The final eight of the ROC City Rumble are all set after the rounds of 32 and 16 finished on Tuesday afternoon. Nine of the top-10 ranked players in the world made it to the round of 32, but only three advanced to compete in Wednesday evening’s Quarterfinals live on Golf Channel.
One of those three is Kyle Berkshire, who finished first in every single set of his on Monday-Tuesday. Berkshire has been one of the most consistent competitors on the World Long Drive tour this season, but has yet to capture a win on TV.
“It’s definitely something I think about from time to time, you know,” said Berkshire. “I want to win on TV, but at the end of the day, thinking about that’s not going to help. My focus is going to be to keep it really simple, aim up the right edge of that grid and turn it over right-to-left and just repeat that. And whatever happens, happens. I feel like if I execute that, things will turn out pretty good for me tomorrow.”
Not only is Berkshire looking for his first televised tour win, but he’s also within striking distance of the No. 1 ranking.
“In my mind, I’m not too worried about getting it at this point, because I think the way my performance has been this year reflects a No. 1 player in the world performance, or at least really close.
“So, I don’t worry about the numbers or rankings, I just worry about hitting the shot I’m trying to hit at least once every eight balls out here. Anything else is just noise, and it can throw you off of that goal, and that’s what we’re trying to do. That’s what will lead to those results that we want. So, I’m just really trying to dumb it down to the absolute basics, and that really helped today to do that.”
Joining Berkshire amongst the eight quarterfinalists will be Nick Kiefer, who is making a return to the sport after breaking a bone in his right hand last season. This is not only Kiefer’s first TV appearance this season, but also his first event.
“This feels like a relief,” Kiefer said. “I’ve been through a lot the last couple months, and getting through feels great. If I hit the balls I hit out there today, I don’t see why I would have an issue. It just matters who hits it at the right time.”
Also making the final eight together for the first time is Eddie Fernandes and Jeff Gavin, two of the older competitors in the Open Division, who also compete in the Masters (age 45+) Division.
Fernandes was nursing a sore wrist, but doesn’t believe he’ll have any issues on Wednesday.
“Today was tough,” Fernandes said. “If I miss-hit it, it was really stinging my wrist. So, it was a gutty day. It was one of those grinder days, and I knew in the last round if I just hit a good ball – I had eight swings. I hit the first one well, and then the second one went 342 into the wind and I figured if I finished first or second in the last round I was good. These guys are ridiculous, so, I was fortunate enough to win that round and move on to tomorrow.”
51-year-old Jeff Gavin is relishing in the moment of making the TV round for the first time this season.
“I’ve been doing this for 18 years now, so it’s no surprise I guess but it seems to be harder this year because of the format change. There [are] extra rounds, and then doing Masters [Division] as well. It’s like I’ve just got to be better than these guys.”
Wednesday’s quarterfinal matches will be:
Kyle Berkshire vs Jeff GavinJames Tait vs Nick KieferWill Hogue vs Eddie FernandesTim Burke vs Martin Borgmeier
Wednesday’s live telecast begins at 6 p.m. ET on Golf Channel. In addition to the Open Division, the Women’s Division will be featured with four semifinalists advancing to take part in the telecast.