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Final Pairing is Set, 36 Holes Await Them
By Beaux Yenchik, UGA Intern
Fruit Heights, UT – Following five days, nine rounds and roughly 126 holes played, the finals are set and it is guaranteed to be a good one.
Friday was a grind fest at Oakridge Country Club as the quarterfinals and semi-finals took place between the field’s hottest players and the dried-out golf course that laid in front of them. With a mix of youth, former State Amateur champions, and a seasoned veteran, the possibilities for Friday’s outcome was limitless when the day began. The need for a stellar short game and constant mental strength was what separated the winners from the losers.
The final match: 15-year-old Preston Summerhays verse University of Utah’s Kyler Dunkle.
The first match of the day belonged to Blake Tomlinson and John Owen. The twosome, having played together during the stroke play portion of the tournament, reunited for a grueling match. Though Tomlinson claimed the victory 2&1 over Owen, it did not come easy the U of U sophomore.
(Blake Tomlinson hitting 3-wood off the ninth hole)
After winning his opening hole, Tomlinson remained up one through his front nine with Owen. Following his third bogey of the entire week, Tomlinson gave one back and became all square with the seasoned veteran. Owen’s ability to make just about any putt and scramble from any location is what kept him so close in the match, said Tomlinson’s caddie.
With just one more birdie that couldn’t be matched by Owen, Tomlinson again concluded his match prior to the 18th hole.
Dunkle’s match was a bit of a comeback story for the college player. Having trailed for the majority of the match, occasionally coming back to tie it, Dunkle squared the match with a birdie on the par-5 16th.
Dunkle, knowing he couldn’t let up, kept the pressure applied as he matched Darrin Overson’s pars on the final two holes of play – a need for extra holes was created. Dunkle then only needed one hole to see his victory over the former-past champion.
Summerhays, the other finalist, had quite the battle with Utah State Aggie, Andy Hess. After going up three after his first four holes, Summerhays’ lead disappeared just like that as Hess birdied three of his last four holes on the front nine to even the match.
After halving the par-4 10th, Summerhays capitalized on Hess’ bogey the following hole to take a lead he’d never give back. Summerhays put away Hess, 3&1.
In the final quarterfinal match, former champion Dan Horner took on former Dixie State and now Weber State transfer Jayce Frampton. Horner, who looked to have an opportunity to make quick work of Frampton, managed to maintain a lead through the first 13 holes of this match.
Tim Lyman, a Utah Golf Association Volunteer Rules Official, said, “[Horner] is a scrambling fool.”
Lyman, as well as Frampton, said Horner was getting up and down from almost any spot he found himself in, even tying a hole after losing a ball on a tee shot.
Yet, Horner’s scrambling ability wasn’t enough to keep Frampton from coming back to win. Being all square on holes 14-16, Frampton would par his last two to eliminate the last former champion still standing, 2 up.
(Photo of Jayce Frampton teeing off on hole No. 1)
Frampton said the key to his victory was “sticking to the game plan: hitting fairways and greens.”
With just four players remaining from the 288 that the tournament started with, showed that no one, not even the hottest player in the field, is exempt from defeat.
In match No. 1, U of U teammates Tomlinson and Dunkle went at each other, looking not only for a spot in the finals but for future bragging rights during the college-golf season.
The round started off rough for Tomlinson as he bogeyed three of his first five holes – matching his total number of bogeys he’s had all week up to this point. Though only finding himself down one during the rough start, Tomlinson’s flat stick wasn’t finding the hole like it had leading up to the match.
(Photo of Kyler Dunkle during the semi-final match)
Dunkle, capitalizing on Tomlinson’s cold putter, birdied four holes during the middle of his round to take as lead as large as four. Though giving back two shots on holes 14 and 15, Dunkle made quick work to finish off his teammate, then opponent, 3&1.
The Summerhays-Frampton semi-final was a little more cutthroat as the lead from either player never reached more than being up one. Frampton, who held the lead for the longest duration during the match faltered on the 16th, giving the 15-year-old high school player his first lead of the match.
(Photo of Preston Summerhays putting for birdie on the par-3 5th)
Having an opportunity to tie the match and force extra holes, Frampton missed a 15-foot putt on the 18th green to extend the match – sending Summerhays to the finals.
Saturday’s final 36-hole match between Summerhays and Dunkle will begin at 8 a.m. at Oakridge CC.
For complete results from Friday’s action and live scoring from Saturday's final match, CLICK HERE.