Thursday, June 24, 2004

Former champs loom large in Met semifinals


Hall, Volpenhein have experience, but challengers won't go quietly

By Colleen Kane
Enquirer staff writer

Two former champions will face two first-time semifinalists today in the Metropolitan Amateur at Triple Crown for a chance to play in Friday's 36-hole championship final.

Six-time Met champ Jim Volpenhein advanced after defeating 2002 Met champion David Allan 2 and 1 Wednesday morning and beating John Craynon 3 and 2 Wednesday afternoon. Defending champion Kevin Hall easily downed Todd Pieper 6 and 4 and Greg Sullivan 5 and 4.

Hall will face Michael Marchese III at 7:30 a.m., and Volpenhein will play Mitch Mahoney at 7:45 a.m.

This is the furthest Marchese and Mahoney have advanced in the Met, but that doesn't mean they don't have enough experience to give the finals veterans a run.

Marchese has played in at least 10 Mets - he has lost count - and made it to the round of 16 before. On Wednesday morning, he won after Sean Brenner conceded on hole 13 when Marchese was 4-up. In his afternoon match against former St. Xavier/future Xavier golfer Brian Keating, he went 1-up on No. 5 and never fell behind again. He made few mistakes to win 2 and 1.

"Even my misses were straight," Marchese said. "I feel pretty good. But it's a good thing it ended when it did. I have no gas left."

Marchese knows what he'll face in Hall today. He has played him a few times at Glenview Golf Course.

"It's a tough assignment to say the least," Marchese said. "Let's just put it this way: I'm due."

Mahoney, a former Miami golfer who graduated in 1997, has never faced Volpenhein but knows his game.

"I have a lot of respect for him and his game," Mahoney said. "Hopefully I'll bring the game I had the first two rounds."

Mahoney, one of the only golfers who carried his own bag for the full 36 holes Wednesday, said he was worn out by the end of the day. He defeated Jerod Cahill 3 and 2 in the morning and Joe Chandler 1-up in the afternoon.

"Today was a bit of a struggle," Mahoney said. "I played well enough to win, but I didn't play up to my potential. I'm just happy to get through to the semis."

Mahoney never led in his match with Chandler and fell behind by two holes twice. He tied it on 13, and the match remained tied until 18, a hole he had double-bogeyed after hitting into a hazard at the Met qualifier last year.

"I was thinking, 'Just don't do what you did last year,' " Mahoney said.

He did, knocking his tee shot into the woods. But Chandler had equal trouble when he hit into some tall grass. Mahoney landed his next shot on the green and made a 30-foot putt for par to win.

Semifinal pairings

TODAY

7:30 a.m. - Kevin Hall vs. Michael Marchese III

7:45 p.m. - Jim Volpenhein vs. Mitch Mahoney

Results

ROUND 3

Kevin Hall d. Todd Pieper 6 & 4

Greg Sullivan d. Dave Lockard 2 & 1

Michael Marchese III d. Sean Brenner 6 & 5

Brian Keating d. Adam Buckley 4 & 3

John Craynon d. D. Stoffregen 5 & 4

Jim Volpenhein d. David Allan 2 & 1

Mitch Mahoney d. Jerod Cahill 3 & 2

Joe Chandler d. Jeff Floyd 2 & 1

QUARTERFINALS

Hall d. Sullivan 5 & 4

Marchese III d. Keating 2 & 1

Volpenhein d. Craynon 3 & 2

Mahoney d. Chandler 1-up




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