Montana Men's Match Play

BIGFORK - Tyler Erickson of Bozeman is the new Montana Men's Match Play golf champion.

Erickson defeated two-time champ Jon Heselwood of Missoula 2 and 1 in the 36-hole finale Sunday under sunny skies at Eagle Bend Golf Club.

Heselwood has dominated the event in its first four years, winning in 1998 and 1996, and finishing second in 1997 as well as this year.

Erickson was in the lead most of the day, but it took some excellent shot making to hold off Heselwood.

Erickson was four holes ahead after the morning round, and still led by four after an eagle on the par-5 10th hole of the afternoon round (the 28th hole of the match).

Heselwood cut the deficit back to three by winning the par-3 12th with a 50-foot birdie putt from the back of the green. Erickson seemed certain to win the next hole, the short par-4 13th, after sticking his approach to within tap-in range for a birdie. But Heselwood rammed home a 14-foot birdie to halve the hole.

Heselwood then birdied the 446-yard 14th to trim Erickson's lead to two with four holes to play.

They halved the next two holes with pars, Heselwood getting a big break on the 211-yard, par-3 16th when his tee shot caromed off a rock near the pond that fronts the green and bounced safely into play.

Heselwood needed to win the 17th hole to stay alive, but tied Erickson on the short par-4. That clinched the match and the championship for Erickson.

In the 18-hole finale of the president's flight, Dave Streeter of Whitefish defeated George Mahoney of Polson 2-up. Mahoney cut Streeter's lead to one with a birdie on the 17th, but Streeter then won the 18th with a birdie to close out the victory.

Monday - 6/14/99

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