Eichhorn playing in UPGA tourney
NORWAY — Is the Oak Crest course record in jeopardy for this week’s 104th UP Golf Association Championships?
“It could be,” said tournament director Kevin Londo in noting several of the 101 golfers with zero handicaps. “It’s a pretty strong field handicap-wise.”
When a longtime Oak Crest observer was asked about somebody shooting under 63, he replied, “Is Hunter playing? Probably.”
That’s Hunter Eichhorn, of Carney, playing in his first UP men’s tournament. He shares the Oak Crest record at 63 with Fred Flink, Dan Anderson and Mitch Horn.
Eichhorn and defending champion Gunnar Stein teed off at 10:20 this morning. Flink plays in the last group today at 12:10 p.m. with Dillon Gauthier and Rod Gordon. Anderson and Horn are not in the UP tournament.
Eichhorn was a four-time Upper Peninsula Division 3 golf champion who played as a freshman at Marquette University this past season.
Eichhorn was the Big East Conference Player of the Year after winning the conference tournament. He recently tied for fourth place in the 117th Wisconsin State Amateur golf tournament in Minocqua.
Eichhorn holds the course record of 66 set this year at Sweetgrass Golf Club in Harris, which he has hit twice.
Six former champions — 2017 winner Gunnar Stein along with Ellis, Jim Markell, Mark Clements, Joe Quinn and Matt Argall — are competing this week. There’s also three-time UP senior champs in Jim Wagner and Rev. Fred Stubenvoll. Wagner won the 2016 UP senior title at Oak Crest.
Iron Mountain’s Ellis won the 2009 UP tournament at Oak Crest by 12 strokes over Chad Tirschel.
“I was just coming out here just trying to shoot even every round,” Ellis said after posting a 271 with rounds of 69, 67, 65 and 70. “I got the putter going, made some putts and got into a good rhythm. This is the best four days of golf I’ve played.”
Ellis held a 10-shot lead entering the final round.
“How do you catch up to that?” Tirschel said. “He played really great golf.”
Iron Mountain’s Markell, who captured the 2012 UP tournament at Pine Grove with a 286, finished fifth in 2009 with a 286.