After two rounds of the Georgia PGA Match Play Championship, only two players seeded higher than 14th had been eliminated, with 14 of the 16 remaining players seeded no lower than 18th.
The two highest seeded players who failed to advance were2015 runner-up and No. 4 seed Matthew Evans of Rivermont and two-time champion and No. 9 seed Craig Stevens of Brookstone, a finalist in 2012 and ’13 and a semifinalist in 2014.
Evans lost on the 19th hole in the second round to No. 36 Gary Cressend of Augusta CC, while Stevens also was eliminated in extra holes in the second round by No. 41 Matthew Sanders of Oak Mountain, who needed 27 holes to reach the third round. Sanders defeated another former champion, No. 24 Greg Lee of Chicopee Woods, on the 19th hole in the opening round. Lee was a finalist in 2015 and reached the quarterfinals last year.
The first four rounds of the tournament are played at courses selected by the two players, with the semifinals and final scheduled for Aug. 15 at Peachtree Golf Club, which is hosting the final two rounds for the third straight year.
Cressend will play No. 13 Seth McCain of Jennings Mill in the third round. McCain, a semifinalist in 2014, needed 20 holes to get past Justin Martin of the First Tee of Atlanta in the first round before scoring a 4&2 victory over Cory Cooper of Capital City Club. Cooper eliminated former champion Shawn Koch of Country Club of the South, seeded 20th, 5&3 in the opening round.
Sanders will play No. 8 Kyle Owen of Dunwoody CC in the third round. Owen won his first two matches by scores of 7&5 and 4&3 to reach the third round for the fourth year in a row.
The Owen-Sanders winner will play either Tim Weinhart of Heritage Golf Links or Karen Paolozzi of Druid Hills GC in the third round. Weinhart, a three-time tournament champion and 8-time Georgia PGA Player of the Year, is the top-seeded player this year and won his first two matches 5&4 and 4&3, the latter in the second round against No. 33 Michael Parrott of Brookfield CC, a former tournament runner-up.
Paolozzi, last year’s Georgia PGA PNC champion, is the No. 17 seed. She won her first two matches 2&1 and 3&1, defeating Chris Shircliff of the Standard Club in the second round. Shircliff knocked out No. 16 Gary Miller of the Oaks 3&2 in the first round. This is Paolozzi’s first appearance in the tournament. Weinhart, a semifinalist last year, has been a major factor in the event since 2000, taking back-to-back titles in 2011 and ’12.
The Cressend-McCain winner will play either No. 5 Bill Murchison of Towne Lake Hills or No. 12 Chris Cartwright of West Pines. Murchison, who advanced to the quarterfinals last year, won 6&5 in the first round and 3&2 over No. 28 Danny Elkins in the second round. Cartwright won his first two matches by identical scores as Murchison, getting past Craig Forney of the River Club in the second round. Forney went 19 holes in the first round to defeat No. 21 Eric Reeves of Capital City Club.
The top seven seeds in the bottom half of the bracket all reached the third round, with No. 15 Charlie King of Griffin City GC losing to No. 18 Patrick Richardson of Wilmington Island Club 4&3 in the second round. Richardson needed 20 holes to defeat Oswald Drawdy of Accelerized Golf in the first round.
Richardson will play No. 2 Sonny Skinner of Spring Hill in the third round. Skinner, a former champion and a semifinalist last year, won his second round match on a concession.
The Richardson-Skinner winner will play either No. 7 Mark Anderson of Brunswick CC or No. 10 Todd Ormsby of Highland CC in the third round. Anderson, the tournament’s defending champion, advanced with wins by scores of 3&2 and 5&4, eliminating No. 26 Cary Brown of Valdosta CC in the second round. Ormsby won his two matches by the same scores as Ormsby.
Brian Dixon of Fox Creek, the No. 11 seed and 2014 champion, reached the third round for the 11th straight year, taking his first two matches by scores of 3&2. Dixon lost his third round match eight years in a row before breaking that streak en route to his title in 2014, and made it to the quarterfinals last year. Dixon defeated No. 22 Tommy Brannen of Augusta CC in the second round, with Brannen getting past 2013 champion Donn Perno of Peachtree GC, the winner of the recent Georgia PGA event at Rivermont, in the opening round.
Dixon will play No. 6 Joe Finemore of Big Canoe, the most decisive winner of the first two rounds. Finemore captured his first two matches by scores of 6&5 and 4&3, defeating No. 38 Ted Fort of Marietta Golf Center in the second round. Fort ousted No. 28 Jordan Arnold of Achasta 2-up in the first round.
Former champion David Potts of Country Club of the South had a tough match in the first round, edging Brian Corn of Peachtree GC 1-up, before rolling past Richard Hatcher of Ansley GC’s Settindown Creek 6&5 in the second round. Potts, seeded 14th and a quarterfinalist last year, will play No. 3 James Mason of the Orchard in the third round. Mason won 4&3 and 3&2, the latter over No. 30 Scott Allen of Pointe South in the second round.
Third round matches must be completed by July 8, with the quarterfinals being played later in July and early August.