Braydon Swapp (left) and Kelton Hirsch (right), photos by Megan Terry and Fairways Media
By Megan Terry, Programs Administrator
Brigham Young University Golf’s Kelton Hirsch defeated 2016 Champion Patrick Fishburn in the 119th Utah State Amateur Championship semifinal match. Hirsch carded 69 (-1) in his opening stroke play qualifying round at Ogden Golf & Country Club and 67 (-5) on Tuesday at Hubbard Golf Course at Hill Air Force Base to earn the No. 3 match play seed. He faced Ike Tingey (62) in the Round of 64 and defeated him 4&2 to advance to the next round versus No. 30 seed Luke Morgan. Hirsch won the first four holes of the day and remained up throughout the rest of the match to earn the victory 4&3.
In the Round of 16, Kelton took on Glen Spencer (51), who proved to be Hirsch’s biggest challenge yet. Spencer pushed the BYU golfer to the 17th green where the hole was halved and Hirsch claimed the 2&1 victory. Kelton then faced Ogden Golf & Country Club’s Ryan Sarlo during the quarterfinal round and defeated him 2up.
Kelton appeared unnerved and completely prepared in his semifinal match against Defending Champion Patrick Fishburn. Patrick went 1up on Hirsch on the first hole, but Kelton answered with a birdie on No. 2 to go all square. The entire match was back and forth; Kelton went 1up on No. 4, then Fishburn went up on No. 6. Hirsch was 1up through nine holes and remained up on Patrick until the match returned to all square on 13. The tables turned only for a moment when Fishburn won No. 15, but Hirsch won 16 and hole 17 was halved to send the match to OGCC’s par-3 No. 18. Kelton stuck his approach within 25 feet of the hole, while Patrick ended up approximately 50 feet short. After Fishburn’s birdie putt stopped short, Hirsh drained his birdie and celebrated advancing to the final match against Utah State University Aggie Braydon Swapp with an enthusiastic fist pump.
Swapp started Utah State Am week off on the right foot after earning medalist honors and the No. 1 match play seed by one stroke over 2017 Champion Patrick Fishburn. He carded three-under 67 at Ogden G&CC on Monday and six-under 66, his lowest round to date, during his final stroke play qualifying round on Tuesday at Hubbard. Claiming the top of the leaderboard clearly gave him the boost of confidence Braydon needed; he showed up to every match ready to win.
Swapp defeated Nathan Wunderli (64) 1up to advance to the Round of 32 where he was once again victorious against the No. 33 seed, Robert Mitchell. Mitchell was as many as 3up on Swapp before the USU student-athlete made his comeback. During the Round of 16, Braydon overtook Dixie State Golf’s Kenny You 2&1 to advance to the quarterfinal where he faced Tanner Taft, a first-time Utah State Amateur participant. Taft gave Swapp a run for his money from start to finish, but especially when Swapp went dormie four. Tanner put the heat on Braydon and won holes 15 and 16. Still, the 17th hole was halved with fours, and Braydon advanced to the semifinal versus Kyler Dearden.
This is Dearden’s second season in a row as a semifinal round competitor. During the 118th Utah State Amateur Championship at Alpine Country Club, Kyler was defeated by Aaron Smith 2up. Attempting to redeem himself, Dearden scrambled hard against Swapp but was defeated 2&1 nonetheless. Braydon went 1up on Dearden on No. 2 and remained up the rest of the match to advance to the championship match versus Hirsch.
Live scoring of the 36-hole final match will be available at UGA.org.
CLICK HERE to view the updated match play bracket.