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Sunday, Jul. 22, 2018
Ward Kyle carries local hopes into Sunday
by Randy Pascal

The final four is set at the 69th Annual Idylwylde Invitational, as 2014 champion Kyle Rank attempts to hold off three potential first time winners.

Joining Rank in the semi-finals, as championship flight was whittled down from sixteen to four, are 2015 runner-up Mike Roberts, fellow Torontonian Justin Fluit, and recent high school graduate Ward Kyle from Sudbury.

Rank was considered by many to be the pre-tournament favourite after qualifying for the final 16 every year since 2011, making his way twice to the final, losing to Braeden Cryderman in 2013 before winning it all twelve months later.

He slipped past Todd Crowder 1-up in the morning match, and eliminated Evan MacLean 5 & 4 in the afternoon session. Rank will face Kyle, who posted back to back 5 & 3 victories over Eric Edelman and Vince Palladino on Saturday.

Meanwhile, Roberts, who needed a single hole playoff to keep his championship hopes alive on Friday night, made the most of his opportunity, taking down low qualifier Matt Bortolotto 4 & 3, and besting Dan Couillard 3 & 1.

He will do battle with Fluit, making his second appearance at the event, and qualifying for championship flight play both times. Fluit stopped Steve Wrixon 5 & 4 and local hopeful Nick Quesnel 5 & 3.

Following are the remaining results from the round of sixteen matches in the morning:

Dan Couillard defeats Mike Andrighetti 6 & 5
Nick Quesnel defeats Owen Rigg 3 & 2
Evan MacLean defeats Frank Kucher 1-up
Vince Palladino defeats Bart Hurley 4 & 2

It should be noted that MacLean, all of 15 years of age, sank a 30-foot putt for birdie on the 18th hole, in downing Kucher and moving on to quarter-final play.

Such is the depth of the field at the 2016 Idylwylde Invitational that the first flight final four features a combined total of five finalists from championship flight play in the past seven years.

Two-time champion Ryan Willoughby will face Ryan Hagger, the Blind River native who has also hoisted the trophy on two occasions - 2012 and 2005. The remaining semi-final pits two-time runner Jay Jewett against Steph Mayotte, one of three golfers who were relegated late Friday when Roberts birdied the first playoff hole.

The final match is set to tee-off shortly after 2:00 p.m. on Sunday, and admission is free for anyone interested in following the final pairing.

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