By Megan Terry, Programs Administrator
The semifinal round of the 111th Utah Women’s State Amateur Championship at Davis Park Golf Course included two rollercoaster matches packed with big-time drives, impressive comebacks and even a couple more Tiger-like fist pumps. The big cats came out to play this year. More specifically, three Cougars and a Wildcat.
BYU Women’s Golf teammates Anna Kennedy and stroke play qualifying co-medalist Annie Yang competed for their first chance at the championship. Yang, a 22-year-old from Provo, Utah, started the match with a birdie on the first hole of the day to go 1up and then made par on No. 2 to go 2up over Kennedy. Anna won the next hole to bring Yang back to 1up. The match went all square on No. 6, and Anna Kennedy gained the advantage with a birdie on Davis Park’s par-3 No. 11. Holes 12 and 13 were halved with pars, and Kennedy won No. 14 to go 2up on Yang. The student-athletes played it safe the remainder of the round, and Anna Kennedy, the 20-year-old sophomore from Parker, Colorado, claimed the 2&1 win to advance to the championship match.
Eighteen-year-old Naomi Soifua, an up-and-coming BYU freshman and member of the women’s golf team, faced three-time Women’s State Am Champion Kelsey Chugg for a chance at the final. Soifua gained the early lead with a birdie on the first hole, but Chugg went 1up on No. 3 and remained up through 10 holes. Soifua returned the match to all square by winning No. 11 with a par, and the next three holes were halved. After Naomi made par on No. 16 to go all square, the two were neck-and-neck heading to the 17th. Chugg relished in the pressure and sunk a birdie putt to go 1up with one to play. Soifua drove the 18th green, and Chugg ended up just short of the green. Naomi’s eagle putt stopped just short of the hole, and Kelsey sunk another big birdie putt to defeat Naomi Soifua 1up and advance to the championship match versus Anna Kennedy.
The championship match started out with a bang, as both competitors sunk their birdie putts. The match was all square through the first three holes until Chugg went 1up on No. 4. Despite Kelsey’s putter being on fire, Kennedy hung in there, and the match went 2up for Chugg through eight holes. The match did not look bright for Anna when Chugg went 3up on No. 13, but she kept her positive mindset and won No. 15. Kelsey went dormie two following the par-3 No. 16, and Kennedy won 17 to take the match to No. 18. Both took the risky route and attempted to drive the 18th green. Chugg ended up just short of the green, and Kennedy pushed her drive 20 yards left. With a tricky approach shot over the greenside bunker, Anna’s pitch shot flew the green. Kelsey chipped on to approximately 20 feet, and Anna’s par putt just missed the lip. Despite Chugg’s birdie putt coming up just short of the hole, Kennedy conceded her par and Kelsey Chugg earned her fourth Utah Women’s State Amateur victory over the past six years.
CLICK HERE to view the final match play bracket.