Players ready for match play as Herald-Sun Golf Classic resumes

Defending champion Melvin Barnes will begin match play today in the Herald-Sun Golf Classic at Hillandale Golf Course.
Defending champion Melvin Barnes will begin match play today in the Herald-Sun Golf Classic at Hillandale Golf Course.

The real competition begins Thursday with the first round of match play in the Herald-Sun Golf Classic at Hillandale Golf Course.

That's one of the main attractions for first-time competitor Wayne Jordan of Chapel Hill.

"It's the first time I've played in the tournament and it is something that is close by, which is nice," Jordan said. "It's a good tournament so far."

Jordan, who is originally from Graham and played golf in high school, got out of competitive golf while attending UNC. He said it's been a while since he played a real tournament and he missed it.

Jordan made the Championship Flight after shooting a two-round total of 145, including a second-round 3-under-par 68 in qualifying. He was one of nine golfers to shoot a round under par in qualifying.

But now low scoring won't matter as much as shot making as the remainder of the tournament will consist of 18-hole match play matches.

Medalist Ronnie Williams Jr. said there is a slight shift in mindset for the rest of the tournament.

"Qualifying is about going out there and posting a number," Williams said. "Now going forward, it is about playing the guy out there in front of your. I enjoy the match play and that's what makes this tournament unique because it is really the only one around like it."

There are four full flights of 16 golfers plus an additional flight of nine golfers in the open tournament. The senior division has two flights of 10 golfers each.

Defending champion Melvin Barnes drew Brian Gann for his first-round match in the Championship Flight. Williams, the No. 2 seed, will take on Max Johnson, the No. 15 seed.

Last year's runner-up Bill Bambic qualified 13th and will take on UNC Greensboro sophomore Michael Wicker, who finished fourth in qualifying.

Wicker said playing match play was like playing a tournament every hole.

"In stroke play, every stroke counts," Wicker said. "But in match play, if you have a bad hole and score a high number, you still have a chance to win. You just have to forget a bad hole and move on to the next one. I love match play. You could make a seven, a 12 or a 20 on a hole and still win the whole thing. That's what make it cool."

Toby Ivey Jr., who was the top junior qualifier with the No. 7 seed, will take on Corey Johnson, who earned the No. 10 seed.

In the Presidents Flight, the No. 1 seed is Cole Scearce and he will take on No. 16 seed Taylor Peel.

Bobby Semler got the No. 1 seed in the First Flight and his first-round opponent will be Tim Simpson. In the Second Flight, Corey Wilson earned the No. 1 seed and will face Jeff Allen.

Only one match will be contested in the Third Flight, which will be between No. 8 seed Dennis Perry and No. 9 seed Best Jr. The winner will advance to take on top-seeded Jason Chambers in the second round on Friday.

In the two Senior Division flights, the top six golfers in each bracket earned byes in the second round on Friday. But there will be two matches contested in each flight.

In the Senior Championship Flight, Cecil Lockley will take on Ted Maynor in one match and Peter Fox will face Jim Pearce in the other.

The matches in the Senior Presidents Flight have Chuck Kimpel facing Paul Harris in one match and Mike Sterner and Lew Ballard squaring off in the other.

Senior defending champion Dink Andrews and senior medalist Lea Couch will await their opponents and see their first action in the second round on Friday. The No. 1 seed in the Senior Presidents Flight was Joe Gucker, who also will play his first match on Friday.

Joe Johnson: 919-419-6889, @HPreps