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Rodgers, Overson Survive Semifinal Challenges; Reach State Am Finals
The suspense is over. The Utah State Amateur cake has been baked, and now the only thing left to decide is the flavor of the frosting and placing a centerpiece on it.
The centerpiece will be either Jordan Rodgers or Darrin Overson depending on the outcome of their 36-hole championship match Saturday at the Soldier Hollow Gold Course.
Rodgers defeated Seokown Jeon in the semifinals, 1-up, and Overson birdied the 18th hole to eliminate Brandon Kida, 1-up.
Rodgers has dominated the tournament in a manner rarely seen before and must be considered the clear favorite, but Darrin Overson won the State Am championship at its zenith 100th Anniversary 16 years ago at Riverside Country Club, and as he said earlier this week, ““I am playing better now than I was then.”
But then is not now, and the likes of Jordan Rogers was not there and seems almost invincible here. He won medalist honors (shared with two others) in the 36-hole qualifying session and then brushed aside four match play opponents without having to play the last three holes. His semifinal opponent, Seokown Jeon, was able to force Rodgers to play those holes and it was pretty scary for Rodgers. Going into those holes Rodgers was three-up with three to play, but they were unfamiliar territory. Jeon won 16, and then won 17, and Rodgers had to have serious moments of doubt going onto 18, but he halved the hole for the one-up victory over pesky Jeon.
Rodgers is going to have to play those last three holes at least once in his 36-hole title match with Overson and Overson feels like he knows as much about those holes as the superintendent. Overson has played the 18th hole in all five of his matches and has a 4-0-1 record on that hole. He birdied the 18th to break the all-square semifinal match.
Overson won his first match with Jonathan Thomas in 19 holes and since then has won four consecutive 1-up victories on the 18th hole over Steve Croft, Carl Jensen, Charlie Duensing, and Brandon Kida.
On the other hand Rodgers’ match play record shows wins over Isaiah Wolfenstan, 8 and 6; Glen Spencer, 5 and 4; David Jennings, 6 and 5; Kai Ruiz, 4 and 3; and Seokown Jeon, 1-up. The records will have to be checked, but that could be an all-time State Am record for match play dominance.
In the five matches Rodgers has played 19 fewer holes than Overson and in golf there is no such thing as a relief pitcher. At 40 years old and a desk job Overson has got to be feeling the strain. Overson used a cart during his first four matches, but the rules require the players to walk in the quarterfinals, semifinals, and 36-hole finale.
Rodgers hails from Salt Lake City and played prep golf at Skyline. His four year career at BYU has just concluded. This spring he highlighted his collegiate career by winning the Cougar Classic.
Overson played college golf Utah Valley University and at Colorado State. As a youngster he worked at Riverside Country Club as a cart boy and for Robert McArthur in the pro shop for 15 years, and the UGA asked McArthur to present the trophy to him after he defeated Steve Brinton in the championship match. Brinton is now on the UGA Board of Directors.
Darrin Overson def. Brandon Kida, 1-up
Jordan Rodgers def. Seokown Jeon, 1-up
Championship Match (36 holes)
Jordan Rodgers vs. Darrin Overson
Afternoon starting time to be determined
See scorecards at: http://ghintpp.com/uga/TPPOnlineScoring/MatchCard.aspx?ID=263&mgid=66&mid=4360