MARANA, Ariz. (July 31, 2012) -- Matt Record, a junior college All-American from Scottsdale headed to Nebraska in the fall, ran away with medalist honors at the 88th Arizona Amateur Championship on Tuesday at the Gallery Golf Club in Marana.
Record, a key player on South Mountain Community College’s national championship team last month, set a torrid pace on the Gallery’s North Course with rounds of 6-under-par 66 to go with a 68 on Monday for a two-day total of 10-under 134. That was five shots better than UA sophomore Ricky Lee, a former Tucson Salpointe Catholic High standout that got into red numbers with a 67 his second time around.
Another shot back at 4-under 140 were Chandler’s Bryan Hoops, Scottsdale’s Carter Mejia and Ian Patterson, a teammate of Record’s at South Mountain.
Other players of note who made their way into the elite match-play bracket that includes the top 64 players: Zachary Wright (3 under, tied for sixth), the highly touted Phoenix Pinnacle High star headed for LSU in the fall; Chandler’s Peter Koo (1 under, T-17), who became the youngest player ever to win an Arizona Golf Association major when he won the 2011 AZ Stroke Play; Michael Wog (2 over, T-36), last year’s runner-up in the AZ Amateur who is playing in his final AGA event before he turns pro; and five-time AZ Amateur champ Ken Kellaney (4 over, T-54) of Phoenix.
Even 2011 AGA Player of the Year Camron Howell of Queen Creek qualified for match play despite himself, stumbling in with a 79. It helps, however, to shoot a 67 the day prior, as Howell did. That 67, by the way, proved to be the best score from Day One.
But in the end, the medal play portion of this tournament and the No.1 seed belonged to Record, who is one of five players from Arizona headed to Nebraska. The other Cornhusker recruits include Record’s teammate at South Mountain, Jimmy Kozikowski, as well as Kolton Lapa and the Wong twins, Aaron and Nate. Lapa and Aaron Wong also made their way into the match-play bracket, as both players were at even par (T-21). Nate Wong and Kozikowski were not in the 148-player field.
“The golf course just sets up really, really well for me, and the greens were soft and slow, so I could just throw it right at the pins,’’ said the 20-year-old Record, who made 14 birdies to offset four bogeys over the two days, including eight birdies on Tuesday.
“My scoring irons were just working. And I only missed two greens in two days, so everything is starting to click. I could not be more happy with my game right now.’’
Record will need all of it against the rest of this power-packed bracket, as a new champion in this AGA major is guaranteed after Bowen Osborn decided not to defend. And the North Course will be stretched from 7,000 yards to up to 7,300 yards, according to tournament manager Alex Tsakiris.
Record, who played on three straight state high school championship teams at Scottsdale Chaparral – all under coach Howard Twitty -- said the change in format for the last four days of this tournament works for him.
“I just love match play because I make a lot of birdies,’’ he said. “Last year I made it through the first two rounds so, hopefully, I’ll go farther this time around.’’
The mano y mano confrontations begin early Wednesday morning with 32 matches; a double session of 16 and eight on Thursday; and the quarterfinals and semifinals on Friday. The championship will take place early Saturday morning.