In the span of about 10 minutes on Friday, a few inches here and a few inches there kept Britt Mitchell in contention for the Herald-Sun Golf Classic championship.
Mitchell’s errant tee shot on his second playoff hole in a match play showdown with Ronnie Williams Jr., hooked but remained inbounds by a scant few inches to keep him from suffering a penalty stroke.
After hitting out of that mess, he was left with a 40- to 50-yard chip shot to get to the green and, on that shot, the ball struck the flagpole and stopped a few inches from the hole.
The resulting par, rather than what could have been a double bogey or worse, allowed Mitchell to win the hole and beat Williams 1-up in 20 holes to advance to today’s Championship Flight semifinals at Hillandale Golf Course.
After trailing by two holes at the turn to the back nine, the 11th-seeded Mitchell rallied to take a one-hole lead before Williams tied things up again on the final hole to force extra play.
Both golfers parred the first playoff hole with two-putt performances before Mitchell saw his tee shot on the second extra hole (No. 11) shooting left toward a brush covered gulch that is out of bounds.
But the ball stopped on the edge,with Hillandale Director of Golf Karl Kimball ruling that it remained in play.
“I was pretty happy when Karl said it was up (out of the brush),” Mitchell said. “I knew I had to try to get up and down for par in order to even have a chance.
Meanwhile, Williams was in the middle of the fairway off the tee and to the green in two shots on the par-4 hole.
Before the third-seeded Williams could attempt a 20-foot birdie putt for the win, Mitchell lined up his chip shot, just hoping to leave it close for par.
He did that with help from the pin as the ball hit the pole rather than scoot by and possibly roll off the green again.
“I tried to just use a feel shot and get it close and leave a par shot,” Mitchell said. “I got lucky it hit the pin. It felt good. As soon as I hit it it felt good.”
Williams still had a chance to win but his birdie putt rolled past the hole. His putt from six feet out for par and another playoff hole also missed to leave Mitchell victorious.
“Ronnie is a heck of a competitor,” Mitchell said. “That was rough.”
In today’s semifinals, Mitchell will play Alex Brese with a spot in Sunday’s championship final on the line. Brese also needed two extra playoff holes to dispose of seventh-seeded Tim Garrett 1-up in 20 holes.
It’s the second major upset in two days of match play for the 15th-seeded Brese. On Thursday, he knocked of No. 2 seed Stephen Lavenets.
“I’ve been putting well and I’ve been hitting it pretty solid,” Brese said. “Playing it straight mostly.”
In the other Championship Flight semifinal, No. 8 seed Matt Roberts will play fifth-seeded Melvin Barnes today. Barnes, who defeated Junior Schrickx 5 and 3 on Friday, is the best seed remaining.
Roberts advanced on Friday with a 3 and 2 win over 16th-seeded Jeff Robinson. On Thursday, Robinson had knocked off top-seeded Ashley Berry 4 and 3.
In the tournament’s new senior division championship flight, top-seeded Jim Pearce saw his tournament run end with a 6 and 5 loss to No. 9 seed Cecil Lockley. In today’s semifinals, Lockley will face Johnny Adams, who eliminated Dink Andrews 5 and 4 on Friday.
In the other senior championship semifinal, 2013 Hillandale Golf Association senior champion Abe Lewis faces Lea Couch. Lewis advanced Friday with a 6 and 5 win over Fleming Lyon, while Couch defeated John Synan 6 and 5.
The Herald-Sun Golf Classic
at Hillandale Golf Course
Friday’s quarterfinal match results
Matt Roberts 3&2 over Jeff Robinson
Melvin Barnes 5&3 over Junior Schrickx
Alex Brese 1-up/20 over Jack Garrett
Britt Mitchell 1-up/20 over Ronnie Williams Jr.
Gerrett Hutson 4&3 over Shane Hamlett
Adam Hamlett 3&2 over Tad Galloway
Travis Byrd 5&4 over Stacey Anfindsen
Kevin Cheek 1-up over Ben Fuller
Robert Johnson over Micah Alexander (forfeit)
Robert Semler 5&3 over Doug Baker
Darryl Naillon 1-up/21 over Mark Pennington
Nils Norgaard 5&4 over Eddie Ball
Chad Bryant 2&1 over Brad Young
Michael Burton 1-up/19 over Jimmy King
Chris Outland 2-up over Fritz Hine
Kyle Garrett 3&2 over Greg Lassiter
Cedell Alexander 2&1 over Samuel Paynter
Tim King 5&4 over Cliff Cox Jr.
Wade Hamlett 1-up over Jake Jackson
Ben Thomas 3&2 over Destin Barnes
Phillip Ray 1-up over Gary Chambers
Clark Green 1-up/19 over Darrell Brown
David Perry 7&5 over Jimmy Davis
Bryan Atkins 6&4 over Robert Hockman
Derrick Sims 3&2 over Jas de Oliveira
Johnnie Bryant 2&1 over Sam Farlow
Gary Wheeley 4&2 over Lonnie Browning
Tim Simpson 4&3 over Jeff Abbott
Cecil Lockley 6&5 over Jim Pearce
Johnny Adams 5&4 over Dink Andrews
Lea Couch 6&5 over John Synan
Abe Lewis 6&5 over Fleming Lyon
Chris Filiaci 2&1 over John Ivey
Fred Avila 4&3 over Edward Musselman
Bill Martinson 3&1 over Peter Fox
Jerry Tucker 3&1 over Kent Farrell
Saturday, June 21 Semifinal Tee Times
(All a.m., all from No. 1 tee)
9:12 — Roberts vs. Barnes
9:04 — Brese vs. Mitchell
9:12 — Hutson vs. Hamlett
9:04 — Byrd vs. Cheek
8:48 — Johnson vs. Semler
8:40 — Naillon vs. Norgaard
8:48 — Bryant vs. Burton
8:40 — Outland vs. Garrett
8:32 — Alexander vs. King
8:24 — Hamlett vs. Thomas
8:32 — Ray vs. Green
8:24 — Perry vs. Atkins
8:16 — Sims vs. Bryant
8:16 — Wheeley vs. Simpson
8:08 — Lockley vs. Adams
8:00 — Couch vs. Lewis
8:08 — Filiaci vs. Avila
8:00 — Martinson vs. Tucker