THUNDER BAY -- Robert Cumming is two wins away from another Strathcona Invitational title.
The four-time champion advanced to the semifinals of the venerable golf tournament with a pair of victories Saturday at the Strathcona Golf Course, including a 5&4 quarterfinal victory over defending champion Jordan Gehl.
It was a smooth consistent day for the golfer who put his name on the winners’ board in 1996, 2005, 2011 and 2012.
“I just handled myself well,” Cumming said. “I hit a few bad shots but I didn’t let it bother me and I came back with good holes after that so I didn’t really have any streaks of bad shots.”
Gehl, who downed 1983 champ and 2012 finalist Mark Willianen in the first round of the championship, said he felt like Cumming didn’t make many mistakes to give him easy chances to win holes.
Forcing the opponent to be aggressive and take risks is key after grabbing a lead, Cumming said.
“Once you get ahead you don’t want to make any bogeys. If they’re going to come back make them make birdies, make them come to you,” he said.
That led to the two of them shaking hands on No. 14 after Gehl watched his par putt slide past the hole.
Cumming’s opponent in Monday morning’s semifinal will be Joe Scharf, who outlasted Andrew Scaverelli 2&1 in their quarterfinal.
That match was even heading to No. 16 but Scavarelli three-putted on the par-five to give Scharf the lead and he closed out the match on No. 17.
While the match finished fairly comfortably for Scharf, it hardly started out that way.
Scharf, who is known as much for his curling talent as skills on the links, bogeyed four of the first six holes to find himself down.
“I got off to a shaky start and just held things together late in the round,” he said. “I just wasn’t hitting the ball the same way I had been this morning.”
Scharf was able to piece his round back together as they approached the turn, knowing all he had to do was win a couple of holes to swing the momentum.
The second semifinal will pit Evan DeGrazia, who had the lowest round in Saturday’s qualifier, against Jordan Potter.
DeGrazia held on for a one-up victory over a hard-charging Dave Joubert.
Potter was able to score a comfortable 3&2 victory over Jeremy Kirk.
The senior final will see Randy Fossum take on Hank Wilke.
Tony Stokaluk and Guy Wolframe will contest the super-senior division final.
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