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Garner Dominates Women’s State Am Qualifying; Match Play Begins

Sirene Blair is the defending champion in the Utah Women’s State Am and as such is the number one seed going into match play Wednesday at Hidden Valley Country, but her arch rival Lea Garner is playing at a very high level and won medalist honors by four strokes over the field.

Last year Blair won the title and in so doing edged Garner in the semifinals, 2 and 1, and this year they are in separate brackets and if they meet it will be in the finals on Thursday afternoon.

Between now and then there are some tough matches to win for each of them and the women’s field in Utah golf is steadily getting deeper and deeper with talent.

In winning medalist honors Garner has played Hidden Valley flawlessly for 36 holes with nary a bogey on her scorecard for two days. She shot a first round 69 and today started with four straight birdies and finished with a birdie for a 67 and a two-day total of eight under par 136. Xena Motes is her first round opponent.

Garner, a former Davis Dart, is the number one player at BYU. Blair, who led Bingham to four straight prep championships, chose to go to San Diego State for her college career.

The cut came at ten over par 154 with Brooklyn Hocker winning that last match play spot. Kimberly Nyhus finished one stroke above the cutline. There was no playoff for the final spot.

The match play Round of 16 and the Quarterfinals will be played Wednesday with the Semifinals and Finals set for Thursday.

Blair will face 16th seed Nicole Thomas and Garner will play 15th seed Brooklyn Hocker in the Round of 16.

Two-time champion Kelsey Chugg could be the one to upset the Garner-Blair applecart. Chugg won the championship twice in a row two years back and is capable of knocking over both Garner and Blair. Chugg is the third seed and that puts her in the bracket with Garner and if they meet it will be in the semifinals Thursday morning. Chugg’s presence in the lower bracket, along with Garner, makes it appear to be the stronger bracket.

Wednesday begins with the annual Breakfast of Champions will which feature a video of comments of past champions.

The afternoon matches will begin at 1 pm.

The qualifying scores were as follows:

136- Lea Garner, 69-67

140- Kelsey Chugg, 69-71

143- Sirene Blair, 71-72;  Haley Dunn, 70-73

144- Alex White, 73-71

147- Carly Oldroyd, 74=73; Emily Podlesny, 71-76

148- Lauren Atkinson, 75-73; Kendra Dalton, 73-75

149- Carly Dehlin, 74-75

150- Brooklyn Hocker, 78-72; Katie Perkins, 75-75; Allison Cluff, 73-77; Naomi Soifua, 72-78

151- Xena Motes, 76-75

154- Nichole Thomas, 80-74

Other scores can be seen at: http://ghintpp.com/uga/TPPOnlineScoring/ResultsStroke.aspx?archive=stroke&id=264

The pairings for Wednesday morning are as follows:

Upper Bracket

8:30- Sirene Blair vs. Nicole Thomas

8:37- Kendra Dalton vs. Lauren Atkinson

8:44- Haley Dunn vs. Allison Cluff

8:51- Alex White vs. Brooklyn Hocker

Lower Bracket

8:58- Lea Garner vs. Xena Motes

9:05- Carly Oldroyd vs. Carly Dehlin

9:12- Kelsey Chugg vs. Katie Perkins

9:19- Emily Podlesny vs. Naomi Soifua