UP golf notebook: ‘Fun’ environment for Eichhorn

UP Golf

NORWAY — Carney’s Hunter Eichhorn, championship flight winner of last week’s 104th UP Golf Association men’s tournament at Oak Crest Golf Course, has experienced some pressure-packed situations in his young life.

The Marquette University sophomore has played in major collegiate golf tournaments. As a 1,000-point career scorer for Carney-Nadeau High School basketball, he’s been in those raucous gyms when the Wolves and North Central battle it out.

So where’s the most pressure?

“Both about the same,” Eichhorn said after giving the question some thought. “Both of those environments are fun is the best way I can put it.

“Playing North Central is huge, playing college golf is awesome.”

— Eichhorn won four UP Division 3 high school golf championships. And he nearly had a fifth as an eighth-grader.

Watersmeet sophomore Michael McGrath shot a 77 to edge Eichhorn and Bessemer’s Derek Gheller in the 2013 UP Division 3 tournament …

— Eichhorn tees off Monday in the Wisconsin State Open at Menasha. Then he’s back to Marquette University.

“My summer is coming to an end,” Eichhorn said.

— Eichhorn shot a 21-under par 267 to win the 104th UP Golf Association men’s title. The first representative of Oak Crest Golf Course to win the UP title. he had rounds of 64, 65, 68 and 70.

Two Oak Crest golfers have finished second in the UP — Chad Tirschel, 2009; and Bob Oakley, 1978.

Runner-up Mark Clements of Ishpeming shot a 280 for the tournament …

— Eichhorn, a Marquette University sophomore with a Big East Conference Conference Player of the Year award, isn’t sure how he’ll describe Oak Crest to his Golden Eagles teammates.

“It’s hard to compare,” Eichhorn said. “Obviously, it’s shorter than all of the courses we play in college. Still I was excited to come here and play well. The course is in great shape.”

— Former UP champions Jim Markell and Jon Ellis waged a nine-hole playoff battle to decide third flight.

After competing for a few extra holes, they stopped to watch the finish of Eichhorn’s title run. They later continued the playoffs with Markell on top.

Both golfers shot 10-over 298 for the tournament.

In a second-flight playoff, Tom Gereau needed two more holes to outlast Oak Crest’s Jeff VanHolla. They tallied 305 for 72 holes …

— Eichhorn opened with a tournament-best 64 on Tuesday.

The self-taught golfer doesn’t watch how the pros hit a ball but how they game plan for the course.

“I look for the way they plot their way around the golf course versus against the way they swing,” he said. “If I try changing anything, it might mess things up. I’m kind of free-wheeling.”

— Bob Gregorski, a two-time Wisconsin State Amateur champion from Menasha, sees a pro career for the 19-year-old Eichhorn.

“I really think he could be the next guy out there (on the PGA Tour),” Gregorski told wisconsin.golf.com. “He really has fearless offense and a great game. I love watching him play.”

— Eichhorn seems to wind up golfing with former quarterbacks. He played with Cowboys star Tony Romo in a medal play qualifying round at the Wisconsin State Golf Association Match Play Championship.

For the final two rounds, Eichhorn toured Oak Crest with former Mountaineers signal-caller Ryan Pepin.

Pepin threw a couple friendly zingers at Eichhorn during the tournament. After Eichhorn unleashed one of his 350-yard drives, Pepin quipped “maybe you should swing harder?”

Replied Eichhorn, “That’s all I’ve got.”

One fan watching Eichhorn thought the ball got off his club “faster than a .22 bullet from a rifle.”

— I’ve been on the job since 1976 and don’t remember covering this much golf in one summer — UP ladies and men’s tournaments at Oak Crest; UP ladies and men’s best ball/scrambles, and UP senior ladies at Pine Grove; and a UP junior tour stop at TimberStone. Thanks much to Susie Fox and Kevin Londo for making my work that much easier.