News

Kamin, Chanen Survive Stiff Competition to Advance to 96th Arizona Amateur Championship

Final match set for Saturday morning at Desert Forest Golf Club in Carefree 

CAREFREE, Ariz. – Chris Kamin and Jake Chanen survived another grueling day of match play competition Friday at the 96th Arizona Amateur Championship, played at Desert Forest Golf Club. Played in a second-consecutive 112-degree excessive heat warning at 2,600 feet of elevation, both players needed all they had in the tank to advance to Saturday morning’s Championship Match.

“I’m tired,” a visibly exhausted Kamin said after beating Cory Bacon, 4 & 3. “I mean I’m 46 years old. Most of these kids are high school or college kids. I’m a little gassed so I’m going to go home and rest. But I’m excited for tomorrow – I love playing this golf course.”

“It was a battle from start to finish – we both played pretty good all day,” said Chanen, a recent graduate of Grand Canyon University, after taking care of Canon Olkowski in 22 holes. “I’m pretty proud. I’m not going to lie, I’m very tired so I’d definitely going to get a lot of sleep tonight.”

Kamin made birdie to Bacon’s par on the opening hole, and never looked back, taking a 4 up lead through five. Bacon tried to make a run on the back nine, winning 13 and 14 to trail by three with four to play. But Kamin would splash a bunker shot on 14 into the hole for birdie to close the match.

“I’m putting well and chipping well this week,” said Kamin. “I’m hitting my irons pretty well. So far, it’s been a lot of fun. What I’ve been doing has worked so far. There’s no reason to try anything different [in the Championship Match].”

Chanen led Olkowski 1 up coming to the 18th hole. But the Colorado University-Boulder sophomore was able to make par to Chanen’s bogey, forcing extra holes. Following a stalemate on the first three holes, Chanen was able to make par on the 22nd hole (Hole 4), eliminating Olkowski’s bogey.

“It came down to 18 and I really gave it away and hit a really bad shot from the middle of the fairway,” said Chanen, the 2018 Arizona Amateur Champion. “But it happens, and that’s golf. We kept going, just kept battling, and finally he slipped up on the last hole there and I was able to make par and get out of there.”

In the morning’s Round of 8, Kamin needed 20 holes to get past Trevor Lampson. On the 20th hole (hole 2) and in trouble just off the left side of the fairway, Kamin used a half-swing to land a 180-yard shot just six feet from the pin. Lampson made his par putt, but Kamin drilled his birdie putt to close out the match.

Bacon only needed 14 holes to eliminate top-overall seed Joseph Lloyd, 6 and 4. Bacon raced out to a 4 up lead after birdie on the par-5 7th hole, his third hole won in a row. Bacon then closed out the match dormie on the 14th green, chipping to a foot with his third shot. Lloyd, on the green in three shots, conceded the putt, and therefore the match.

Olkowski also needed all 18 holes in his narrow 2 up victory over Matthew Braley in the Round of 8. The match was tied at the turn, but Olkowski made birdie on the par 5 11th hole, and leading by one on the par 4 18th, closed out the match in style with a par to Braley’s bogey.

Chanen’s morning match was much more of a roller coaster, falling behind Scott Schlader after losing each of the first four holes. Chanen would claw back to tie the match on the 14th hole, making eagle on the 329-yard par 4. He then closed out the match on the 18th hole, making par to Schlader’s bogey.

The Championship Match tees off at 7:00 a.m. at Desert Forest. Follow along on all of the Arizona Golf Association’s social media channels: Instagram, Facebook and Twitter.

Full Bracket can be found by clicking here.

News

Match Play Elite 8 Set at 96th Arizona Amateur Championship at Desert Forest Golf Club

Top seeds survive as field of 32 to start play Thursday is whittled down to eight

CAREFREE, Ariz. – Eight of Arizona’s top amateur golfers remain after two rounds of match play Thursday at the 96th Arizona Amateur Championship Wednesday, played at Desert Forest Golf Club. Played in 112-degree conditions at 2,600 feet elevation, and on one of the toughest golf courses in the Grand Canyon State, it was a day of sheer survival for the 2020 Elite Eight.

“You just have to keep the ball in play off the tee, and accept that par is a great score,” said 2016 Arizona Amateur Champion Cory Bacon, who eliminated Austin Quick in the Round of 8, 1 up. “That’s really what it comes down to. If you can eliminate your blow up holes, you’re probably going to win a lot of matches out here.”

Top overall seed Joseph Lloyd, third-seeded Canon Olkowski and fourth-seeded Chris Kamin each won their respective matches 1 up in the Round of 16, needing all 18 holes to win. The mental grind of match play occupied a lot of the players’ attention as opposed to just battling the golf course.

“This course is tough enough,” said Kamin, talking about Desert Forest. “You need to have a game plan for how you want to go about each hole, and staying with that rather than worrying about what the other guys do.”

For Bacon, it was a roller coaster of a match that started early and continued through the back 9 of Desert Forest. Down one to Quick after 16 holes, Bacon birdied 17 and 18 to come from behind and advance.

“There was a lot of adrenaline flowing, and I still have some adrenaline,” said Bacon after the match. “But it was a really fun match. I didn’t think I was going to win, honestly, because I was down the whole way. But I managed to pull it out.”

Recent Grand Canyon University graduate Jake Chanen eliminated reigning AGA Player of the Year Adam Walicki in Thursday morning’s Round of 32, 2 & 1. He then beat UNLV Sophomore George Leigh in the Round of 16, 3 & 1, joining fellow GCU Lopes Trevor Lampson and Matthew Braley in Friday morning’s Round of 8.

Final Four matches will be contested afterward in the afternoon, with the last two players remaining in field squaring off in Saturday’s Championship match.

Full leaderboard can be found by clicking here.

News

Final 64 Cut to 32 After First Day of 96th Arizona Amateur Match Play at Desert Forest Golf Club

13-for-3 Playoff, Blowouts and Extra Holes Highlighted Intense First Day of Match Play 

CAREFREE, Ariz. – Three of the top four seeds advanced to the second day of Match Play at the 96th Arizona Amateur Championship Wednesday, played at Desert Forest Golf Club. The top 64 players qualified for Match Play after a two-day Stroke Play Qualifying event, and were then split into four 16-player brackets: Hogan, Nicklaus, Palmer and Woods.

“This golf course is completely different when you play match play,” said Tucker Clark, who needed 23 holes to beat 2020 Southern Amateur Champion Jonathan Walters. “It really depends on what your opponent does off the tee. My iron game was sharp, so I knew that even if I had a long iron and then just putting the ball in play was premium out here and it worked out in the end.”

Top overall seed Joseph Lloyd advanced to the Round of 32 after beating Jeff New, 2 & 1. New, Davis Johnson and Zack Holesinger all advanced to Match Play earlier Wednesday morning after surviving a 13-man playoff for three places. Johnson then ousted defending champion and second-seeded Evan White, 2 & 1, to book a spot in Thursday morning’s Round of 32.

Third-seeded Canon Olkowski eliminated Holesinger, 2 & 1, while fourth-seeded Chris Kamin beat Sean St. Clair, 4 & 2.

While Clark needed extra holes, Corey Bacon and Jimmy Kozikowski only needed 12 holes to advance, winning their respective matches 7 & 6. Robert Case also played a match to remember, winning 5 & 4 as he represented the elder statesmen on the course at Desert Forest on Wednesday.

“I’ll keep giving these young guys a fight, you know fairways and greens and make a few putts and see how it goes,” said the 59-year-old Case. “I’m representing the senior group with all these youngsters out here. From now on anybody I’m playing is going to be hitting it past me, and these kids can really move it. So my job is to hit in there, keep the pressure on them coming into the green and keep my approaches coming in.”

Round of 32 matches are scheduled to begin at 7:00 a.m. Thursday morning, with the winners then turning around and playing their Round of 16 matches Thursday afternoon. Friday sees all Round of 8 and Round of 4 matches, with the last two players remaining in field squaring off in Saturday’s Championship match.

Full leaderboard can be found by clicking here.

News

Lloyd, Olkowski Earn Stroke Play Qualifying Co-Medalist Honors at -6 in 96th Arizona Amateur

Final Match-Play Bracket to be determined after playoff Wednesday morning at Desert Forest Golf Club

CAREFREE, Ariz. – Joseph Lloyd and Canon Olkowski shared Medalist honors in the stroke play qualifying portion of the 96th Annual Arizona Amateur Championship at Desert Forest Golf Club. Olkowski matched Day 1’s -3 (69) to claim his spot at the top of the leaderboard, while Lloyd’s -5 (67) was the best round of the field on Tuesday’s Day 2 of qualifying. Both finished with a two-day score of 138.

“Everything was really clicking,” said Lloyd, a University of Utah commit. “I hit 17 greens today. My irons were on point, and I left myself in good positions all day.”

The Match Play Field of 64 will be finalized early Wednesday morning in a playoff, as 13 players tied at +11 (155) will vie for three remaining places.

Chris Kamin finished alone in third place at -4, following a -3 (69) Tuesday. Day 1 leader Mitchell Holmes, Brian Blanchard and Kris Marshall finished stroke play qualifying tied for fourth at -3 (141). In all, just nine players finished the two-day stroke play event at even par or better.

““I didn’t hit it in the desert one time in 36 holes which is very important,” said Lloyd of his key to earning co-Medalist honors. “This golf course rewards straight ball hitters and it’ll punish you if you’re missing it off the tee.”

Chanen agreed with Holmes in terms of needing to play smart golf and keep the ball in the fairway to have a shot at shooting under par.

After the playoff, all Round of 64 matches will be contested Wednesday. Round of 32 and Round of 16 matches are scheduled for Thursday. Friday sees all Round of 8 and Round of 4 matches, with the last two players remaining in field squaring off in Saturday’s Championship match.

Full leaderboard can be found by clicking here.

News

Mitchell Holmes Fires -4 (68) to Lead Day-One Qualifying at 96th Arizona Amateur

CAREFREE, Ariz. – Mitchell Holmes bounced back from an opening double-bogey to surge to the top of the leaderboard at -4, on Day 1 of Qualifying at the 96th Annual Arizona Amateur Championship, hosted by Desert Forest Golf Club in Carefree, Ariz. Teeing off on hole 10 to start play, Holmes evened out another bogey with three birdies to go out in 36, then blistered the back nine with a bogey-free 32 to finish at 68.

“I hot one bad tee shot off my first hole (Hole 10) that went right,” said Holmes after the round. “But I told myself, ‘You know what Mitch? You’ve got 36 more holes to get back on track,’ and that’s what I did today.”

Nick Beach, Jake Chanen and Canon Olkowski all sit a stroke behind Holmes at -3 (69). Beach made four of his five birdies on the day on the front nine, going out in 33. Chanen was tied for the lead through 17 holes until a bogey on 9 (his final hole of the day) dropped him to a tie for second. And Olkowski added an eagle to a scorecard with five birdies, winning the day’s battle with the golf course. But no one could catch Holmes on a hot, humid day at Desert Forest.

“You’ve got to keep it in play,” said Holmes, when asked about his key to navigating the golf course. “It starts with the tee shot, and then I was striking it with my irons. When I felt like I had a chance to get it close I took advantage.”