IRON MOUNTAIN - Jim Markell, bidding to end a 90-year slump for Pine Grove Country Club, moved into a share of the lead Friday in the 98th annual U.P. Golf Association Men's Championships.
FJ Oliver, representing Pine Grove, captured the 1922 U.P. title on his home course. That's the last time a Pine Grove golfer prevailed in the U.P. tourney at Iron Mountain.
Markell moved up with Friday's best round, shooting a two-under par 70 to join defending champion Dan Ellis of Negaunee and Tim Drees of Menominee at 142.
Iron Mountain’s Jim Markell, part of a three-way tie for the lead in the 98th annual U.P. Golf Association Men’s Championships, follows a putt on the first hole Friday at Pine Grove Country Club.
Burt Angeli/The Daily News Photo
Markell finished strong by collecting birdies on Nos. 14, 16 and 17. Ellis slipped to a 73 Friday and Drees, after nearly breaking the course record with a 65 Thursday, soared to a 77.
Dave Ellis, Dan's twin brother and Michigan State University teammate, stands just one shot back at 143. He followed up his 69 Thursday with a 74 Friday.
Joey Collard of Marinette advanced to fifth with a 73 and 148 total.
Jared Reid of Hurley and Bill Langlois of Menominee are next at 150.
Reid fired a one-under 71 for Friday's top round until Markell finished later in the day with a 70.
"I was just keeping myself out of trouble," Reid said of Friday's round. "I made some silly mistakes Thursday and kind of avoided those and the big number."
Reid and Aaron Swanson of Marquette teamed up to win Pine Grove's 2011 best ball title. Reid utilized best ball strategy to open the tourney but thought better of that move Friday
"That was my first time playing with my own ball and I might have been too conservative," said Reid, whose previous Pine Grove experience consisted of two best ball tourneys.
Reid, who notched four birdies, credited his driver and the morning tee time for his success.
"I hit the driver probably more than anybody else," said Reid, counting 10 out of 14 opportunities, and only one mistake on No 9. "That's just my game, I just hit it. I was hitting it pretty good, pretty solid."
No wind and smooth greens greeted Reid for his early start.
"Getting out early really helped," he said.
Iron Mountain's Jon Ellis, who won the 2009 U.P. title at Norway, rebounded with a par 72 Friday after shooting 81 Thursday.
Top 16 golfers comprise championship flight, with the final two rounds today and Saturday. Championship flight tees off at 7:30 this morning.
Championship flight from the 98th annual U.P. Golf Association Men's Championships at Pine Grove Country Club in Iron Mountain (two-round score, name and home course):
142 - Jim Markell, Iron Mountain Pine Grove (72-70); Dan Ellis, Ishpeming Wawonowin (69-73); Tim Drees, Menominee River (65-77);
143 - Dave Ellis, Ishpeming Wawonowin (69-74).
148 - Joey Collard, Marinette Little River (75-73).
150 - Jared Reid, Hurley Eagle Bluff (79-71); Bill Langlois, Menominee River (77-73).
151 - Dustin Dishaw, Crystal Falls (74-77); Gary Gries, Gladstone (75-76);
152 - Joe Strong, Ontonagon (74-78); Mike Nagy, Manistique Indian Lake (75-77); Mark Ray (75-77), Escanaba Highland; Mark Siem, Menominee North Shore (76-76);
153 - Jon Ellis, Iron Mountain Pine Grove (81-72); Frank Kutcher, Sault (Ont.) Crimson Ridge (76-77)
154 - Dave Jahn, Sault (76-78).