JT Johnson knows exactly the kind of work he has cut out for him if he’s going to get his first Resorters title on Saturday.
At age 55, he’s played both the Senior Division and Executive Division the last handful of years and he’s been close to winning a championship. If he gets over that hump this year, it will come at the expense of one of the more dominant players in any of the Resorters divisions.
Daryl Schomer and Troy Johnson will play each other in the Executive Division semifinals on Saturday morning. That will have the feeling of a title bout with Schomer owning four Resorters championships and Troy Johnson being the defending division winner.
“I am playing good golf, top-level golf, and I’m not a favorite against either one of those guys if I make the final,” JT Johnson said. “That tells you. I might not even be a favorite in my (first) match.”
That first match for JT will come against another Johnson -- Dan of Elk River. He knocked off second-seeded Geoff Klein on Friday afternoon.
“If you had guys watching how Dan has been playing these last two days, it would be an even-money bet, and I might be an underdog tomorrow,” JT said. “For sure, though, whichever one of us wins is not a favorite going into the finals. They are that good. Daryl knows this course that good and Troy has an unbelievable pedigree. He’s just that good.”
Troy Johnson and Schomer may be the favorites, but whoever comes out of the JT and Dan Johnson match won’t have to face both of them. One of them will be looking to pull the upset against whoever they play.
The Men’s Executive Division semifinals get going at 7 a.m. before the finals at 12:45 p.m. Here’s a look at how Friday’s matches played out.
JT Johnson def. Jeff Johnson, 5-4
JT Johnson shot 1-under through the first four holes on Friday and the end result was a 4-up lead over Jeff Johnson of Chaska.
That was enough to go on and secure the 5-4 win. JT’s birdie on that opening stretch came on the third hole. Jeff cut it back to a 2-hole deficit with a par win at 5 and a birdie win at 7. That was the final hole Jeff would take as JT used par wins on Nos. 8 and 11 before his birdie on No. 13 helped end the match one hole later.
“I drove the ball really, really well,” JT said of his round. “I was not very solid with my irons, but I had a 9-iron in on my second shot on (the par-five) 6. I just bombed the drive, and still made five. Those are the kinds of things where if you’re playing medal play, it’s a different story. I stopped being aggressive. If you stop being aggressive, bad things can happen.
“Jeff was upset at himself. He could have played a lot better. Match play is not necessarily about playing great. It’s about playing better than the guy you’re playing today.”
JT did that on Friday. He knows he has a challenge ahead of him if he’s going to do it again on Saturday.
“I’m going to have to continue to drive it well,” JT said. “I’m going to have to hit a lot of greens, and I’m going to have to make some birdies. I could shoot even par (Saturday) and not win. From the back tees, if you shoot even par, you’re usually going to beat everybody. Not when you’re in the final four.”
D. Johnson def. G. Klein, 3-1
Three straight birdies on the front nine helped 10h-seeded Dan Johnson earn a spot in the semifinal round on Saturday.
After losing the third hole, Johnson birdied Nos. 4, 5 and 6 to go up two. A bogey on No. 9 cut his lead to one heading to the back nine. Second-seeded Geoff Klein had only one bogey but still found himself trailing Johnson.
Johnson went up two after Klein bogeyed the 10th hole. After a par on No. 11, Klein eagled the 12th hole to cut Johnson’s lead to one. His first birdie of the day came on No. 14 to square the match.
Klein would like to have the end of his Friday round back. In his final three holes, he finished with three bogeys. Johnson shot par on all three and took a 3-1 win.
Schomer def. Vetsch, 6-4
Jerry Vetsch of Becker had pulled off a couple of upsets to get to the quarterfinals. The 28th seed in the field had his hands full with fourth-seeded Daryl Schomer.
After two birdies, Vetsch took an early two-hole lead. However, two bogeys cut his lead to one going into the fifth hole.
That’s when Schomer took control. He showed why he’s one of the top players in the field by winning the next six holes. In those six holes, he had three birdies and three pars.
After his hot start, Vetsch tried to make a comeback by winning the 12th hole, but Schomer took Nos. 13 and 14 on his way to a 6-4 win.
T. Johnson def. Wanous, 6-5
Defending champion Troy Johnson is still standing after dominating his quarterfinal round match against Mark Wanous.
After the first two holes were squared, Johnson went up three with a par on hole three and birdies on holes four and five.
Wanous got one back after Johnson bogeyed hole six. Johnson went to the back nine with a three-hole lead after Wanous bogeyed hole eight.
After both players shot par on No. 10, Johnson clinched a semifinal match when Wanous bogeyed the last three holes.