Robinson, Rich struggle in Classic quarterfinal
The hole that brought Jay Robinson so much success a day earlier was a golfer’s nightmare on Friday at Hillandale Golf Course.
Both times, though, Robinson handled it the same way.
Since it was match play at the 67th Herald-Sun Golf Classic, Robinson’s only choice in both instances was to focus on the next hole and try to win.
“Composure — key to match play,” Robinson said.
He accomplished that Thursday after his double-eagle on No. 14 and did the same Friday after needing three shots to get out of a bunker on the same hole.
Despite that, Robinson’s iron shots were true as he won two of the next three holes to defeat Dalton Rich 2 and 1 in the Championship Flight quarterfinals.
Robinson, of Raleigh, advanced to today’s semifinals where he will meet Todd Eckstein at 8:48 a.m. today. Eckstein defeated John Gaddy 1-up in 20 holes on Friday.
Robinson and Rich battled in a match where neither golfer played his best.
“It was who played bad, better,” Rich said.
Said Robinson: “I don’t think really Dalton or I brought our ‘A’ game today, but it was just a matter of grinding it out.”
Robinson had a two-hole lead after the front nine and still lead by two holes through 11.
Rich gained a hole on No. 12 when Robinson three-putted for a bogey. They split the 13th hole before heading to the par-5, No. 14.
One day earlier, Robinson holed his second shot for a rare double-eagle on the 440-yard layout. But on Friday, his second shot landed in a steep bunker that protected the green.
He needed three more shots to get out of the sand and onto the green.
By then, Rich had chipped onto the green for a birdie to claim the hole and even the overall match.
“I felt pretty good because I battled back to even after being down two after 11,” Rich said.
Obviously frustrated by a double-bogey on 14, Robinson said he reflected on his double-eagle as a reminder to move on and continue battling in the overall match.
“It’s funny,” Robinson said. “I could say it’s exactly the same as (Thursday). Even though it was the opposite result, it was all about keeping my composure. We were even with four to play. (Thursday) was the high, (Friday) was the low and I really fed off (Thursday). I had to stay in it.”
On the par-3 No. 15, Rich and Robinson both missed birdie putts to tie the hole.
Still even heading into No. 16, Robinson’s tee shot landed in the middle of the fairway. But Rich sent his far to the right and into trouble.
Rich’s second shot sailed over the green. But Robinson’s iron shot from the fairway left him 3 feet from the cup for an easy birdie putt.
At 1-up heading to No. 17, Robinson was able to close out the round. His iron shot of the tee on the par-3 hole landed on the green. But, once again, Rich misfired off the tee as his shot flew left and into the rough.
Rich chipped onto the green in an attempt to save par, but his putt missed. Robinson two-putted, but the par was good enough to claim the hole and the overall match.
“I kind of figured on 17 he was going to hit a good one because he had hit two good iron shots in a row,” Rich said. “I just didn’t have it. I didn’t have it today.”
Jay Robinson will be keeping a close eye on the other Championship Flight semifinal match, and it only partly has to do with scouting. His uncle, Jeff Robinson, will tee off at 8:40 a.m. against Tim Garrett with a shot in Sunday’s final on the line.
Jeff Robinson beat Lea Couch 6 and 5 in Friday’s quarterfinals. Garrett edged Ashley Berry 1-up in 20 holes to advance.