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Women’s State Am - Youngster In Front, Veterans Lurking Closely Behind
By Beaux Yenchik, UGA Intern
Fruit Heights, UT – It was the teenagers that stole the show during days one and two at the 112th playing of the Utah Women’s State Amateur. With skill sets as good as the veterans, these young phenoms came locked and loaded for battle.
It was; however, Tess Blair that stole the spotlight Monday and Tuesday during the event’s stroke play format. Finishing as the low medalist, Blair carded an impressive two-round total of 144 by going 73-71 enroute to her even par finish. By being the low lady, Blair snagged the No. 1 seed in the match-play portion of the event that begins Wednesday morning.
“My goal wasn’t to be medalist,” Blair said jokingly. “I was just hoping to make the cut and to get into match play … I think I am just going to keep doing what I am doing [in match play].”
Grace Summerhays, brother of this year’s Utah State Amateur Champion, was the other surprise among the top-16 finishers. Being only 14 years old, Summerhays played well beyond her years as she took the No. 6 seed with an overall score of 150 (+6).
After getting off to an awful start Monday – shooting 6 over par on her first nine holes – Summerhays finished her final 27 holes of stroke play at even par. Having the only round in the 60s to this point in the tournament, Summerhays’ 69 (-3) was 12 shots better than her 81 (+9) on Monday. Leading the field in birdies with eight, Summerhays will look to sneak in as this year’s dark horse and possibly bring a sibling sweep to this year’s Utah State Amateur Championships.
Coming in at the No. 2 seed was Colorado State’s junior Jessica Sloot, who managed to go 74-72 to post a 2-over-par score of 146. Having taken the lead halfway through round two, Sloot wrapped up stroke play a little bumped and bruised – finishing her final 10 holes at 3 over par.
“When you start off under par, it sucks when you start making bogeys because you are giving shots back,” Sloot said. “[Yet], it gives you some leeway [because] you are under par … My dad on the bag helped me calm down.”
Sloot, who is only playing in her second Women’s State Amateur, enters match play as one of the favorites to take the trophy. Known for her solid putting, Sloot will look to beat the field on Bonneville’s greatest defense: its greens.
Four-time champion Kelsey Chugg sits smack dab in the middle of things as she put together two respectable rounds of 76-71 to finish at 3 over par. With a much more controlled round two – having dealt with near 40-mph winds Monday morning – Chugg put herself in prime condition as the No. 3 seed heading into match play.
OTHER NOTABLES: Anna Kennedy, 2017 runner-up, struggled on day one but responded with a respectable round on day two – going 80-74 to finish at 10 over par. Kennedy will be the No. 8 seed. Carly Dehlin, winner of the UGA’s Women’s Stroke Play a couple weeks ago, followed a similar story line to Kennedy. Having improved her score by 11 shots on day two, Dehlin clinched the No. 7 seed with a final score of 151 (+7). First round leader, Xena Motes, gave a back a few shots – stemming from four bogeys and two double bogeys – on day two after shooting even par on round one. Motes will enter match play as the No. 4 seed.
To see the results of the stroke-play portion of the tournament and to see the match-play brackets, CLICK HERE.