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Giebler's 28 on back nine secures top seed at Missouri Amateur

Thursday, June 21, 2012

Ronnie Strong of Jackson watches his tee shot on the10th hole during the second round of the Missouri Amateur. Strong shot 78 on Wednesday to qualify for match play.
Brevin Giebler certainly was hoping to get off to a better start than 4-over par on the front nine Wednesday afternoon at the 105th Missouri Amateur.

What transpired on the back nine more than made up for it.

Giebler shot a flawless 8-under-par 28 on the back nine to post a 68 on the day and capture the medalist honor in the stroke-play portion at Dalhousie Golf Club.

"It was awesome," Giebler said. "Front nine, not so fun, but the back nine was really good."

Giebler started the day with a two-stroke lead over fellow Cape Girardean Brent Holmes and University of Missouri standout Jace Long, but the possibility of capturing the top seed in the match-play portion of the tournament seemed in serious jeopardy after the opening nine.

Brevin Giebler of Cape Girardeau smiles at his playing partners as he prepares to tee off on the first hole during the second round of the Missouri Amateur on Wednesday at Dalhousie Golf Club. Giebler claimed the medalist honor in the stroke-play portion of the tournament.
Giebler bogeyed Nos. 1, 4, 5 and 9 en route to a disappointing 40.

"I was just hitting them bad," Giebler said. "And then Dad gave me two tips before we teed off on the back nine. I'm not saying what the tips were, but needless to say, he gave me two good tips."

Giebler's father caddies for his son, and the bond between the two appeared stronger than ever over the next nine holes.

"He always caddies for me, and I love it," Giebler said, "I wouldn't change it for the world. We don't disagree very often. He's just there more as a moral support, but he knows my game more than anybody so it's good to have him on the bag."

Whatever his father said worked, Giebler's final nine holes on his scorecard had more circles than a bingo card at the VFW on a Saturday night.

ABOVE: David Babcock of Cape Girardeau lines up a putt during the second round of the Missouri Amateur on Wednesday at Dalhousie Golf Club. More photos from the tournament can be viewed at semoball.com.
LEFT: The Missouri Amateur trophy that will go to the winner of this week’s tournament.
RIGHT: Mental notes a competitor jotted down on a scorecard.
Giebler, a member of Dalhousie, rolled in birdie putts on Nos. 10 and 12, and chipped in for birdie at No. 11.

The hot string continued with an eye-popping par on the 13th.

Giebler and Long both flew the 208-yard par-3, leaving both with a short-sided chip that spelled danger if hit too long.

Long attempted the nearly impossible shot first and flew well over the green. Giebler then hit his shot to within five feet.

"On 13 I got lucky where my ball landed," Giebler said. "[Seeing Long's shot] didn't help so much, but I was just trying to get the ball on the green. That's all I was trying to do -- maybe make three, but definitely make four just to keep it going."

Brent Holmes of Cape Girardeau hits on the 12th hole during the second round of the Missouri Amateur. Holmes finished second in stroke play.
Giebler sank the putt to save par. It was part of his putting clinic on the back nine in which he putted only eight times.

"I felt like I could make every putt I stood over," Giebler said. "I knew they were going in before I ever hit them. That doesn't happen maybe once in a lifetime."

It didn't take long for him to resume his birdies. Giebler knocked a shot from the fairway to five feet on No. 14, then smoked a hybrid from 241 yards to five feet on the par-5 15th to make eagle. The short putt moved him to 6 under on the back and 2 under on the round.

"Everything was just in sync on the back nine," Giebler said.

He capped off the day with a sand save for par on the 16th, then birdied Nos. 17 and 18.

Lee Wilson, of Perryville, tees off on the first hole during the second round of the Missouri Amateur Championship Wednesday, June 20, at Dalhousie Golf Club.
Giebler said it was his lowest total on the back nine at Dalhousie, breaking his previous best of 6-under 30, but his focus already had shifted to match play.

"Match play and medal play are two totally different things," Giebler said. "Anybody can beat anybody on any given day. We'll just have to see who I get paired against and then I'll have to go from there."

Giebler will christen today's first round of match play at 8 a.m. against Bob Hanneken of Fenton, Mo., who had to win a five-man playoff to secure the 64th seed.

Giebler has made it to the round of 32 in the match-play portion twice, once back in 2008 and the latest in 2010.

"It's just different because par is a good score," Giebler said. "Who I'm playing is going to depend on how I play a certain hole. If he hits it into the weeds, I'm not going to be as aggressive. It's just a different mindset when you're playing match play, and it will be fun."

Tim Simmons of Jackson pitches onto the green during the second round of the Missouri Amateur on Wednesday at Dalhousie Golf Club. Simmons shot an 80 and qualified for today’s match play.
Giebler wasn't the only golfer to take the course by storm.

Holmes fired a 3-under-par 69 to post a two-day total of 4 under and earn the second seed. He'll face 63rd-seeded Kevin Bell of St. Louis in the first round.

"My ball striking was on for sure," Holmes said. "I hit 16 greens or so today in that wind. It was a pretty good ball striking. My putting was decent. I rolled in a few short ones, didn't really make any long ones, and I missed a few short ones but hopefully [my putter] gets hot over the next few days."

Holmes, who was two shots back heading into Thursday, started on No. 10 and birdied Nos. 17 and 18 after seven consecutive pars.

He bogeyed No. 1, but more than made up for that with birdies on Nos. 3 and 9.

The trophy sits on the first tee during the second round of the Missouri Amateur Championship Wednesday, June 20, at Dalhousie Golf Club.
"My only bogey was hole one," Holmes said. "I missed a three-foot putt there. It was really my only flaw today. I played really well -- hit the ball great."

Holmes also acknowledged the difference between stroke and match play, but conceded he will not change his approach much.

"Match play is definitely a different game," Holmes said. "You still want to play the course, but at the same time what my playing competitor does will alter what I hit off the tees and how aggressive I want to be. But I'm probably going to play the same. There's a lot of holes out there you can be aggressive on, but I've played it conservatively and kept myself in the hole, and I'm going to keep that approach going into match play."

Two other local golfers also made the cut for match play.

Central graduate Tim Simmons shot an 80 on Wednesday after he opened with a 74, which landed him in a tie for 34th.

Cruz Buchanan, of Rocheport, made a note for himself with some tips during the second round of the Missouri Amateur Championship Wednesday, June 20, at Dalhousie Golf Club.
"I made putts yesterday. I made all my 10 and 15 footers that I need to make, and today I didn't make any of those," Simmons said.

Simmons was anxious to head into the weekend's match-play portion. He will face Ron Eilers of Columbia, Mo., in the first round.

"You have to make birdies in match play," Simmons said. "It doesn't matter if your competitor makes an eight on a hole, if they make five or six birdies, they can be tough to beat."

Ronnie Strong of Jackson tied for 58th to also make match play. Strong shot a 78 on Wednesday, which was two strokes better than his first round.

"I didn't play my best either day but just got in the hole," said Strong, a member of Kimbeland Country Club. "Any time you can make match play in that event, that's a big deal."

The 38-year-old Strong made his first cut for match play in his second time in the Missouri Amateur. He will face Missouri State golfer Will Hogan in today's match play.

"I've got a tiger by the tail," Strong said. "I've played with him before, and he's tough. But anything can happen in match play.

Will Hogan of Springfield, Mo., was the only other player to finish under par after two days. He shot a 68 on Wednesday to finish third at 1 under.

Ben Cantrell of Cape Girardeau tied for 64th with rounds of 79 and 80, but he was among the four golfers that fell short in the playoff for the final spot.

Central graduate Blake Driskell shot a 79 in the second round and missed the playoff by one stroke.

Other local players missing the cut for match play were Kent Phillips, Brady Dixon, Corey Connell, David Babcock, Travis Simmons and Lee Wilson.

Today's first round of match play will be followed by third- and fourth-round matches Friday. The quarterfinals and semifinals will be played Saturday, and the tournament will conclude with a 36-hole championship match Sunday.

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