THUNDER BAY -- The wind was whipping, but it was nothing more than a cool breeze for Ryan Pietila.
Pietila shot a two-under 70 on Saturday to take top spot in the regular division qualifying round at the Strathcona Invitational, presented by Teleco and Tbaytel.
He'll lead the pack into the championship flight, which starts Sunday. Pietila edged two-time defending champion Robert Cumming,who shot a one-under 71.
Pietela, playing in the championship flight for the ninth time, will take on Robbie Untinen when match play begins on Sunday. Cumming will start with David Joubert, a former finalist at the prestigious event. Other match-ups include AON District Open champion Jeremy Kirk taking on Dallas Burgess, Scott Glomba pairing up with Mike Satten, Scott Wilke versus Brian Good, Randy Boudreau playing John Shaw, Jordan Connor against Cory Carr and Jeff Hunter taking on Steve Gibson, another former finalist.
Some big names failed to advance to the championship round, including seven-time champion Barry Caland and Brett Shewchuk, winner of three straight titles from 2015 to 2017.
Three-time District Amateur champion Hank Wilke moved on in senior match play, though 1993 Invitational champ Randy Robinson was ousted by Phil Bell. In the super senior division, defending champion Ryan Untinen is moving on, though Rollie Turrie, who won the Invitational in 2006 was taken out by John DeGrazia. In masters play, four-time champion John Valley edged out two-time masters champ Brian Mallon.
Play continues on Sunday.