Two wiley AGC veterans with a history of playing tough matches against each other will clash for the Resorters Masters’ crown on Saturday.
Dave Battey knocked out the division’s defending champion, Randy Johnson of Alexandria, 4-3 while Norty Blanchard escaped with a 3-2 victory over Tom Ryan of Minnetonka.
The two have squared off twice before in the Resorters and last August they competed for the AGC Championship. Battey came out on top by two strokes, 75-72-147, to Blanchard’s 73-76-149.
As part of their prize, they each won prime parking spaces at the club, right next to each other. “We are buddies,” Battey said.
The buddy story will continue tomorrow when they square off for all the marbles from the No. 1 tee at approximately 12:30 p.m.
Here’s a look back at Friday’s matches:
Battey def. Johnson, 4-3
Battey, the number four seed, had to battle back against Johnson after finding himself three down after just seven holes.
“That guy is a bulldog with the putter and is a competitor,” Battey said of his opponent. “He got on a roll in the beginning.”
The first hole showed how Johnson never gives up on a hole, Battey said. Johnson’s tee shot almost went out of bounds but he recovered, saved par and halved the hole.
Johnson won Nos. 2 and 3 with par, bogey and added another par win on the par-3 7th to go 3-up. Battey bounced back, taking Nos. 8 and 9 with par and added a clutch birdie on No. 10 to draw even.
After halving No. 11, Battey caught fire, winning the next four holes with birdie, par, par, bogey.
That last bogey was good enough to win the hole and seal the match.
“He just missed a few putts he normally makes,” Battey said about the defending champ. “He’s a great guy.”
This is the deepest Battey has gone in the Resorters, although he has made it to the semifinals four times in the past and was a medalist once.
Blanchard def. Ryan, 3-2
Like Battey, Blanchard also had to stage a rally on the back nine to stay alive. He did by blistering the course with four birdies in the final six holes.
“My putter was working well,” said Blanchard after the match. “I hit some really good putts.”
Blanchard was quick to change the topic to his opponent.
“Tom is a fierce competitor,” he said. “I was just hanging on for dear life until I hit those birdies.”
Blanchard won the first hole with a birdie but Ryan surged out front with back-to-back par wins on Nos. 3 and 4. After both golfers halved the next hole, Blanchard squared the match with a birdie on No. 6 only to fall behind to Ryan’s par on No. 7. They both halved the next two holes, which put Ryan 1-up at the turn.
Ryan made par on No. 10, but Blanchard bounced right back and won 11 with birdie, 12 with birdie, 13 with birdie, 15 with par and 16 with birdie, which lifted him to a 3-2 victory.
Blanchard has been in this spot before. Two years ago, he lost to Dan Elton in the finals, 1-up.