Daily rainstorms hampered Brandt Garon’s ability to work on his golf game this week, but he showed no ill effects Saturday afternoon.
Threatening clouds showed up late in the day, but Garon played lights-out from start to finish as he won two matches to advance to the third round of the Baton Rouge Amateur Championship.
Seeded 23rd, Garon defeated Chester Saunders, 8 and 6, and then ousted six-time champion Scott Haynie in the afternoon, 5 and 4.
Garon is among 16 players left standing after two rounds of match play. Third-round play begins at 7 a.m. and will be followed by an 18-hole, stroke play final round at 1 p.m.
“It was a little sketchy this week,” said Garon, who will be a sophomore at the University of Louisiana at Lafayette in the fall. “I’ve been working a junior (golf) camp, and every day it rains after camp. I was interested to see how I would hit it.”
The lack of practice proved to be a minor thing, particularly in the afternoon round when Garon birdied seven of 14 holes in his match with Haynie.
“It’s just hard to beat somebody when they’re on like that,” said 10th-seeded Haynie, who was 2-under through 13 holes before an errant drive eventually led to his concession at the 14th. “He was just pure today.”
Of the top 16 seeds, Haynie was one of nine players who were upset Saturday. Five of the top 10 seeds stayed alive, including defending champion Paul Castro.
Castro defeated Steve Thompson, 5 and 4, and followed that with an afternoon win over Dillon Mathies, 6 and 4.
Second seed Donny Schmitt, third seed Russ Gaudin, and fifth seed Emmitt McKnight all won first-round matches only to lose in the afternoon.
Seventh seed Adam Zayor won both his matches, including a 19-hole second-round game against Chris Husser. Zayor and Garon will square off in the third round.
Garon, who advanced to the tournament’s final eight three years ago as a high school junior, rolled in a 25-foot birdie at the par-3, second to take a 1-up lead on Haynie. Haynie squared the match with a birdie at three before the pair matched pars on the next two holes.
Garon then reeled off three consectuive birdies to grab a two-hole lead. On the sixth, Garon put his approach two feet below the pin, and a nifty bunker shot at the par-5 seventh left him a tap-in birdie.
At eight, Garon drained a 10-footer as he would lead 2-up over Haynie at the turn. On the back side, Garon took control with another three-birdie binge beginning at 11.
This time, there wasn’t much work left for Garon’s putter after he put his approach inside 10 feet on 11, 12 and 13. At 14, Haynie drove in the water, and conceded the hole after he failed to hole his fourth shot from fairway.
“Every time I made a birdie, he covered me up. He just played fantastic,” Haynie said.
Zayor was 2-up at the turn in his afternoon match before a chip-in helped Chris Husser get back into the match.
Husser’s approach at 13 came up short of the green, but just outside a nearby water hazard. Husser’s pitch from a steep incline landed in the cup for birdie to win the hole.
Husser eventually birdied 18 to square the match again and force the golfers back to the first tee for a sudden death playoff. Husser pushed his drive into the right rough, and Zayor went on to win the hole with a par.