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.
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