Rowan Masters: Plenty of Saturday drama at The Warrior

Ryan Honeycutt, left, and Phil Miller shake hands after advancing to today’s semifinals. The Rowan County stars match up at 8 a.m. Photo by Jon C. Lakey, Salisbury Post
Ryan Honeycutt, left, and Phil Miller shake hands after advancing to today’s semifinals. The Rowan County stars match up at 8 a.m. Photo by Jon C. Lakey, Salisbury Post

CHINA GROVE — Even after 36 holes in a day Saturday, the Rowan Masters needed extra time to determine who was worthy of advancing to today’s semifinals.

Three of the four quarterfinal matches went to a playoff hole to end a warm June day at the Warrior Golf Club. Troy Beaver, Phil Miller and Ryan Honeycutt all won a one-hole playoff while defending champion Keith Dorsett ousted Ronnie Eidson.

Beaver, a rising sophomore on the team at Elon, is playing on the final day in his first year playing the Masters. Beaver was 1-down after 17 holes but got strong wedge shots on 18 and the playoff to advance. Beaver chipped onto the green to birdie 18 and force a playoff against Justin Lefler. With the playoff on Hole 1, Beaver closed in on the pin with an accurate chip from about 40 yards away and putted it in for a birdie.

“I hit an identical drive as I did the first two times and an identical second shot,” Beaver said after his third went in on the first hole. “The last two holes I had pretty good wedge shots. I feel lucky to be there (today).”

Lefler was just short on a 20-foot putt on 18 that would have forced Beaver to make another putt to cause a playoff hole.

“It was like a rotation from falling in,” Lefler said. “I didn’t have the best of lies on 18. I was feeling pretty good coming into that.”

Lefler hit into a hazard on the playoff hole and couldn’t recover. Beaver, the a two-time state champion for Salisbury High, beat Scott Fagg 6&5 in the second round and Brian Craft on Friday.

Seven-time winner Dorsett didn’t need a playoff, going the usual route, besting Eidson 3&2. Dorsett birdied 1, 3, 4, 13 and sewed things up on 16 with a birdie. The South Rowan grad only had one bogey.

Dorsett jumped out to a 4-hole lead after seven. Eidson would chip in for a par on 6 and claim birdies on 11 and 12 to cut to within one but couldn’t close. Dorsett sank an 18-foot putt on 13 to return to form.

Dorsett, who’s won three consecutive Masters, faces Beaver and Miller takes on Honeycutt in the final four. The semis begin at 8 a.m. with the championship round following.

Miller, who lost to Dorsett in the finals last year, birdied the playoff hole against Kevin Lentz. Miller was 1 up at the turn and got crucial birdies on 15 and 17 to stay even. Lentz birdied 18 to force extra golf.

“Kevin and I both played very well,” Miller said. “We were both two-under par. When you play under-par golf in the conditions coming into a playoff hole, nobody feels bad.”

Lentz found a hazard on the playoff hole to leave the door open for Miller.

“The driver went about 215 yards to the hole,” Miller said. “Hit it to the left on the fringe of the green. Putted it a little too hard but had six feet coming back.”

Miller defeated Sean Kramer 5&4 Saturday morning.

Honeycutt was 2 up on the front 9 before Richard Cobb birdied 8 and 9 to get to even. Honeycutt jumped out to another two-hole lead at 15 before Cobb rallied on the final three holes.

Cobb misfired on his drive on the playoff hole to give Honeycutt a chance. Honeycutt made the final day for the first time and beat sixth seed Chris Owen in the second round.

“I knew I had to get a good tee shot,” Honeycutt said of the playoff hole. “He bailed me out when he went in the water.”

Honeycutt beat Owen 2&1.

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