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Hocker Joins Favorites Blair, Chugg, and Garner in Women’s State Am Semifinals
Upsets are not the headlines at the 109th Utah Women’s State Amateur Championship as the three main favorites have all advanced to the semifinals at Hidden Valley Country.
Defending champion Sirene Blair and her arch in-state rival Lea Garner have moved smoothly into the semifinals, and two-time former champion Kelsey Chugg has joined them as expected. The only surprise name among the four is BYU sophomore Brooklyn Hocker who has ‘come to play’ and is making a name for herself.
Hocker upset her higher ranked BYU teammate Alexandra White in the first round, 2 and 1, and then knocked over last year’s runnerup, Allison Cluff, by a 4 and 3 margin. Cluff, who lost to Blair in the finals last year at Ogden, had hoped for a rematch, but that opportunity now rests with Hocker. Hocker, with two solid wins under her belt, will now be facing the biggest challenge of her young career against Blair. Is she up to it? Well, let’s put it this way—anyone with the name of Brooklyn shouldn’t be taken lightly.
The other semifinal match is a classic and pits two of Utah’s top golfers, Lea Garner and Kelsey Chugg. Chugg, a Weber State graduate and employed at the UGA, has already won two Utah State Amateur titles and is the most experienced player in the field. She tried to qualify for the LPGA Tour and still has professional yearnings. A third championship might rekindle that dream.
Chugg defeated Katie Perkins in the first round, 6 and 5, and Naomi Soifua in the quarterfinals, 2 and 1.
Garner is a strong player and in most other eras would have been a dominating force in Utah women’s golf, but she has had to share the spotlight with Sirene Blair. They were arch prep rivals for many years and while Garner has had a good share of triumphs, Blair has cast a big shadow.
Last year the two met in the semifinals and Blair won, 3 and 1. Garner would like a chance to square that record, but getting past Chugg won’t be easy. Garner defeated Xena Motes in the first round, 4 and 2, and then edged her BYU teammate Carly Oldroyd in the quarterfinals, but had to go to the 18th hole before winning, 2-up.
Blair played almost flawless golf in her first two matches. She birdied five of the first eight holes in her opening match against Nicole Thomas and won easily, 6 and 5. She followed that up with a 4 and 2 win over BYU’s Kendra Dalton. Blair, who led Bingham High School to four straight state championships, now plays collegiately at San Diego State.
The morning started with the annual Breakfast of Champions where past champions were honored. In attendance were former champions Sue Nyhus, Lisa Imamura,Lachell Poffenberger, Kelsey Chugg, and defending champion Sirene Blair.
Round of 16
Sirene Blair def. Nicole Thomas, 6 and 5
Kendra Dalton def. Lauren Atkinson, 4 and 3
Allison Cluff def. Haley Dunn, 4 and 3
Brooklyn Hocker def. Alexandra White, 2 and 1
Lea Garner def. Xena Motes, 4 and 2
Carly Oldroyd def. Carly Dehlin, 4 and 3
Kelsey Chugg def. Katie Perkins, 6 and 5
Naomi Soifua def. Emily Podlesny, 2 and 1
Blair def. Dalton, 4 and 2
Hocker def. Cluff, 4 and 3
Garner def. Oldroyd, 1-up
Chugg def. Soifua, 2 and 1
8:00- Sirene Blair vs. Brooklyn Hocker
8:15- Lea Garner vs. Kelsey Chugg
Championship Match at 12:30
The match play bracket can be seen at: http://ghintpp.com/uga/TPPOnlineScoring/MatchTree.aspx?id=264