Resorters Golf Tournament: Surprises stir things up in Senior Men's DivisionDefending champ, last year's runner-up are both eliminated
Defending champ, last year’s runner-up
Wow! What a day it was in the Senior Men’s Championship Division.
In a stunning upset, defending champion Jon Empanger of Chaska was knocked out of contention after 19 holes by Jeff Pederson.
In addition, last year’s runner-up, Bill Freeman of Alexandria, was upended by Bob Falls.
The remaining contenders – the “elite eight” – will tee it up today from the No. 1 tee starting at 12:18 p.m.
In the meantime, here’s a recap of yesterday’s exciting outcomes:
Empanger in 19
The Empanger-Pederson battle was the buzz of the day. Pederson, a 53-year-old CEO from Haymarket, VA fought the eight-time champion tooth-and-nail through 17 holes, tied him on the 18th and won with par on the first extra hole.
It was grueling match from the get-go. Empanger won three on the front nine, Nos. 2, 7 and 9 with a par and two birdies while Pederson won No. 3 with a birdie.
With a 2-up lead at the turn, things looked bright for the defending champ. Pederson quickly clouded the outlook, however, with back-to-back wins on Nos. 11 and 12 – both birdies – to draw even.
After swapping pars on the next hole. Pederson moved out front for the first time with a birdie win on No. 14. Empanger quickly answered with a birdie win on the next hole and regained the lead with a par on No. 16.
After matching Empanger’s par on the short 17th hole, Pederson delivered a clutch birdie on the last hole in regulation to force an extra hole and knock out the champion.
Both golfers turned in solid rounds; Empanger was 1-under par for the day while Pederson was 2-under.
It just wasn’t the judge’s day.
Dave Battey of Alexandria couldn’t get anything going against Greg Mattson of Becker.
Mattson was a machine, drilling three straight pars to open the match and take a 3-up lead. Battey responded with a par win on No. 4 but Mattson won three more holes on the front, Nos. 5, 6 and 8 with par, birdie, par to go 5-up at the turn.
Mattson ended the match early with three straight wins on the back, thanks to a par, birdie, par.
Herzog def. Bergner in 19
Steve Herzog of Alexandria had to scramble, scratch and kick to escape with a win in 19 holes over Jim Bergner of San Antonio, TX.
The match was filled with momentum shifts. Herzog blazed out to big lead by winning the first three holes. Bergner bounced back with wins on Nos. 4 and 5 but Herzog’s birdie on No. 6 put him 2-up again.
Bergner drew to within one with a birdie on No. 8 but Herzog’s par on the next hole gave him a two-hole lead at the turn.
Bergner won Nos. 12 and 14 with birdie, par to finally tie the match up, but Herzog once again fought back with a par win on No. 15. Bergner’s par on No. 17 deadlocked the contest and after both men bogeyed the last hole in regulation, it was sudden death.
Herzog’s par on the first extra hole gave him the win.
Tom Ryan was simply unstoppable yesterday against Al Strassburg of Clear Lake. The 58-year-old golf administrator rolled out to a huge lead by winning the first five holes with two pars, two birdies and a bogey.
Strassburg finally won a hole, No. 8, with par, but Ryan won Nos. 9 and 11 with pars and matched Strassburg’s pars on the next two holes to ice the win.
In a battle between Alexandrians, Larry Novotny won seven holes on the front nine to coast to a 6-4 win over Brad Hanson.
Novotny won every hole on the front except for Nos. 5 and 9, which he halved. He did it with three birdies and four pars.
On the back nine, Hanson showed some life by winning Nos. 10 and 12 with pars but Novotny quickly squelched the comeback with a par win on No. 14 to end the match.
Falls def. Freeman
In another big upset, Bob Falls of Edina jolted Bill Freeman, 2-1.
An early lead helped. Falls won the first three holes with two pars and a bogey and then added another par win on No. 7 to go 4-up. Freeman finally rallied with par wins on the next two holes to trail by two at the turn.
Freeman stormed back with par wins on Nos. 12 and 13 to tie it. After swapping pars on the next hole, Falls delivered a crucial par win on No. 15 and a clutch birdie on No. 16 to go 2-up with two holes to play.
Freeman could only match Falls’ par on the next hole to bow out of the tournament.
Arnold def. Zinn, 3-2
In a closely fought match that held no big streaks or lead changes, Jim Arnold of Plymouth outlasted Byron Zinn of Spicewood, Texas, 3-2.
Arnold won three holes on the front, Nos. 2, 5 and 7 with a par and two birdies. Zinn won two holes, Nos. 6 and 9 with birdie, par to trail by one at the turn.
Arnold won Nos. 11 and 16 on the back and kept Zinn from winning any, which sealed his 3-2 win.
A hot streak on the back nine sparked Randy Westerham of Eden Prairie to a 2-1 victory over Mike Hartmann of Red Wing.
Westerham drew first blood by winning the first two holes with par, bogey. Hartmann put together a trio of wins on Nos. 4 through 6 with bogey, par, birdie to steal the lead.
Westerham answered with a birdie win on No. 8 only to drop the next hole to Hartmann’s par.
Trailing by one at the turn, Westerham turned the tables by winning four of the next five holes with a par (No. 10) and three birdies (Nos. 12, 13 and 14). He was suddenly out front by three.
After both men swapped pars on No. 15, Hartmann made a move with a par win on No. 16 but Westerham locked up a 2-1 win by matching Hartmann’s par on No. 17.
SECOND ROUND RESULTS
Jeff Pederson def. Jon Empanger in 19 holes
Greg Mattson def. Dave Battey, 8-6
Steve Herzog def. Jim Bergner in 19 holes
Tom Ryan def. Al Strassburg, 6-5
Larry Novotny def. Brad Hanson, 6-4
Bob Falls def. Bill Freeman, 2-1
Jim Arnold def. Byron Zinn, 3-2
Randy Westerham def. Mike Hartmann, 2-1