Top seeds advance in 1st round of match play at Utah State Amateur
Tom Smart, Deseret News
OGDEN — For the most part, the top-seeded players advanced in the first round of match play at the 116th Utah State Amateur on Wednesday at Ogden Golf and Country Club. With 64 players competing in 32 first-round matches, only 12 lower-seeded players pulled off upsets to advance to Thursday morning's round of 32.
Further, the top nine seeds won their matches. However, while some of those nine thrived others merely survived.
Defending champion and No. 1 seed Cole Ogden was one of the top seeds to thrive. He got things started off in the first match out at 7:30 a.m. and defeated No. 64 seed Bubba Hall 3-and-2. After swapping birdies with Hall on the first two holes, the rising BYU senior went on to win three of the next four holes to take a 3-up lead and cruise the rest of the way.
"Overall, today I played really well, making four birdies and no bogeys," said Ogden, who feels good about how he's playing right now and doesn't see much need for any adjustments.
Other top seeds that posted easy victories and never trailed in their respective matches included No. 8 seed Jeffrey Jolley and No. 9 seed John Owen.
Jolley, a 2010 semifinalist, won three of his first four holes to eliminate No. 57 seed Nick Griego 4-and-3. Owen had an even easier time in his match, ousting No. 56 seed John Lindsay 7-and-5 for the day's biggest margin of victory.
Weber State's Devon Purser, the No. 3 seed, also had a fairly easy victory over No. 62 seed Mark Mortensen, though the 3-and-1 final may not show it. Purser never trailed in his match and took a 2-up lead after No. 7, which he maintained for several holes until closing the match out on the 17th hole.
Sixth-seeded Kurt Owen won six holes in his match against No. 59 seed Bob Mitchell and also never trailed, winning 3-and-2. In a similar result, fifth-seeded Tanner Alder beat Cannon Randall 3-and-2, winning five holes and only losing two. Last but not least of the top seeds that thrived was No. 4 seed Tommy Higham, who won four of his first seven holes to take down 61st seed Andrew Cottle 2-and-1.
The two top seeds that eked out victories and merely survived on Wednesday included medalist and No. 2 seed Jacob Holt and No. 7 seed Mitchell Schow.
Holt, who shot two strokes better than anyone else over the 36 holes of qualifying on Monday and Tuesday, found himself down on the back nine against his opponent, No. 63 seed Dylan Chugg, before rallying to win 2-and-1.
After taking a bogey on the ninth hole to go 1-down, the Tooele native knew he would likely need a birdie to re-square the match. However, when a birdie failed to come, Holt was fortunate that Chugg struggled by making three straight bogeys on Nos. 14-16.
Holt admitted that he was relieved to get a tough match out of the way early. He hopes to build on it going forward.
"It was a little bit of a struggle today, but it's always nice to pull out a win on those days," said Holt, who looked to practice his putting Wednesday afternoon.
Schow, who faced No. 58 seed Brock Stanger, looked to be headed for an early exit as he led only one hole during the entire match. After a birdie on No. 1 to go 1-up, Schow quickly found himself 3-down through 8 holes. However, he fought back to square the match on No. 16 and again on No. 18 to force extra holes, where he closed out the match in 19 holes on the No. 1 green.
The lowest-seeded player to advance was No. 55 seed Jesse Clark, beating No. 10 seed Eldon Richter 3-and-2. Clark was one of the last players to leave Ogden Golf and Country Club Tuesday night as he was one of 12 players competing in a playoff for the final 10 match-play spots.
Other notable names to advance included 2012 champion Jon Wright, 2008 champion Dan Horner and 1999 runner-up Kirk Siddens.
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