Lucas Carper (NCGA)
Playing competitively for the fifth consecutive week, UC Davis sophomore Lucas Carper used his youthfulness to his advantage, having enough in the tank to bring himself to victory.
As the 26-seed, Carper battled his way to the finals, never needing the 18th hole to complete his wins. Winning his matches 2&1, 4&3, 3&2, and 4&2, Carper was set to match up against 12-seed Weston Payne in a 36-hole marathon on Friday at Spyglass Hill.
Although fatigued from five weeks of intense play and rigorous match play on a tough course this week, Carper never trailed in any of his matches.
“It’s a long, long grind out here,” Carper told the NCGA. “It was really rough at times.”
Even though he may have thought it was tough, Carper didn’t show it. In the championship match, he quickly amassed a 4 up lead as the duo made the quarter-post. In fact, Carper won seven of the first 10-holes while dropping one in favor of Payne, good for a 6 up lead through 10 holes of play.
Rather than lose focus and play lackadaisical, the big lead helped Carper stay focused, saying, “The start and early lead kept me going for the second round,” and “I had a lot of confidence entering the afternoon round.”
After 26 holes, Payne finally chipped away enough to make a comeback seem doable. Carper was 3 up with 10 to play, which despite the amount of energy Payne had to expend to cut the lead in half, a 3 up lead is never safe.
Regaining a 4 up lead on the par-3 12th, Carper teed it up on his least favorite hole; the par-4 13th.
“The 13th had caused me problems all week,” Carper said. “I was thankful to get that par at that moment.”
Carper was able to seal the championship on the par-3 15th with a 4-iron from 229 that was close enough to be conceded. Payne dumped his tee shot into the water, essentially ending the match.
“This is my biggest win ever,” said a tearful Carper. “It hasn’t sunk in yet. It’s unreal to win and have my mom and dad out there with me. It means so much.”
Carper became the second UC Davis player to claim the championship as Thomas Hutchinson won it back in 2018.
In the senior bracket, Rich Petit and Tom Ansbro needed extra holes to crown a champion.
Petit fell 3 down early in the 18-hole match before clawing his way back to drawing it all square on the 17th before halving the 18th to force extra holes.
Taking the win on the second playoff hole, Petit took home his first NCGA title.
ABOUT THE NCGA Match Play
The oldest of the NCGA’s major events, the Amateur
Match Play Championship, dates back to 1903 when
was first played at San Rafael GC. Varying formats
been used over the 100+ years of competition but
the tournament is 36 holes of stroke-play qualifying,
followed by a 32-person seeded match play bracket.
Pre-qualifying required for non-exempt players.
must have a handicap index of 5.4 or less.
View Complete Tournament Information