LONE TREE, CO (June 24, 2016) -- For a match in which one of the competitors never led, Friday's 36-hole final of the 116th CGA Match Play at Lone Tree Golf Club certainly was a doozy.
Nathaniel Goddard of Ptarmigan Country Club in Fort Collins, a semifinalist in the 2015 CGA Match Play and runner-up in the 2015 CGA Stroke Play, played the last four holes in 2 under par to edge Josh Seiple of Castle Pines Golf Club 1 up and claim the title in the CGA's oldest championship.
It was the 25th time since the Match Play was first contested in 1901 that the final has gone the distance -- or to extra holes. But that's become far more prevalent in recent summers as finals have gone at least 36 holes five of the last eight years.
This time around, the finale spanned about 10 hours and 20 minutes from beginning to end as a weather delay of more than two hours interrupted the match as the players were on or around the 23rd green.
But the wait was well worth it for Goddard, a 22-year-old former Colorado Christian University golfer who won his first CGA title.
Though Seiple, a University of Mississippi golfer, never led in Friday's final, the players were all square through 14 holes. But Goddard then won each of the last four holes of the first round -- three with birdies -- to go into the 18-hole break 4 up.
Seiple made some headway with birdies from 20 and 15 feet on the first and second holes of the second 18, and eventually squared the match again with a par on the 32nd hole. Then after Goddard won the 33rd hole with a 20-foot birdie, the 20-year-old Seiple again pulled even on the 34th hole with a tough up and down for a birdie while Goddard three-putted for par.
But Goddard again responded, this time by draining a 6-foot downhill birdie putt on the 35th hole to go 1 up yet again. And when he bombed his drive on the par-4 finishing hole to just in front of the green -- and Seiple hit the lip of a fairway bunker with his second shot and had to get up and down for par, sinking a 4-foot putt -- Goddard clinched the win with a two-putt par from 8 feet.
Though Goddard plans to compete in the CGA Amateur at Boulder Country Club in August, he said he'll likely turn pro late in the year and hopes to earn a spot on the PGA Tour-licensed Mackenzie Tour in Canada for 2017.
Meanwhile, for Seiple, Friday marked his second runner-up finish in a state golf association championship since he returned to action after undergoing surgery on both his hips last year. He was also second in the Old Waverly Invitational, a Mississippi Golf Association event, in April. The CGA Match Play marked the first open-division CGA championship in which Seiple has competed.
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