Golembiewski and Losole to face off in championship
Former local junior golfers Jake Golembiewski (1) of Chandler and Nicholas Losole III (23) of Scottsdale will go head-to-head Saturday in the final 18 hole match of the 86th Arizona Amateur Championship at Pinnacle Peak Country Club.
“I’m happy to be where I am but I’m not surprised,” said Golembiewski, who will play for Grand Canyon University in the fall. “I expected when I teed off at the beginning of the week that I was going to be here.” Friday he defeated Yuma’s Bentley Nakasawa (9) 6 & 5 in the quarterfinal round, and Sierra Vista’s Neal McCarty (52) 2 & 1.
“I’ve been hitting it great all summer, but my putting and chipping has been borderline,” he noted. “I got a putting lesson from my coach Brian Herring about a week ago and that’s what really made the difference in my game.” The recommendation was simple; he just needed to lighten his grip. “I’ve made a lot of putts this week and that’s what put me over the edge.”
McCarty was disappointed following the semifinal round. “I played okay the first nine,” he said. “The back nine is where I made some big mistakes. Once again my swing wasn’t feeling good at all. I just wasn’t confident standing over the ball.”
It was a very close match. The turning point came at the ninth hole when Golembiewski made a 30 foot putt to take a one-up lead. McCarty recalls, “Where my putter saved me in previous rounds, it wasn’t working for me in the last round. My putter hurt me.”
McCarty was the runner-up in last year’s Arizona Amateur. “For the way I was hitting the ball this week, I’m surprised I got this far,” he said. “It is very disappointing to not at least make it to where I did last year. This is my last time playing the Arizona Amateur, so I was hoping to be able to get into the final and have a chance to win.” McCarty will be a senior at Southern Illinois University this fall. After graduation he plans to move to Florida and play in the PGA Tour qualifying school.
Losole is excited to be in the finals. “I’ve been playing really good golf the past week,” he said. “I felt really good going into the event and I couldn’t be more excited. I just really want to win it.” Friday he defeated co-medalist Gary Quinn (2) of Anthem in the quarterfinal round and Jason Shano (19) of Scottsdale in the semifinal round.
Losole, a sophomore at Northwestern University, started the semifinal round two down after 10, and then won 11 and 14. He took the lead with a 15 foot birdie putt on hole 15. “Jason took a quick lead,” he recalled. “I wasn’t playing that great; I was struggling. Dad [his caddie] helped refocus me and I felt great after that.”
“I was feeling pretty good going this afternoon,” Shano noted, “but I just couldn’t get any birdie putts to fall in. I played a lot of good golf this week and I know what I need to work on.”
Saturday’s match-up will not be the first time Golembiewski and Losole have faced off. “I’ve played a lot of junior golf with Nick and he’s a great player,” said Golembiewski. “I expect as hard of a match as I’ve had all week, maybe even harder. The goal at the start of the week is to win the tournament, and hopefully I can do that tomorrow.”
“I’m always nervous before every match,” Losole said, “but I feel confident about my game. I’m looking forward to tomorrow. The whole point is to get to this final match.”
“It will mean a ton to me to win this event,” Golembiewski said, “but right now I’m just trying to be ready for my first tee shot tomorrow.”