Friendship set aside for golf championship

Missouri’s Unger tops one of his supporters to advance to the Francis Hagan semis.
Sunday, June 20, 2004 | 12:00 a.m. CDT; updated 6:04 p.m. CDT, Sunday, July 20, 2008

During the college golf season, they are friends; Saturday they were competitors.

Michael Unger and John Weston shared the course many times before Saturday; Unger as a player on the Missouri men’s team and Weston as one of his supporters.

Unger went head to head with Weston in the quarterfinals of the Francis Hagan Match Play Championship on Saturday at Lake of the Woods Golf Course.

Unger, a Denver native, won 3 and 2 but said he has a lot of respect for Weston and it was a hard match.

“It’s good winning but Weston is a good guy,” Unger said. “He is a really classy guy, and he’d be the last person I’d want to beat if I had to beat someone, but it’s a tournament and you have to try to beat everyone.”

In Saturday’s first round, Unger defeated Ed Paten 4 and 2. He said his turnaround came on the 15th hole when he hit it over the green but managed to make par while Paten three putted.

Unger said hit the ball well once he got going.

“I didn’t hit it all that well this week when I was practicing,” Unger said.

Sixteen players teed off in the morning’s first round and eight made it to the second. Four players will return today to play for the championship.

Brad Daugherty advanced after beating Marcus Rowe 1-up in the first round and Chris Johnson 1-up in the second round.

Joe Bellmer defeated Jerry Murphy in the morning round 2 and 1 and beat Dan Frost in the afternoon 4 and 3.

Douglas Solliday beat Brian Brown 4 and 3 in the opening match and Tim Rooney 2 and 1 in the late match.

Unger and Daugherty will tee off against each other today in the first match. The winner will play the Solliday-Bellmer winner.

Daugherty said he couldn’t believe Johnson, 15, was as good as he was for his age.

Daugherty said he rarely gets worried; if he does, it is when he is losing.

One down going into the 17th hole, Daugherty put his tee shot on the green close to the cup, then putted in for an eagle to even the score.

On the 18th, Daugherty hit another great tee shot while Johnson’s went to the right. Daugherty reached the green in two and Johnson in three. Daugherty’s first putt came from the opposite side of the green and stopped about 5 feet from the cup. Johnson also tried for a long putt that rolled within inches of the cup, but Daugherty made his putt, giving him the win.

“Really this is all I have been practicing for, being able to hit good shots when you need to hit good shots,” Daugherty said.

Daugherty said his putting helped.

“I’m really proud of the way I putted,” Daugherty said. “I couldn’t close them out with it early on, but it came through when it needed to and that was really big because this is the third time I have made it to Sunday, the semifinals.”

Daugherty said, if nothing else, he wants to get through the morning match today and play in the championship because he has never made it past the semifinals.

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