Pressure moments require phenomenal responses.
Unfortunately for Provo’s Darrin Overson, 43, that’s just what University of Utah golfer Kyler Dunkle did late in Friday morning’s quarterfinal match at the 2018 Utah State Amateur Championship at Oakridge Country Club in Farmington.
Dunkle used an impressive second shot on the 19th hole of competition (the par-5 Hole No. 1) that came to a rest just a couple of feet from the hole and Overson couldn’t answer as Dunkle secured the spot in the semifinals.
“I knew I was probably going to have to make my chip, seeing where his putt was,” Overson said. “I didn’t hit a very good second shot but he’s a solid player. I expected a good match and he played well.”
Each of the two golfers had their moments as they made their way around the course, but Overson was usually in front.
“We both played pretty solid,” Overson said. “There just weren’t a lot of putts made. I think I was 3-under-par for the round. I didn’t play the par-5s well. I think I parred every par-5, which out here is not going to get it done. That’s where he got some strokes back. But it was a good time.”
Overson went in front by two holes on a couple of occasions, but Dunkle only trailed by one when the Ute golfer hit the ball into the sand trap on Hole No. 16.
“He had about 6 feet to work with and he hit a great shot to within about 6 feet to win that hole,” Overson said. “That was phenomenal. I was 70 yards out thinking that if I hit it up there close or make par, there was a good chance that I’d be at least up one going into No. 17 — but then he hit that unbelievable shot.”
Dunkle’s shot ended up giving him the hole to tie things up in the match.
The scenario then repeated itself on Hole No. 17 as Dunkle bounced his second shot off the back of the green.
“It looked like he had very little chance,” Overson said. “He hit a chip shot that almost stopped, then continued to trickle down to the hole to about 3 feet. He had a couple of great chips coming home. It was fantastic. He did what he had to do.”
The two continued their match as both missed putts on Hole No. 18 that might have given them the win, but instead forced a sudden-death playoff hole.
Both players hit drives that stayed on the short grass but the second shot decided the round. Overson’s shot sailed wide right while Dunkle hit his near the hole.
Overson’s run came to an end on Friday but one of his first statements was, “See you next year.”
“This is definitely a tournament I look forward to,” Overson said. “I enjoy playing match play. It’s a different kind of game. I focused the first two days on trying to be conservative and take care of the par-5s. If you get into match play, you never know what will happen after that. It’s a different mindset. I just love it. This tournament means a lot to me.”
Dunkle faced Utah teammate Blake Tomlinson in the semifinals Friday afternoon and held on to get the 3-and-1 win, sending him to Saturday’s 36-hole title match at Oakridge Country Club against young phenom Preston Summerhays.
For complete Utah State Amateur details, go to UGA.org.