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Wilson, Simkins, Sorensen Win UGA Match Play Titles
The UGA Match Play Championship at Davis Park concluded Friday with all three matches going the distance. Craig Wilson edged Brett Sampson on the 19th hole to win the Champions Division, and Al Simkins had to play all 18 before winning his third straight Super Senior Division (65 and over) over plucky Jeff Campbell. The Net Division title was also decided on the last hole with Craig Franklin Sorensen edging Jason Tanner.
Wilson is a regular in UGA championships but its has taken until now to break into the winners circle. This is Wilson's second win of the year; he topped a solid field at the Bountiful Ridge Senior Amateur in early May.
The Wilson-Sampson match pitted two long bombers of different styles. Wilson is tall with a picturesque swing and a high flight pattern while Sampson is muscularly solid and crushes the ball.
After losing the first hole, Sampson won the sixth and seventh holes to go one-up. Sampson Had chances to extend his lead with the great length he has off the tee, but some clutch putting kept Wilson within striking distance all morning. No put was more crucial then the 14 foot birdie he buried on 18 to extend the match as Sampson was staring at only a 2 footer for birdie.
The difference in the match was the hole #1. Wilson jumped out to an early lead winning the first hole and finished the match with a win on the 19th hole (hole #1). With consistently high finishes in UGA events, Craig was ecstatic after going through some of Utah's best senior golfers to claim his first UGA title.
Simkins Wins Third Straight With an Asterisk
Simkins won his third straight Super Senior title, but there is an asterisk to the accomplishment. He won the title in 2012 and 2013, but didn’t play in 2014, and so technically it is his third straight championship. He has now won 12 straight matches in the tournament and next year, if he chooses to enter, he will be faced with the Superstitious 13 Straight problem that knocked Kirk Siddens for a loop earlier in the tournament in the Champions Division.
His third title came at the expense of an admirable and plucky Jeff Campbell, otherwise known as Mister Up and Down. Campbell, who is just recovering from his third bout of cancer and the accompanying kimo therapy, was not as long off the tee as Simkins, and didn’t hit as many greens, but he got it up and down in such a pesky way as to be irritating and discouraging to any opponent.
They both pared the first seven holes but in almost every case Campbell turned possible bogeys into pars. It was monotonous.
Simkins, who had been teased to death, finally won the eighth hole, but it took a remarkable second shot and great putt to win with an eagle.
Simkins went two-up on the tenth hole when Campbell made his first bogey. On 11 and 13 Simkins returned the favor with bogeys of his own and that squared the match. Simkins took the lead for good with a par on 14. The match concluded on the 18th after Simkins hit his second shot close to the pin and Campbell, failing in his required birdied attempt, conceded the birdie putt to Simkins.
“I had a good week. I played just good enough and I was pleased,” Simkins said. “It always helps when Sue (his wife) is caddying for me.”
Campbell said, “Up and down is not new to me. It’s all I do. It’s the story of my life. I’m just glad to be here playing.”
Net Title Goes to Sorensen
Craig Franklin Sorensen never led in his Net Division championship match against second seed Jason Tanner until the 15th hole to go one-up. They halved the remaining holes with Sorensen winning the title by that one hole margin.
Tanner won three holes during the match and each time it put him up by one hole, and then Sorensen came back to tie it. Neither player led by more than one hole the entire match.
Craig Wilson def. Brett Sampson, 19 holes
Super Senior Division
Allen Simkins def. Jeff Campbell, 2-up
Craig Sorensen def. Jason Tanner, 1-up