Camden Braidech Races Out to 98th AZ Am Day One Lead
For Immediate Release
August 8, 2022
SCOTTSDALE – Camden Braidech birdied his last three holes of the round to fire a -6 (66), good for a one-shot Day One Qualifying lead at the 98th Arizona Amateur Championship, played at Desert Mountain Club’s Outlaw Course. Playing in the last group on the course, Braidech recorded six birdies on the day with no bogeys. The full leaderboard can be found here.
“It was great – everything kind of went my way, first bogey-free round of the year,” said Braidech, 17, a standout American Junior Golf Association (AJGA) player. “I had a 15-footer on 10 to finish and made it. I think it’s a great springboard going into tomorrow to kind of have that to rely on of birdieing the last three, and I get to keep it going.”
Braidech takes a one-shot lead over River Smalley of Farmington, N.M., into Tuesday’s Day Two of Qualifying. Six players sit two shots back at -4, with another nine players within striking distance of the lead at -3.
Teeing off on the 11th hole due to the Outlaw Course’s layout, Braidech waited until the 8th hole (his 16th hole of the round) to make his move, posting birdies on 8, 9 and 10 to take the overnight lead. While some may see experience as a determining factor in a State Am, Braidech sees his youth as a positive against older players.
“I’ve been in a lot of situations and played in a lot of tournaments against pros, college [players], really good ams, so it all boils down to another round of golf,” said Braidech. “I think that’s where kind of being younger helps because I can be a little more fearless. I don’t have necessarily the same amount of scar tissue as some of the older guys have.”
Smalley went out in 32 thanks to four birdies, including three in a four-hole stretch from five through eight. Two more birdies on the back nine countered Smalley’s lone bogey on 11, and left Smalley with a favorable impression of the Outlaw Course.
“I hit a lot of solid golf shots and the greens were really good – I was able to capitalize when I hit good shots so yeah, it was a good round, “said Smalley, 22, who will play collegiately at New Mexico State this fall. “It’s awesome. This is my first time here. You’ve got to be doing everything well to play good here and I was able to do that today. I hit it nice, and the putter was good, but every part of your game definitely needs to be pretty good to play well out here.”
The six-player contingent two shots back was led by Cade Anderson, who raced out to the day one lead a year ago at the 97th Arizona Amateur Championship at Grayhawk Golf Club’s Talon Course with a -7 (65). A roller coaster round at Desert Mountain saw eight birdies muted by four bogeys – all of them on his final nine holes. The eight birdies had Anderson excited for the second round.
“Yeah for sure – I know I can make a lot of birdies,” said Anderson, a Scottsdale native who will play golf at Loyola Marymount University this fall after transferring from Rutgers University. “The greens are really good so it’s kind of just putting myself in a place where I’m putting from below the hole and being aggressive at that point.”
Paradise Valley’s Max Schwarz, Chandler’s Johnny Walker and Caden Christopherson, Gilbert’s Abe Candelaria and Scottsdale’s Matt McDougall each posted -4 (68) rounds to currently sit tied for second, respectively.
Starting times for Tuesday’s day two of qualifying begin at 7:00 am off the 1st and 11th tees. Stroke play will determine the top 64 players who advance to Wednesday’s Match Play. Any ties for the final Match Play spots will be determined by a playoff after all players have finished their second round.
All Round of 64 matches are scheduled for Wednesday. Round of 32 and Round of 16 matches will be played 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.
Starting times for Tuesday’s second round can be found here.