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Cole Ogden Shares Advice on Match Play
by Spencer Sorensen
Cole Ogden did something last year that no other Utah State Amateur Champion had previously done in the 115-year history of the Utah State Amateur Championship: He won six rounds of matches. That’s because for the first time ever the Utah State Amateur from a 32-player match play format to the current model of 64 players. The Syracuse native will try and keep his Utah State Amateur Title and his other unique title as the only player to win all six rounds of the event as he prepares for match play tomorrow.
As defending champion, Ogden had a rather relaxed couple of days on Monday and Tuesday having already been guaranteed the top seed in the match play portion of the event. It’s a good thing too because under normal circumstances his 148 two-day total would have missed the cut by one shot to compete in a playoff for the final spots. Instead, he gets to face the player to capture that final spot after a three-hole playoff, No. 64 seed Bubba Hall at 7:30 a.m. Wednesday.
Prior to the start of match play on Wednesday, Ogden was kind enough to share a few key points on what it will take to win this week at the course he shares a namesake with: Ogden Golf and Country Club (GCC).
The player that putts the best has a good chance to win it all
While it may seem like an obvious observation, Ogden said the key to his victory last year at Soldier Hollow GC came down to putting more than anything else. Moreover, an all-around short game is key to succeeding match after match in match play and that’s what carried the then 21-year-old that week. Said Ogden, “I chipped really well last year and putted awesome.”
Keeping it in the fairway this year will be extremely important
One noticeable difference this year with the event being held at Ogden GCC compared to Soldier Hollow GC are the tree-lined fairways that make up the course. Accuracy then is paramount and could ultimately decide holes with off-line shots. Explained Ogden, “If you miss the fairway at Soldier, yeah you’re in the weeds, but you can still hit it [toward the green]. Obviously at Ogden [GCC] if you miss the fairways you can get behind a tree and you’ll have to punch out.”
Balls below the hole will allow for more aggressiveness on the greens
The defending champion believes that the greens at Ogden GCC are going to quicker and firmer as the week goes on, especially if the weather is hot and dry, meaning match play participants will be better served keeping the ball below the hole. Although it might be enticing to attack a pin on the rather short layout, if a golfer hits an approach past the hole or through the green it could very well lead to a lost hole. “You can be a little more aggressive [with an uphill putt] than having a downhill putt that’s quick and breaking, because those are hard to keep on line,” he said.
Being defending champion isn’t easy
Lastly, Ogden knows that he’s likely to have a target on his back when match play begins because as he explains in an unpretentious way “everybody is wanting to knock off the defending champ.” While he was happy to have two days of pressure free golf to get ready for match play, he admits that he does in some ways feel more pressure this year than last year. In the end though everything will depend on execution. “It comes down to the same thing as last year, if you hit the shots and are playing good then you should win your matches.”
Follow all of the Utah State Amateur Match Play Action HERE