OGDEN – He got a hug from his opponent and a kiss from his caddy, and with that BYU’s Cole Ogden wrapped up another spectacular day at the Utah State Golf Amateur in Ogden on Thursday afternoon.
Ogden, who will be a senior at BYU, beat West High School senior Austin Banz 5 and 4 and did it with an incredible shot on No. 14 that convinced Banz to concede the hole and give Ogden the win.
Odgen looked like he was in trouble on No. 14 when his tee shot landed in a fairway bunker that left him 125 yards away from the hole.
But Ogden pulled out his trusty sand wedge and hit his best shot of the day. It stopped two feet way. After Banz, who has committed to play at BYU, saw the shot, he walked over and gave Ogden a hug, realizing the match was over. Ogden then got a kiss from his caddy, one of the benefits of having your girlfriend caddy for you.
“That shot was probably one of the better shots I had. Even though it was a sand wedge, that lip was pretty high,” Ogden said. “I knew I had to get it high to get out of it. I figured it was four or five feet (away) but I didn’t know it was only one or two.”
Ogden opened the day by beating Kirk Siddens (1 up) to advance to the round of 16.
“For some reason as soon as I was done with Siddens this morning I felt pretty confident going into this round and it just kind of steamrolled,” Ogden said.
He opened up a three-hole advantage against Banz after nine holes. Banz won the next hole, but Ogden regained his lead on No. 11. The dagger then came on No. 13, when Ogden sank a 20-foot birdie putt to take control of the match.
It turned out to be a good day for the rest of BYU’s golf team. Maple Mountain High School senior Kai Ruiz, who has committed to BYU, beat Jacob Holt in dramatic fashion. He sank a 45-foot putt on No. 18 to keep his tournament hopes alive.
“I knew getting the right speed would be the key because a two-putt would have been pretty good to go into extra holes,” Ruiz said. “Me and my caddy, John Taylor, looked at the putt and knew there wasn’t much break. I got the right line and the right speed and it went in. This is a great experience. It’s a tough field and it's match play, too, so anything can happen.”
Two other BYU golfers also advanced. Tommy Higham beat Colton Dallimore 4 and 2 and CJ Lee beat Tanner Alder 4 and 2.
Higham and Lee will square off against each other tomorrow. BYU’s Mike Jurca lost to Jon Wright, the 2012 champion (2 and 1.) Wright will face Ogden. Ruiz takes on Thomas Young, while Preston Richards and Kurt Owen make up the final twosome.
Provo resident Jesse Clark, 35, qualified for match play for the first time in his career and opened the day with an impressive 3 and 2 win over Dan Horner. Clark then fell to Young 4 and 2 but with thrilled with the experience.
“It was really fun to be part of it today and to be at the breakfast of champions. Then to beat a guy like Dan Horner this morning, I probably couldn’t ask for much more than that,” Clark said. “I played really good. I made a lot of birdies on the front nine and then I ran out of gas on the second nine and the guy I played was making putts and that’s what you’ve got to do up here is drive the ball and make putts.”
The tournament continues this morning at 7:30 a.m. at the Ogden Golf and Country Club.