four consecutive holes from #10 through #13 on her way to a 2&1 win that featured far less suspense than the extra-holes title victory of a year ago.

University of North Dakota teammates and classmates dueled in the other semifinal, with Morgan Hetletved topping Bemidji’s own Abbie Kelm 4&3 to earn her shot at Israelson tomorrow afternoon at 1pm.

The 2020 champion and this year’s medalist of the men’s executive division will go head-to-head for the title tomorrow after each navigated close matches. Defending winner Joe McKean pulled past Nick Bergan 2&1 in the quarterfinals, then needed all 18 holes to get past Mike Fore in the semifinals 1 up.

On the opposite side, medalist Troy Johnson won 2&1 against Mark Hylden and finished with a flourish to win 4&2 over Joe Burgess. Johnson and McKean will meet for the title on Saturday at 12:45pm.

A local golfer will contest the men’s senior final against this year’s low-scoring medalist. Bemidji’s Paul Daman held off Rick Vanyo 3&2 in the quarterfinal Thursday and made it to the championship with a 3&2 victory to oust last year’s winner Paul Court. Daman will meet medalist Mark Lindberg, who continued his dominant march through the field by winning 4&3 against Scott Hinners and 7&6 over Todd Schaefer in the semifinal. The final will tee off at 12:30pm.

Jeff Tweeton will defend his masters division title following a 6&5 quarterfinal win over Bob Paine and a 3&2 semifinal ousting of David Lee. On the other end, Jack Seiberlich held off medalist Mike Antonovich with a 20-hole classic in the semifinals to advance into the 12:15pm final on Saturday.

The junior 17U division final will be contested starting at noon, featuring a Bemidji-St. Louis Park match created by two of the sort in the semifinals. Bemidji’s Nick Yavarow bested Landon Miller 4&2, with St. Louis Park’s Luke Thompson topping Ryan Daman 3&2 to set up tomorrow’s match.

The final of the junior 12u division was scheduled for Friday evening after Logan Motzko edged Jackson Fogelson 1 up and Bemidji’s Beckett Grand got past Ryder Rivard by the same outcome. However, no result of their match has been posted at this time.

Saturday’s men’s championship will be broadcasted live on KBUN-FM 104.5 and beginning at approximately 1pm.