Down to the final 4

Published 6:33 pm Sunday, September 4, 2011

Chris Baas, of Albert Lea, putts on Hole 11 Sunday during the 84th annual Shortstop Golf Tournament. Baas defeated Ryan Nelson to earn a spot in the semifinals. -- Andrew Dyrdal

The Shortstop Golf Tournament was slimmed down to its final four golfers Sunday in the championship flight at Green Lea Golf Course.

The final two

Defending Shortstop champion, Phil Schmidt, right, tees off Sunday on Hole 12 at Green Lea Golf Course while his opponent, Steve Petersen, watches. -- Andrew Dyrdal

pairings, which tee off at 7:30 a.m. Monday, included a matchup between two golfers who have dominated the Shortstop over the past 10 years.

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Top-seeded Phil Schmidt earned a semifinals matchup against fifth-seeded Chris Baas. Schmidt is the defensing Shortstop champion who also won the tournament in its first year at Green Lea in 2006. Baas has four titles over the past 10 years including championships in 2001 through ’03 and 2008.

The other two golfers facing off Monday are sixth-seeded Brett Richards and seventh-seeded Eric VanDyck.

Baas bounced back during the qualifying round Saturday after missing the championship flight last year or the first time in his career. Baas opened Sunday’s match by defeating 12th-seeded Mike Westland 3 and 1, before beating 13th-seeded Ryan Nelson 6 and 5.

“I was defiantly having some swing issues last year and now everything’s getting a little better,” Baas said. “I had some really good moments today, and I had some not so good moments.”

Baas said he will have to play very well to beat Schmidt who he considers a great friend.

Brett Richards tees off Sunday.

Schmidt earned his way to the semifinals by defeating 16th-seeded Tony Richie 5 and 4 and beating ninth-seeded Steve Petersen 4 and 3. Schmidt hit a hole-in-one on No. 15 last year to qualify for the semifinals before defeating Mick Hockinson 4 and 3 in the finals.

Schmidt said Sunday he was up-and-down against Petersen.

“I came out of the gates really steady,” he said. “I hit it solid, made a lot of pars and a couple birdies. Coming down the stretch Petersen threw some birdies at me. He’s a really good player but I hung in there.”

Schmidt said he expects a “bulldog fight” against Baas in the semifinals.

“It’s going to be a battle,” Schmidt said. “But we’re going to have fun. Whichever the way the coin gets flipped doesn’t matter. Whoever wins, wins. It’s just going to be a fun day.”

On the other side of the championship flight’s bracket are two players looking to win their first Shortstop championship.

Richards defeated 11th-seeded and 2005 Shortstop champion, Mike Nelson, 2 and 1 in the first round and beat 14th-seeded Devin Kaasa 2 and 1 in the quarterfinals.

VanDyck defeated 10th-seeded Mike Elseth in a 19th hole playoff before beating second-seeded Andy Jacobson 2 and 1.

The weather cooperated Sunday after heavy rain and lighting postponed Saturday’s qualifying round twice. Monday’s weather is forecast to be sunny with calm winds and a high near 67, according to the National Weather Service.

The Shortstop’s championship match is expected to start between 1 and 1:30 p.m., according to Green Lea management.