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Title is up for Grabs after Defending Champion Goes Down
By Beaux Yenchik, UGA Intern
Farmington, UT – With the round of 32 having been completed, it is now safe to say there will be a new champion for the 120th Utah State Amateur.
Thursday’s morning matches demonstrated one thing for the players and their spectators – it is not over until it is over. Though cliché, several of the matches demonstrated that one can never assume any lead, no matter how big, is safe when it comes to match-play competitions. For some, they have yet to see the last hole or two in match play; for others, they’ve played 18 and then some.
With upsets still very fresh on the minds of those following the event – i.e. Cole Ponich being upset by his high school teammate, Jack Sargent, in the first round of match play – an even more profound upset took place at the hands of Aaron Yeates, the Utah Valley University lefty, over last year’s champion, Kelton Hirsch.
After sticking his approach shot on the par-5 16th to roughly 5 feet, Hirsch approached the green thinking he had great chance at extending the match as he watched Yeates face a downhill, winding chip to his right.
(Photo of Aaron Yeates' winning chip off the 16th green)
And just like that, Hirsch’s reign came to close as Yeates knocked-in his difficult chip for a match-clinching eagle. (As the ball dropped in the cup, a loud cheer rang out from the cart of Yeates’ dad in excitement for his son’s exemplary play). Yeates took the match, 3&2.
“[Hirsch just] didn’t play his best today,” Yeates said after his match.
Finding himself down two with two holes to play, Fidel Concepcion completed a comeback that even the best of golfers would acknowledge. Sticking his approach shot to about 7 feet left of the pin, Concepcion dropped his putt dead center to take the hole and push the match to 18.
(Photo of Fidel Concepcion and his approach shot into the 18th green)
After hitting an impressive tee shot down the middle of the fairway, Concepcion matched Cody Anderson’s approach shot and one upped him to send the match into extra holes. Concepcion would then go onto win the watch on the 19th hole of the match.
Blake Tomlinson continued his strong play, beating Rand Sargent 2&1. In a match that stretched Tomlinson to the end, he found a way to, just as he has all week, to make the putts he needed to win.
With just six holes to play, Sargent threw his game into fifth gear in attempt to not be another victim to Tomlinson’s strong play. Winning three straight holes to make the match all square going into the 16th, testing Tomlinson’s game and mental stamina.
Tomlinson would then go on to win holes 16 and 17 to win the match.
For complete results for the round of 32 and live scoring for the “Sweet 16,” CLICK HERE.