All-American junior to be Steve Ziegler continued his fine summer play with a marathon win in the Colorado Golf Association match play championship. Below are results from the Player's Amateur where David Chung, Graham Brockington and Dodge Kemmer competed.
The following excerpt is taken from Colorado Golf Journal's report on the tournament:
Steve Ziegler of Broomfield was the beneficiary of the last switch in momentum as he won the last three holes of the match for a 1-up victory and his first CGA championship.
“I was absolutely pumped” despite being 2 down to Gempel with three holes left, said Ziegler, a 20-year-old junior-to-be at Stanford. “I was on the ropes.”
But Ziegler turned out to be the last man standing as Gempel apparently ran out of gas and finished double bogey-bogey-bogey. The recent University of Colorado graduate missed a 2-foot par putt -- his second of the final 18 holes -- on the 36th hole to end the match.
“I was surprised he finished the way he did,” Ziegler said of Gempel. “But this whole week I was trying a new match play philosophy. I was playing the course and old man par. It made all the difference this week. I was just forgetting about what my opponent did.”
Gempel tried to be philosophical about what happened down the stretch.
“I’m pretty disappointed," he said. "But I played about as well as I’ve played in a long time. I’ve come a long way in the last month. I was once this close to quitting golf. So I’m proud of the way I played.”
Ziegler was pushed for the first time all week. In his first five matches at Bear Creek, the player from The Ranch Country Club was 18 under par and his closest match was 4 and 3. On Friday, he played his first nine holes in 5-over-par 41, but was 2 under for his final nine. That included a 78-yard hole-out for an eagle on the par-4 10th hole that squared the match. And though Gempel rebounded to regain the momentum with birdie putts of 1 foot, 8 feet and 8 feet in the middle of the back nine, Ziegler prevailed in the end.
For Ziegler it was another in a long list of impressive accomplishments in the last several years. He’s won two state high school titles, claimed his first college victory, was one of eight American college players selected for the prestigious Palmer Cup team and made the round of 16 at last month’s British Amateur. And now he‘s the 2009 CGA Match Play champion.
Winning a CGA title for the first time “is huge,” Ziegler said. “It’s been a giant monkey on my back. I’ve played in (CGA) events since I was a kid, and they’re difficult to win. It’s a huge accomplishment. I’d put it up there alongside my state (high school) wins and my first college win.”
Ziegler joins a list of CGA Match Play champions that includes Hale Irwin, Steve Jones, Brandt Jobe and Kevin Stadler.
In the Players Amateur held at Hilton Head, South Carolina, recent graduate Dodge Kemmer finished tied for 11th with rounds of 70-78-74-68, David Chung was 18th with rounds of 72-73-75-71 and Graham Brockington missed the cut after rounds of 80-82-75.
In the US Public Links event where Sihwan Kim qualified to compete, Sihwan failed to make match play by two strokes after rounds of 74-77. Sihwan was playing at the Jimmy Austin OU Golf Club in Norman, Oklahoma. Complete results can be found here.