A view of the 18th green and its decorated slope during Thursday's Birchmont match play rounds at the Bemidji Town & Country Club.

THE BIRCHMONT: New And Familiar Names Find Success As Match Play Moves Toward Weekend

Day two of match play at The Birchmont provided more surprises on Thursday at the Bemidji Town & Country Club, as several newer names advanced further in the championship brackets alongside many familiar ones.

In the men’s championship, Prior Lake’s John Hafdal–a Bemidji State alum who had last played The Birchmont in 2014–ousted defending champion and current Beaver golfer Chris Swenson in their round of 16 match. That result sets up a match tomorrow afternoon with Staples’ Beck Erholtz, who edged two-time winner Nick Schaefer 1up for his first quarterfinal appearance in the men’s top flight.

Danny Menton–another former Beaver–followed up his extra-hole victory on Wednesday with a 5&4 win against Seth Badoloto, while 2016 and ’17 winner Andrew Israelson continued his latest march through the bracket with a 2 up triumph over Jacob Skarperud. Medalist Cody Cook and two-time winner Johnny Larson each won to secure their own Friday bout, while Bemidji’s Jay Gregory and Fargo’s Mason Opheim–each playing in their first Birchmont–also advanced to the quarterfinals.

Results in the women’s championship set up a pair of intriguing semifinals for Friday. Emily Israelson’s quest for a repeat continued with a 6&5 win against Morgan Hetletved, while Lily Bredemeier got past Rachel Hausauer 1up to move on. After each shot a round of 74 in qualifying on Tuesday for co-medalist honors, Madison Herzog (5&4) and Abbie Kelm (6&5) each rolled through the quarterfinals and will now meet tomorrow afternoon.

The men’s executive is also down to just four golfers, with Grand Forks’ Derrick Johnson (1up over Jason Urbaniak) and Farmington’s Joe McKean (2&1 over Bemidji’s Ekren Miller) comprising one side of the semifinal bracket. Mike Fore took a 1up win over Steve Well to set up a match with 2014 executive winner Derek Hasselberg, who needed 20 holes to advance past Nathan Brewinski.

Last year’s winner of the senior championship secured another victory in match play on Wednesday, as Jeff Slupe topped Bemidji’s Paul Daman 3&2 to earn a semifinal against Paul Court–a 19 hole winner over Steve Herzog. Medalist Rick Passolt got past H.C. Tran 1up and will now face Mark Lindberg, who won 3&2 against Bemidji’s Scott Hinners.

The masters championship semifinal field was confirmed on Thursday, with defending champion Doug Taylor notching a 2&1 win against Bemidji’s Bob Paine in the quarterfinals. He will now face Mark Noga, who won 2&1 against Jack Seiberlich. In the other semifinal, Jeff Tweeton (1 up) and Wayne Caughey (5&4) will square off after victories today.

Both junior divisions settled their semifinals on Thursday. In the 13-17 field, Rylin Petry won 4&3 against Markus Nelson, while Luke Thompson picked up a 7&5 win over Grant Gardner. In the 12U matches, Logan Motzko got past Bemidji’s Beckett Grand 3&2, and Preston Miller edged Miles Kennelly 2up.

The executive championship semifinals will tee off together from the first tee at 8:40am on Friday, with the women’s semifinals following at 9:10. The men’s championship quarterfinals will start the afternoon wave at 12:15pm, followed by the senior men’s semifinals at 12:35, the masters semifinals at 1:45, and the junior 10-12 championship in the late afternoon at 5:45.

Men’s Championship

John Hafdal over Chris Swenson

Beck Erholtz 1up over Nick Schaefer

Danny Menton 5&4 over Seth Badoloto

Andrew Israelson 2up over Jacob Skarperud

Cody Cook 5&4 over Lucas Johnson

Johnny Larson 3&2 over Jack Olson

Jay Gregory 1up over Dylan Naylor

Mason Opheim 4&3 over Wyatt Blomseth

Women’s Championship

Emily Israelson 6&5 over Morgan Hetletved

Lily Bredemeier 1up over Rachel Hausauer

Madison Herzog 5&4 over Haley Tollette

Abbie Kelm 6&5 over Lauren Stockmoe

Men’s Executive Championship

Derrick Johnson 1up over Jason Urbaniak

Joe McKean 2&1 over Ekren Miller

Mike Fore 1up over Steve Well

Derek Hasselberg 20 holes over Nathan Brewinski

Senior Men’s Championship

Jeff Slupe 3&2 over Paul Daman

Paul Court 19 holes over Steve Herzog

Rick Passolt 1up over H.C. Tran

Mark Lindberg 3&2 over Scott Hinners

Masters Championship

Doug Taylor 2&1 over Bob Paine

Mark Noga 2&1 over Jack Seiberlich

Jeff Tweeton 1up over Jim Kennelly

Wayne Caughey 5&4 over John Hagge

Junior 13-17 Championship

Rylin Petry 4&3 over Markus Nelson

Luke Thompson 7&5 over Grant Gardner

Junior 12U 1st Flight

Logan Motzko 3&2 over Beckett Grand

Preston Miller 2up over Miles Kennelly