ST. CHARLES – Down three holes with five to play in his Saturday semifinal match with Nick Edwards at Pottawatomie Golf Course, the odds of Matt Daly reaching Sunday’s title match in the championship flight of the St. Charles Men's Tournament looked pretty long.
But Daly, 27, rallied to win four of the next six holes to advance.
“I didn’t play my best, but I played well enough,” Daly said.
Daly played very well on the 15th hole of the match, the 368-yard, par-4, No. 6. His approach shot with his pitching wedge hit the green less than a foot from the pin and wound up leaving him with a six-foot putt that he rolled in for a birdie.
“That was the momentum start, right there,” said Daly, who played his college golf at Indian Hills Community College in Ottumwa, Iowa.
Edwards was still up 1 heading to the 18th tee, but he put his drive too far left, leaving his approach to the green blocked by a mass of trees. He had to punch out to the fairway and wound up bogeying the par-4 hole, leaving the matchup of St. Charles East graduates deadlocked.
Edwards, 25, again ran into trouble off the tee on the first sudden-death playoff hole, slicing his drive out-of-bounds to the right.
“I just got a little aggressive on the tee shot and it got caught up in the wind, hit a tree, and bounced back out-of-bounds,” Edwards explained. “It was just a bad break. It was a tough way to go down, but in my mind, it shouldn’t even have come down to a playoff hole. Up three with five to play, I just kind of let everything get away from me.”
After taking a look at where his drive ended up, Edwards conceded the hole and the match to Daly, who will be making his first appearance in the championship final.
“I haven’t fared very well [in the past],” Daly said. “This is the best I’ve done so far and I’m looking forward to tomorrow’s final. I can’t wait.”
Daly’s opponent in the title match will be his friend, Garrett Patten, who outlasted Brian Charles in the other semifinal match, 1 up.
This also will be Patten’s first appearance in the championship match. Playing in his fifth city tournament, he was playing in the semifinals for the second time.
“My adrenaline was going pretty heavy throughout the whole match,” said the 31-year-old Patten. “I’ve been in that situation now a few times, so I was able to control it a little better. Brian Charles is a great player. He put up a good battle and it was a fun match. That’s what I love about the city tourney – you always get in some real fun matches playing against college golfers and high school golfers and guys like Brian Charles and myself.”
Charles, 44, nearly overcame the unusual loss of two balls that were not hit into woods or water.
“Losing those couple of balls didn’t help,” Charles said. “Especially that one that mysteriously vanished when it should have been somewhere on the green.”
Charles thought his second shot on the very first hole of the match landed on the green near the hole.
“I even looked in the hole,” Charles said.
The ball could not be located by Charles nor by Patten and his caddie and Charles had to concede the hole. The scenario was repeated on the 14th hole of the match when no one could locate Charles’ tee shot off the 378-yard, par-4, No. 5.
Charles was still 1 up after 16 holes, but his drive on the 17th found the trees on the left side of the fairway and he wound up bogeying the hole. He also bogeyed the 18th after putting his second shot on the hill just beyond the green, while Patten was on the green in two and missed a birdie putt by inches.
“The only thing that was really going well today was my drives,” Patten said. “I hit the majority of the fairways and the distance was good, too.”
The A-Flight final will match Rod Stablein against Jim Funk. Stablein defeated Matt Reams Saturday, 6 and 5, while Funk advanced by default.