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No Upsets in First Round of Women’s State Am; Gaiotti Edges McMullin in Feature Match

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There were no particular upsets in the first round of the 107th Utah Women’s State Am at Wasatch Mountain State Park Wednesday morning.
Defending champion Kelsey Chugg chugged along with a 3 and 2 victory over Kalea Heu as was expected. Haley Dunn edged Kristie Jensen, 1-up, in what was expected to be the close match that it was.
Lea Garner and Sirene Blair, the co-medalists, advanced easily as expected. They each won by a 5 and 4 count with Garner defeating Carly Oldroyd and Blair ousting Hannah Herman.
Tara Green defeated Sadie Palmer, 4 and 3, and Madi Rooker knocked off Rynae Baca, 4 and 2, in matches that were expected to be close.
Brooke Whittaker, of UVU, edged Randi Stephens, 1-up, in another match that was considered a toss-up.
The feature match of the morning round pitted the two oldest players in the tournament, 60-year-old Annette Gaiotti against former champion, 45-year-old Julie McMullin. The two had met in the first round of the 2011 tournament and McMullin won that match 3 and 2 and went on to win the championship. This year ‘turnabout was fair play’ and Gaiotti won the match 2-up, but the odds are not good that she can duplicate McMullin’s title run of 2011.
Gaiotti’s reward for defeating McMullin was to turn right around and face co-medalist Lea Garner in the quarterfinals. Playing 36-holes in one day is going to work against the 60-year old and Garner will be the clear favorite in that match.
The morning started with the Breakfast of Champions and a motivational speech by Utah Golf Hall of Famer Bruce Summerhays who spoke to the theme, ‘you’re a winner if you don’t quit.’
Former champions on the hand for the breakfast were the three Newren sisters, Natalie, Nicole, and Rachel; Sue Nyhus, Lisa Ikegami Imamura, Stephanie Brockbank, Julie McMullin, and Kelsey Chugg.
The results and schedule:Round of 16Kelsey Chugg def. Kalea Heu, 3 and 2Haley Dunn def. Kristie Jensen, 1-upTara Green def. Sadie Palmer, 4 and 3Madie Rooker def. Rynae Baca, 4 and 2Lea Garner def. Carly Oldroyd, 5 and 4Annette Gaiotti def. Julie McMullin, 2-upSirene Blair def. Hannah Herman, 5 and 4Brooke Whittaker def. Randi Stephens, 1-up
Quarterfinal ScheduleWednesday afternoon2:45- Kelsey Chugg vs. Haley Dunn2:53- Tara Green vs. Madie Rooker3:01- Lea Garner vs. Annette Gaiotti3:09- Sirene Blair vs. Brooke Whittaker