BLUFFTON — Westin Young got the round of a lifetime. Phil Trueblood got the round he was looking for.
And with that they became the low scorers in the qualifying round for the championship flight in the Lima City Men’s Golf Championship on Thursday at the Bluffton Golf Club.
Young shot a 67, with five birdies and 13 pars. Trueblood, a two-time champion in this tournament, finished with a one-under-par 71.
The top 11 players in the championship flight automatically advanced to the second round of match play today at Colonial Golfers Club. Those who qualified from No. 12 through No. 21 started match play on Thursday.
Young was one under par after the front nine before writing down birdies on his scorecard on four of the first five holes on the back nine.
“I didn’t hit the ball great off the tee or in my approach shots but my short game was on par today. If I didn’t hit the green I got up and down and if I did hit the green I was looking at a 10 or 11-footer and I usually dropped it,” Young said.
“I had 24 putts. I one-putted 12 greens. Everything inside 10 feet went in,” he said.
Young said his putting precision might have come from practicing indoors on a Perfect Practice putting mat, a hot new item for golfers looking to improve on the greens.
“It’s been a big help. I’ve been putting really well lately and I think that’s the No. 1 reason,” he said.
Trueblood, the 2011 and 2014 city champion, has also been the city runner-up four times. So, he obviously knows what he is looking for each step of the way in the tournament.
“In the qualifying round my goal is always to get one of the top couple seeds to make sure I’m going to be in a good spot on the bracket. Normally that takes par or better, somewhere in that range. You don’t have to go out and shoot something crazy low,” he said.
“I want to hit a lot of fairways and greens. I’m not super aggressive. There are holes out there at Bluffton you have to be a little careful on and just make a par. I tried to be a little careful on those and tried to attack it on holes where there were birdie opportunities.”
He got a birdie on No. 17 to go one under par for the day. He chipped in for a par at No. 18 to stay at one under and to clinch the No. 2 qualifying spot.
“It was pretty solid. I hit it pretty well and made a few putts,” Trueblood said.
Kayne Richardson (73), Brady Schroeder (74), Scott Conrad (75), Justin Akers (75), Michael Franks (75), Gary Karch (75), Josh Hollar (76), Steve Creps Jr. (76) and Todd Burkholder (76) also advanced to match play today based on their qualifying scores.
Scott Geier, James Riepenhoff, Brian Kuhlman, Hunter Jolliff and Brian Stevenson were winners in their first championship flight match play rounds on Thursday afternoon.
All flights in the tournament are scheduled to play at Colonial Golfers Club today.