NORMAL — Logan Stauffer has advanced to the championship flight final with two different partners in the Bloomington-Normal Two-Man Best Position Tournament.

Joe Rieger wants to be the third partner to accompany Stauffer to the final and doesn't mind following instructions this week at Weibring Golf Club.

"I just listen to him. He tells me what to do, and I do it," said Rieger.

Stauffer admitted he was tired Friday from playing 36 holes the previous day at the Illinois State Amateur Championship at Bloomington Country Club, where he finished seventh. However, Stauffer and Rieger had a relatively stress-free day in downing Bailey Cooper and Brock Hirn, 5 and 4, in a championship flight quarterfinal match.

"It's been a lot of golf for the week, but it was a great day all in all," said Stauffer.

The other three quarterfinal matches were held Friday to set up Saturday's semifinals.

Defending champions Tom Kearfott and Mike Cushing cruised to a 4 and 3 victory over Kyle Edwards and Steven Mullins. They meet Michael and Branden Mounce at 8 a.m. Saturday as the Mounces birdied No. 18 to oust 2016 champions Alan Bardwell and Tyler Weaver, 1-up.

Rob Wuethrich and Conner O'Neil await Rieger and Stauffer in the 8:10 a.m. semifinal. Wuethrich, who took second in the State Am, and O'Neil had an easy time in taking a 9 and 7 victory over Andy Schuster, whose partner, Shad Lindsey, was unavailable.

Rieger and Stauffer never trailed. When Rieger hit a 3-wood into the wind on the long par-3 seventh within 3 feet, the ensuing birdie gave them a 4-up advantage.

Hirn sank a 12-foot birdie putt at No. 9 to cut Rieger and Stauffer's lead to 3-up, but that's as close as the match got.

Stauffer knows he and Rieger, who went 8-under for 14 holes, will need to step it up on the weekend.

"There's a couple holes, the par-5s, we didn't birdie and I looked at Joe and said that's one thing we can't do tomorrow," said Stauffer. "We have to play solid and just play our game. We have to just come out and have fun and swing free and loose."

Wuethrich and O'Neil, who were teammates at Illinois Wesleyan this season, are rounding into form. They went 9-under for 11 holes and finished out the round after clinching the win with 11 straight birdies.

"Today was by far the best we've hit it," said O'Neil. "We're still trying to figure out the whole working together thing. Today we gave ourselves a ton of looks ... we know if we play like this tomorrow and Sunday there's a really good chance."

Wuethrich, 19, was still on a high from his State Amateur finish and didn't mind teeing it up again Friday morning.

"I couldn't be happier I get to play this much golf," he said. "I had a good night's sleep last night and woke up this morning ready to go."

Cushing, who finished tied for 22nd in the State Amateur, made sure his putter was wide awake. Kearfott called his partner "a putting fool" as Cushing put the match away by making a 25-footer at No. 12 and 40-footer at No. 14. 

"Our ball striking today was next to awful. We missed the green two or three times from not even close," said Kearfott. "But he made really good putts at the right time, and they helped us with a few errant shots here and there."

Kearfott, 57, and Cushing, 43, play a lot of golf with the Mounces at El Paso Golf Club. They know the 21-year-old twins won't be intimidated by the four-time champions.

"We have a lot of confidence, but tomorrow is a whole different story," said Cushing. "They want to beat us."

The Mounces looked in control against Bardwell and Weaver as they held a 2-up lead while surveying a 12-foot birdie putt on No. 14. But Weaver made a 15-footer before the Mounces missed. When Weaver drilled his tee shot on the par-3 17th to 4 feet and sank the birdie putt, the match suddenly was all square.

"We were telling ourselves the whole time around they're really good players and no matter how much up we get it's going to come down to the last few holes," said Branden Mounce.

Both Mounces smoked their tee shots on No. 18 within five yards of each other. Michael Mounce's 100-yard approach shot settled 10 feet above the hole.

Weaver and Bardwell missed their birdie putt from 30 feet. Branden Mounce's birdie effort slid by the edge before his brother stepped up and delivered their ninth birdie of the round.

"I knew the line after he missed it," said Michael Mounce, who won last month's Match Play. "I putted crosshanded today and was not very pleased with it, so I switched on the 18th hole and I made it."

Bardwell and Weaver advanced to the quarterfinals with a 2 and 1 victory over Adam Havens and Josh Wheeler on Friday morning.

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Contact Jim Benson at (309) 820-3404. Follow him on Twitter: @Pg_Benson



Reporter for Lee Enterprises Central Illinois.

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