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.
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