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TWO MAN GOLF 2 CTM
Dustin Wickenhauser, left, and teammate Jordan Carpenter, right, line up their shot Saturday, July 11, 2009, on the 9th green during qualifying for the Bloomington-Normal Two-Man Best Position Tournament at Ironwood Golf Course in Normal. (The Pantagraph, CARLOS T. MIRANDA)

NORMAL - Dustin Wickenhauser let out a yell while Jordan Carpenter's 60-foot eagle putt was still rolling on No. 18 green at Ironwood Golf Course.

Carpenter was more patient. He waited until the ball disappeared Saturday. Then came Carpenter's celebration.

"It was luck," he said.

The eagle finished off an 11-under-par 61 for the former University High School teammates in the final qualifying day for the Bloomington-Normal Two-Man Best Position Tournament. They tied 2007 champions Ryan and Eric Meier and first-time partners Dave Shulman and Dan Freed for the day's low round, but no one could threaten the 58 shot by Jeff and Brandon Holtz on Friday.

Teenagers Alex Burge and Logan Stauffer along with the father-son tandem of Greg and Scott Wohlford fired 63s Saturday.

It took 65 or better to make the 32-team championship flight. Six of nine teams which shot 65 advanced in a scorecard playoff. Matches begin today for the 240-team field.

Carpenter and Wickenhauser weren't concerned about reaching the Holtzes before they teed off in overcast conditions Saturday morning.

"We don't like to focus on a number," said Wickenhauser. "We knew if we played well we could make the championship flight, and that's what qualifying is about. It doesn't matter in qualifying once you get to matches."

Carpenter and Wickenhauser made the turn at 5-under. They got to 9-under when Wickenhauser sank a 12-foot birdie putt on No. 17 before Wickenhauser drove to the front of the green on the 310-yard final hole with the pin on the other end. That left a treacherous double-breaking monster eagle putt.

"The last thing we wanted to do is leave ourselves a 7- or 8-foot birdie putt coming back," said Carpenter. "We were thinking it was going to break more left than right, so aim just a little right and sure enough ..."

Carpenter knows the duo must sharpen their games on the par-3s for matches. They missed two greens in regulation on the four par-3s and didn't make a single birdie.

"One of the keys in this tournament, or any tournament, is you have to play the par-3s well," said the 2001 Medal Play champion. "You're not necessarily giving back shots by making pars, but you're definitely gaining shots with birdies."

The Meier brothers made the turn at 6-under. When they eagled the par-5 No. 11, the Holtzes were in their sights.

"Then our putters went cold for three holes there," said Eric Meier.

The Meiers settled for pars on Nos. 12-14 before recovering with three birdies. They closed with a par on No. 18, missing a 10-foot putt. Still, there was not that much despair.

"We really didn't hit it that well," said Ryan Meier, who is in graduate school at Vanderbilt in Nashville, Tenn. "We putted pretty decent to shoot what we did."

The 55-year-old Shulman won the Two-Man in 1988 with Elston Mitchell. Shulman believes he has found another good partner in Freed.

"He hit it great all day, irons and drives," said Shulman. "I was kind of there until 16 and 17."

Shulman sank a 20-foot birdie putt on the par-3 16th before making a 10-foot sidehill birdie putt on No. 17. Freed did all the work on the final hole, hitting his drive in front of the green and chipping 2 feet away before sinking the putt.

His job as a scout with the New York Yankees doesn't leave Freed much time for golf.

"We went out for a little practice round yesterday, but that was my only round in July," he said. "I'm very excited."

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