By Megan Terry
Kendra Dalton defeated former BYU teammate Lea Garner 1up in the final match at Victory Ranch to become the 110th Utah Women’s State Amateur champion. As expected, both seasoned competitors gave the crowd a nail-biting show and played the course with impressive accuracy.
Dalton started the match with a birdie on the first hole to go 1up over Garner, but the match went all square on the second hole when Garner answered with a birdie on the 166-yard par 3. The match was back and forth all day. Garner gained the widest lead of the match through nine holes at 2up, but Dalton refused to let Garner get too comfortable and won the next two holes to return the match to all square.
The back nine was neck and neck with every shot, and the match was all square through 13 until Garner won the par-3 No. 14 with a par to go 1up. After Dalton made birdie on 15, the match remained all square through 16.
“I made a really good par on 17, which is a difficult par 3, and it gave me the 1up lead going to 18, which was big since our match was so close all day,” stated Dalton.
She secured her victory on 18 by halving the hole with pars to add another achievement to her already lengthy list of notable accomplishments, including 12 top 20 collegiate finishes in two seasons.
“It was a great match. I have always looked up to Lea, and she gave a great fight today. It’s a relief to have dealt with the nerves well enough so I could play my best. It feels so good to have my hard work pay off.”
Dalton (5) defeated Cobair Collinsworth (16) 5 and 4 during the semifinal round at Victory Ranch in Kamas, Utah, on her way to becoming victorious. The match was all square through the first two holes, but she dominated the rest of the match by maintaining the advantage and going as many as 6up through 10 holes over Collinsworth.
The semifinal match between former BYU teammates Lea Garner (2) and 2015 runner-up Brooklyn Hocker (3) was tight from start to finish. Hocker went 1up on Garner on the third hole and remained either 1up or 2up through 12 holes. Garner made birdie on 13 to return the match to all square and birdied the next hole to turn the tables and go 1up. Hocker answered with a birdie on 16, and Garner thrived under pressure and made birdie on 17 to go dormie. Garner secured her spot in the final match against Kendra Dalton by halving the 18th hole with Hocker to finish the match at 1up.
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