IM’s Markell makes UPGA championship flight

Jim Markell of Pine Grove Country Club watches his drive on No. 16 during the second round of the men’s UPGA tournament at Terrace Bluff Golf and Country Club on Thursday in Gladstone. (Austin Hemmingson/The Daily Press)

GLADSTONE — There’s not much room for error for the golfers at the top of the leaderboard after day two of the UPGA men’s championship at Terrace Bluff Golf and Country Club here Thursday.

Brian Robinette of Escanaba and Rudy Peterson of Gladstone share the lead at 3-under par after each shooting a 71 for a two-day total of 141.

“I played good in terms of my golf swing … it felt really good,” Robinette said. “I’ve always talked in the past about just getting that first round out of the way. I don’t care if you’ve played in one of these one or 1,000 times, you need that first day to just kind of settle your nerves.”

Tom LaVigne sits five strokes back, followed by Carter Mason and Joe Quinn at six strokes back. Jim Markell, of Iron Mountain, and Jim Wagner will round out the championship flight, which began at 8:30 a.m. EDT today. The rest of the field was divided into five separate flights.

Gladstone’s Bryce Douglas gained traction, shooting 2-under to pull within a stroke of the leaders.

“Well, the first tee shot I hit on No. 1 went right in the water,” Douglas said. “I was able to bounce back and make par. I shot 3-under on the front for a 33 and I thought there were quite a few more birdies out there, but I missed a few short ones.”

After being tied at the top after round one, Ishpeming’s Mark Clements shot 1-over to fall two strokes back.

Gladstone’s Matt Argall shot an even-par 72 for the second straight day, putting him three strokes back.

“It was kind of like yesterday, I still haven’t figured out how to hit that draw yet,” he said. “I made the turn at 2-under, I three-putted on 11 but I got a birdie on 12 and then I just did some stupid stuff on 13 and 14. I made a couple birdies on the way in but I just played some bad golf. Overall, I’m satisfied.”

Norway’s Chad Tirschel and Escanaba’s Mark Gauthier each sit four strokes back. Tirschel played himself into a better spot with a 1-under performance Thursday after shooting 3-over Wednesday.

“I played well,” Tirschel said. “I made more putts than I did yesterday. My whole group was good — we all made a lot of pars together and we all played well. It’s fun playing when we’re all playing well. I think I putted better after knowing where to miss the shot. If you’re going to miss a shot, it’s good to know where to miss. It’s all about leaving yourself a straighter putt and missing on the right side of the hole if you can.

“It feels good. I’ve kind of done better than I thought I was going to do. I haven’t played a whole lot of golf this year, so I’m happy with it. I’m happy with the way I’ve been playing and hopefully I can keep it going.”

Robinette said the winner will be the one who makes the least mistakes.

“The way the Bluff is playing and the caliber of players that are there, you’re going to have to play really sound golf,” Robinette said. “Mistakes have to be a bogey here or a bogey there, and you’re going to have to shoot some red scores coming in and make some birdies. Anyone who shoots a 75 is going to have a tough time coming into tomorrow.”

COMMENTS