The State Match Play Championship trimmed the men's and women’s field to 16 and eight respectively on Friday, setting up an exciting weekend of golf at the Golf Club at Red Rock in Rapid City.
Particularly for area golfers and fans as six Rapid City golfers advanced through the first two rounds of men’s match play, while on the women’s side, the top eight seeds all moved on setting up some high pressure matches on Saturday.
In women’s play, top-seeded Hallie Getz from Pierre continued in top form on Friday following up a 67 in Thursday qualifying, with a dominant 6 and 4 drubbing of Kelsey Johnson of Sioux Falls. Getz will meet Samantha Langford of Sioux Falls, who ousted Rapid City’s Natalie Young in a match that required 20 holes to sort out a winner.
Sydney Bormann of Parkston, the second seed, was equally impressive, posting a 4 and 3 win over Rapid City’s Emmy Sundby. Bormann draws Elizabeth Duncan of Brandon in quarterfinal play.
Defending champion Katie Bartlett of Pierre topped Jade Burr of Belle Fourche 4 and 2.
Perhaps the biggest surprise on the women’s side came from Rapid City’s Tara Hofer, a former Lead-Deadwood High School standout, who is returning to competitive golf following a 10-year hiatus.
“I play a lot at Red Rock, and when I saw the match play was going to be here, I thought why the heck not try to play and see how you do,” Hofer said.
So far, so good would sum it up through the first two days of the 48th annual tournament, as Hofer earned a fifth-seed in the qualifying round and then bested Vermillion’s Kyleigh Moran 3 and 1 on Friday.
“I guess I haven’t surprised myself too much,” Hofer said. “I was happy with the way I played yesterday, and though I could have played better today, it was enough to win, so I’m going to forge ahead and see what happens. Course management plays a huge role on this course. And even then you can get on the green and still be surprised. My husband and I play here quite a lot, and even for members, this is a really hard course.”
Hofer will pair off against Maggie Murphy, assistant golf coach at SDSU in today's quarterfinal play.
TJ Nolan, the top-seed after shooting a 69 in the Thursday qualifying, opened the day on a positive note cruising to a 4 and 3 win over Scott Nowak (Spring Creek CC) in his morning match.
As luck would have it, Nolan was matched up against younger brother Ryan, in afternoon second round play. Ryan who came in as the No. 33 seed, had disposed of No. 32 seed Tom Hoek (Wild Oak GC) 2 and 1 in morning play.
Nolan the elder came out victorious as TJ defeated Ryan 5 and 4. For two brothers who play together quite often, a State Match play outing had a little different feel to it, according to TJ.
“It was little strange in that when we usually play together, since I’m older and have more experience on the golf course, I usually give him tips about where to swing and what club to hit when he doesn’t know,” TJ explained. “Today, I didn’t really give him a lot of feedback since we were both playing to win, but it was still a lot of fun and a good experience.”
The payoff for Nolan will be a 7:30 a.m meeting with 2002 match play champion Paul Schock of Sioux Falls, who squeezed by a couple of Rapid City competitors on Friday, Kevin Buntrock (1 up) and Jared Degan (2&1).
“I’ve heard a lot of good things about Paul,” Nolan remarked. “I know he’s a good player with a solid game and a lot of experience, so it will be a tough match.”
Other Rapid City area golfers joining Nolan in round of 16 action include No. 2 seed Tyler Rachetto; TJ Meyer, a 2 and 1 winner over No. 4 seed Shane Tipton; Daniel Gallegos, the No. 40 seed who defeated No. 8 Chris Long and Lane Jensen of Rapid City 2 and 1; Jon Lesselyoung, a 3 and 2 winner over fellow Rapid Citian Ben Daane and Jonah Swartz of Hart Ranch a 1 up winner over Adam Shiffermiller of Arrowhead CC.