Match the winner
Runner-up Clements, champ Eichhorn each shoot 70 to finish UPGA?tourney
U.P. Golf Association Men’s Championships
Hunter Eichhorn 64-65-68-70–267
Mark Clements 72-67-71-70–280
Gunnar Stein 71-68-73-72–284
Ryan Pepin 74-65-75-76–290
Nick Markell 68-70-77-76–291
Tom LaVigne 73-69-77-74–293
Steve Schmidt 73-73-73-75–294
Mike Solda 68-72-78-76–294
Korey Smith 75-71-77-73–296
Kyle Pouliot 67-78-76-79–300
Johnny Kositzky 76-71-77-77–301
Joe Pontbriand 72-74-82-80–308
By BURT ANGELI
Iron Mountain Daily News
NORWAY — The formality became reality in the final round of the 104th Upper Peninsula Golf Association Men’s Championships at Oak Crest Golf Course.
Carney’s Hunter Eichhorn, already established as one of the nation’s premier amateur golfers, captured his first U.P. men’s title by 13 strokes after shooting a 2-under-par 70 on Friday.
Eichhorn, who had hoped to be preparing this week for the U.S. Amateur, signed on with the U.P. event when his schedule cleared.
“It means a lot,” said Eichhorn, who won four MHSAA U.P. titles at Carney-Nadeau High School and went on to earn 2017 Big East Conference Player of the Year at Marquette University in Milwaukee. “I was excited to come here and get a victory.
“There’s a lot of great U.P. players on that trophy. I’m really thrilled to join them.”
Runner-up Mark Clements of Ishpeming, who matched Eichhorn’s 70 on Friday for a 280 total, won the U.P. title in 1997 and 2001. Mark’s dad, Si, was the U.P. king in 1980 and 1991.
“Hunter is one of the best, there’s no doubt about it,” Clements said when asked where Eichhorn ranks over the years in U.P. golf. “His all-around game is phenomenal. He takes a cut at it and he’s a pleasure to watch.
“I’m glad he came and glad his name is on that trophy because he deserves it. It’s special having it on there, too.”
Eichhorn’s closing round included birdies on the sixth, eighth, 11th and 16th holes.
“It was solid,” Eichhorn said of the final round. “I didn’t make many putts. I hit the ball pretty good. All in all, it was pretty stress-free. That’s what I was hoping for.”
Eichhorn admitted a fourth-round collapse in last month’s Wisconsin State Amateur provided motivation for shooting 21-under at Oak Crest.
“One of the worst losses I’ve ever had,” said Eichhorn, the third-round Wisconsin Amateur leader who ballooned to a 78 in the final round and finished in a tie for fourth. “It was unfortunate it was the last round.
“All in all, it was good for me. It kind of lit a spark under me to come here and compete again.”
Eichhorn, who carried a 13-shot lead into Friday’s final round at Oak Crest, didn’t let the Wisconsin tourney shake him despite one of his two bogeys Friday at the second hole. His other bogey was on the par-3 17th.
“I got off to a tough start today, kind of like I did a couple weeks ago,” Eichhorn said. “I kind of hung in there and got it back together.”
Eichhorn shot 1-under on each nine Friday. His previous rounds were 64, 65 and 68. Clements, finishing second in the U.P. tournament for the first time, posted rounds of 33 and 37 on Friday.
“Today was kind of ho-hum,” said Clements, who was in contention to win the 2017 U.P. title when the tourney was held near to his home at Wawonowin Country Club in Champion. “Hunter struggled a little bit on the greens. He was close all day but he couldn’t get one to go. It was tough putting out there.”
Eichhorn said Oak Crest’s “greens are the defense.”
“They had real solid pins,” the Marquette University sophomore said. “They tricked a lot of us. I was tricked multiple times.
“Credit to them for putting them in tough spots to give us some challenges.”
Houghton’s Gunnar Stein, who rallied past John “Gus” Koskinen and Clements to win the 2017 U.P. championship, finished third with 284, four strokes behind Clements.
Iron Mountain’s Ryan Pepin, who electrified the gallery by holing a 90-foot chip shot Friday to birdie the 17th hole, placed fourth with 290.
Iron Mountain’s Nick Markell, at 291, and Tom LaVigne, 293, claimed the next two spots. Menominee’s Steve Schmidt and Norway’s Mike Solda shared seventh at 294 in championship flight.
There’s no telling now if Eichhorn’s 2019 schedule will allow him to defend his U.P. title at Terrace Bluff in Gladstone.
“Schedule permitting, I hope to make it back next year,” he said. “This year, if I would have made it to the U.S. Am(ateur), I wouldn’t have made it. We’ll see what next year brings.”
≤ Pine Grove in Iron Mountain took home team honors for the first time since 2009. That’s also the year that Jon Ellis won the U.P. title by 12 shots at Oak Crest. Ellis, Pepin, LaVigne, Chad Menza and Jim Markell comprised this year’s Pine Grove squad
≤ Northern Michigan University golfer Carter Mason of Negaunee took the first flight by one stroke over Ontonagon’s Joe Strong, 291 to 292. Mason tied for fifth overall.
≤ Another NMU golfer, Kyle Pouliot of Gladstone, finished 10th in the championship flight with 300 after posting 79 on Friday. He opened the tourney with 67 on Tuesday, placing his second at the time and just three strokes behind Eichhorn.
≤ Other flight champions and their scores included Tom Gereau and Jeff VanHolla sharing the second flight with 305, Jon Ellis and Jim Markell tied for the third flight with 298, Scott Prunick in the fourth flight with 300, Glen Reinke taking the fifth flight with 314, Tom Ward in the sixth flight with 332, Wayne Paul in the seventh flight with 344 and Bill Menza in the eighth flight with 368.