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The Breaks of Match Play - Rounds of 32 and 16
by Spencer Sorensen
OGDEN – The quarterfinals for the 116th Utah State Amateur Match Play are set and there are some intriguing matches ahead, including the one against the last two champions, No. 1 seed Cole Ogden and No. 25 Jon Wright. While this match seemed as if it was sent down from up above, it almost didn’t happen, at least that’s how Jon Wright sees it.
Wright’s afternoon match with BYU golfer, and No. 41 seed, Mike Jurca could have easily gone Jurca’s way. On two separate occasions, Jurca had balls get knocked down by trees, which ended up costing him each of those holes.
After getting up early in the match taking a 3-up lead through seven holes, Wright got back in the match winning hole Nos. 8, 10 and 12 to square it all up. Then after Jurca hit it out-of-bounds on the short par-4 13th, Wright took his first lead of the day going 1-up.
But over the next four holes is where things really got interesting. After Wright hit his ball into the fairway bunker off the No. 14 tee, Jurca hit another tee shot right, which nestled under the trees. His subsequent shot then hit a tree limb, which caromed right over the fence and onto Adams Ave. The out-of-bounds penalty would eventually cost him the hole to go 2-down.
Then on the 17th tee, after Jurca had won a hole back on No. 15 to be only 1-down, it was déjà vu all over again as the St. George native’s tee shot hit a limb and came straight down on the tee box 30 yards in front of him. Again, Jurca would go on to lose the hole as well as the match on No. 17, 2-and-1.
Wright was thoroughly impressed with how Jurca stayed in the match as Jurca’s driver got him into trouble on a few occasions.
“I tell you what that guy has got no quit in him. He got up-and-down from some of the most ridiculous places and got some terrible breaks, but he just kept fighting,” said Wright.
What’s more Wright couldn’t believe how the match ended on the worst break of all for Jurca, when his par chip that would have extended the match hit the flagstick to stay out of the hole.
“I don’t know how it missed,” said Wright. “I can’t believe that didn’t go in. That was absolutely center of the hole. If the flag is not in, that ball goes right in.”
Ironically, two years ago on his way to winning the State Amateur, Wright in a quarterfinal match against Jurca, recalled how he had to make what he called “a ridiculous chip” to win the match. It seemed only right that the golfing gods returned the favor today , but for whatever reason it wasn’t meant to be.
“We’ve been joking about that chip for two years and he almost gave us another one to joke about it.”
Quarterfinal play will begin Friday at 7:30 a.m.
Follow the Match Play Bracket