Giebler, Holmes, Simmons advance in match play at Missouri Amateur

Friday, June 22, 2012
Brevin Giebler of Cape Girardeau shakes hands with Bob Hanneken of Fenton, Mo., on the 14th green after Giebler won the first-round match 5 and 4.

Brevin kept it brief.

Brent barely beat the Bell.

The end results were the same during the first round of match play at the 105th Missouri Amateur on Thursday at Dalhousie Golf Club.

The two Cape Girardeau golfers, who finished one-two in the stroke-play portion of the tournament, moved on to today's second round of matches with victories.

Brevin Giebler, who blistered his final nine holes of stroke play to grab the medalist honor Wednesday, beat Bob Henneman of Fenton, Mo., 5 and 4 in Thursday's first match in just more than two hours.

Brent Holmes, of Cape Girardeau, reacts after hitting out of the sand trap on the third green during the first round of match play the Missouri Amateur Championship Wednesday, June 21, at Dalhousie Golf Club. Holmes defeated Kevin Bell of St. Louis 2 and 1. (ADAM VOGLER)

Brent Holmes, who finished second to Giebler in stroke play, overcame a 3-down deficit after three holes to defeat Kevin Bell of St. Louis 2 and 1.

Jackson's Tim Simmons also advanced with a 1-up victory over 61-year-old Ron Eilers of Columbia, Mo. Simmons birdied the final hole to break a deadlock.

Jackson's Ronnie Strong was ousted by Will Hogan of Springfield, Mo., falling 6 and 4.

Giebler came back to reality quickly in match play with a bogey on his first hole after shooting a blazing 8-under-par 28 over the back nine a day earlier. But reality still was good for Giebler, who went 1-up with his bogey 5 on the first hole.

"I started off a little slow," Giebler said. "But then I just relaxed, and he made a few errors early. I got up, and once I got up I just kept playing steady. He made mistakes, and I didn't."

Brevin Giebler of Cape Girardeau hits out of the sand on the 13th hole during his first-round match against Bob Hanneken of Fenton, Mo., at the Missouri Amateur on Thursday at Dalhousie Golf Club. Giebler sank the shot and went on to win the match 5 and 4. (ADAM VOGLER)

Giebler was 2-up after two holes, won five holes on the front nine and was 3-up at the turn.

Giebler continued to wield a hot putter that he used just eight times over the final nine holes of his previous round.

"I still felt like I could make every putt I looked at today," Giebler said. "My swing was a little shaky at first, but it came around."

Giebler threw in some luck with his sizzling putter, and the sum was too much for Henneman.

Giebler's good fortune culminated on the par-3 No. 13, where his blast out of a greenside bunker won the hole for a dormie 5-up lead.

Brent Holmes of Cape Girardeau watches his drive on the second tee during the first round of match play at the Missouri Amateur on Thursday at Dalhousie Golf Club. Holmes defeated Kevin Bell of St. Louis 2 and 1. (ADAM VOGLER)

"I had a lucky break when I chipped in for birdie," Giebler said. "Actually it was kind of a line drive out of the bunker, and it kind of deflated him."

He closed out the match by equaling Henneman's par on the following hole.

"I just played my game," Giebler said. "I'd played with him before, so I knew what kind of player he was. I just knew if I played my game, I could beat him."

Giebler twice has won first-round matches at the Missouri Amateur, but he has yet to advance to the third round.

"[Today] that will be my goal," Giebler said.

Tim Simmons of Jackson, left, looks over a putt with caddie Luke Rayburn on the green at No. 3 during his match with Ron Eilers of Columbia, Mo. Simmons advanced with a 1-up victory.

Giebler will face Eric Ecker of Springfield, Mo., at 8 a.m. today. Ecker defeated Evan Monheiser of Blue Springs, Mo., 2 and 1.

The 28-year-old Holmes, who played collegiate golf at Louisville, had to draw on his vast experience to weather a shaky start. He had reached the Missouri Amateur semifinals in his last appearance about seven years ago.

Holmes bogeyed his first three holes against Bell, who will be a junior at Rhodes College, a Division III school in Memphis.

"I use to, in my younger years playing, get down on myself a little bit, but now I'm just out here having fun, playing amateur golf," Holmes said. "You just have to keep plugging away. What I knew was, I'm hitting the ball well the last two days. It showed. I just wanted to stick with it, and that's sort of what happened."

Holmes, who shot a 3-under-69 in the second round of stroke play, three-putted the first two greens and flew the green on the par-4 No. 3 to go 3-down.

ABOVE: Ronnie Strong of Jackson reacts to a missed putt on the second green during his first-round match against Will Hogan of Springfield, Mo. Hogan won 6 and 4. LEFT: Tim Simmons of Jackson follows his tee shot on the first hole. Simmons defeated Ron Eilers of Columbia, Mo., 1-up.

"Not the start I wanted," Holmes said. "I really had trouble getting the pace of the greens starting out. It was a little bit faster than yesterday. I don't know if I was a little too aggressive on those putts."

He also overshot the green with his approach on No. 4 but managed to get up and down to a short-sided pin. He rolled in about a 10-foot putt for his par 4 to remain 3-down.

"It at least got me jump started there," Holmes said. "It woke me up a little bit."

Holmes missed only one fairway off the tee all day, and he took advantage when Bell's shots began to stray. Holmes picked up two holes on his opponent with pars on Nos. 7 and 9. Bell had to hit out of rough on each and made bogey.

Holmes then won three of the first four holes on the back to seize control of the match.

Tim Simmons, of Cape Girardeau, watches his drive on the first tee during the first round of match play the Missouri Amateur Championship Wednesday, June 21, at Dalhousie Golf Club. Simmons defeated Ron Eilers, of Columbia, one up. (ADAM VOGLER)

He pulled even on the par-4 10th with his first birdie of the day. His approach from 108 yards landed about two feet from the pin, and Bell conceded the putt before he missed his own birdie chip.

"I think that was the turning point of the match," Holmes said.

But a few crazy curves still had to be negotiated.

Holmes birdied the par 4 12th when he rolled in a seven-foot putt from the fringe, moving ahead for the first time in the match.

Holmes went 2-up on the par-3, 208-yard 13th hole despite a double-bogey 5.

Brent Holmes, of Cape Girardeau, chips onto the fourth green during the first round of match play the Missouri Amateur Championship Wednesday, June 21, at Dalhousie Golf Club. Holmes defeated Kevin Bell of St. Louis 2 and 1. (ADAM VOGLER)

His tee shot went over the green and settled into the rough. He chipped on but immediately summoned Bell and an official.

"I was just trying to hit a little spinner and flip it onto the green and double-hit it," Holmes said. "Nobody saw it, but you know, that's the integrity of the game of golf. I let Kevin know right away that it was a double-hit, but he was so kind as to let me win that hole with a 5."

Holmes two-putted after the penalty stroke. Bell not only failed to capitalize, but he lost the hole when he needed two pitches to get on and three-putted for a triple-bogey 6.

Bell looked like he might be finished when his approach shot found the greenside bunker on the par 4 14th. Holmes was looking at a 12-foot birdie putt for a 3-up lead, but Bell holed out from a short-sided bunker for birdie to slice into the lead.

"That's the best bunker shot I've seen in a long time," Holmes said. "That hurt, but I told my caddie, ‘That's golf.' In match play you can never know what a guy's going to do."

Bell was ready to accept anything after giving away the previous hole.

"The sand shot was big after we both played pretty bad on the par 3, me making triple and him making double," Bell said. "But making that sand shot got me right back in the match. It gave me a chance."

Holmes made an up-and-down par to preserve his lead on the par-5 15th, then opened a 2-up lead with a three-foot birdie putt on the par-4 16th to go dormie. Holmes' birdie came moments after Bell's birdie attempt lipped out from about eight feet.

Holmes closed out the match with an eight-foot par save on the par-4 17th.

"He just kind of made more putts than me at the end," Bell said. "That's what it came down to. It was a good match, though."

Holmes will face Garrett Sneed of Chesterfield, Mo., this morning in the second round. Sneed advanced with a 6 and 5 win over Chris Martin of Rolla, Mo.

Simmons held a 3-up lead with four holes left but bogeyed Nos. 15, 16 and 17 to allow Eilers to pull even.

"Actually it was pretty one-sided for a while," Simmons said. "I tried to give it away at the end."

The players then endured a 30-minute rain delay before going to the par-5 18th hole.

"It was good for me," Simmons said about the delay. "I was getting ahead of myself, and it kind of gave me time to calm down."

After the delay, Simmons chipped to within a foot for a birdie putt that was conceded by Eiler, who then missed about a three-foot birdie putt.

It was Simmons' first venture into match play at the Missouri Amateur after not making it out of stroke play the past two years.

"I need to be a little more patient and expect to play all the holes," Simmons said about lessons learned from his late-round swoon. "I need to stay in the moment of what I'm trying to get done next."

Simmons will play Joseph Atkisson of Springfield, Mo., in the second round. Atkisson needed 21 holes to get past Russell Holzbaur of Kansas City, Mo.

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