Losole III captures 86th AZ Amateur
In a tense final match, Nicholas Losole III prevailed over Jake Golembiewski to win the 86th Arizona Amateur Championship at Pinnacle Peak Country Club. Golembiewski led almost the entire match, but it was Losole who prevailed at the end on the 19th hole. Play early on in the match was less than dramatic. Struggling with the speed of the greens early in the morning, both players got off to slow starts. “The greens seemed way faster today.” Golembiewski noted, “My stroke was close, but I was just guessing on the speed.” Both players traded wins on the first two holes, with a birdie by Golembiewski at number one and a par by Losole on number two. Holes three and four were halved with pars, but on number five things really started getting interesting. With both players in the back bunker, Losole played first and left himself 20 feet for par. Golembiewski then blasted out to inside four feet and won the hole with a par. Number six proved to be different though. With Golembiewski in good shape and Losole in trouble, it was looking like Golembiewski had the advantage after their tee shots. Losole played a shot from behind a tree onto the green about 30 feet from the hole. After a three-putt by Golembiewski, Losole was back to all square. On seven, after missing the green short, Losole was unable to save par and left Golembiewski two putts to reclaim a one-up lead. Both players traded pars on holes eight through 11 until Golembiewski ran in a 20-footer for birdie on number 12. “Number 12 was big because he took a two-up lead, then he piped one down 13,” Losole said. Playing 13 down two and with a tough bunker shot upcoming, Losole’s chances weren’t looking good. Losole hit a six iron from a tough lie in the fairway bunker to find the green and ultimately halve the hole and remain two down. “When I got through 13 with a par, I knew I had a chance,” he said. On hole 14, Losole hit a long drive and was able to reach the putting surface in two for an easy two-putt birdie and a win to get back to one down. Both players made par on the long par three-15th and headed to 16 with Golembiewski still clinging to a one-up advantage. After a Losole birdie on the short par four, the match was all square for the first time since number six. Golembiewski countered by birdieing the 17th hole to reclaim the lead and force Losole to win number 18 to have a chance. Golembiewski played first off the tee and pulled his tee shot left into the deep rough forcing a lay-up. Losole’s drive found the middle of the fairway leaving him 247 yards to a back left hole location. Losole played his second into the front bunker and blasted his third out to two feet to put pressure on Golembiewski. Golembiewski’s 10-foot birdie putt slid just past the edge leaving Losole’s tap in to extend the match which was successfully holed.
With the match all square and needing extra holes, the players headed back to number one tee. Both drives found the fairway in position to reach the par five in two. Golembiewski’s second came to rest in the front bunker near the lip forcing a much higher shot than he would have liked.
“The bunker on number one probably has the steepest bunker face on the course, I had to hit a higher shot than I would have liked, and just flubbed it a little bit,” Golembiewski said.
Losole fired his second shot onto the back fringe about 35 feet from the hole, leaving a routine up-and-down for a birdie. Golembiewski’s putt for birdie slid just past the right edge of the hole leaving Losole a little more than four feet for the championship.
“That is the type of putt you practice all the time like your trying to win the Masters, except this time it was for the Arizona Amateur,” Losole noted. When asked about the pressure of the situation Losole added, “I got really calm and comfortable and just told myself whatever happens, happens. Fortunately it went in.”
“Overall it was great week and my attitude going into the week was if someone was going to beat me, they would have to play great, and Nick played real well today to win,” Golembiewski noted. “I only made one bogey, he just played great golf to beat me at the end.”
Losole added, “I had to really fight hard to win this one today, as Jake was playing great throughout the entire match. Winning the Arizona Amateur makes my summer a huge success. This was the one event I wanted to win this summer so I am very excited”