Lili Galea'i hoists the Utah Women's Amateur trophy
(photo by Kristin Murphy, Deseret News)
Facing a two-hole deficit heading to the 17th hole in the championship match of the Utah Women’s State Amateur against Berlin Long, BYU sophomore Lila Galea’i had her back firmly against the wall at Oakridge Country Club in Farmington, Utah on Thursday.
But in match play anything can happen – and it did.
Galea’i won the last the last three holes, including the 17th and 19th holes with birdies, to defeat Long in a match she never led until she tapped-in her birdie putt on the 19th hole to secure the title.
“It was definitely a roller coaster,” Galea’i told the Deseret News after the match. “I knew it wasn’t going to be easy this whole week, especially going up against Berlin today. We’ve been friends ever since we were little.”
It wasn’t the first time the two longtime friends had gone head-to-head with a state title on the line. In 2017, Galea’i defeated Long to win the 13-14 age division of the Utah Junior Amateur championship.
History has a way of repeating itself as was the case Thursday afternoon at Oakridge Country Club.
With the match dormie heading to the 17th hole, the long-hitting Galea’i stuck a gap wedge to eight feet of the hole and then rolled in a slippery downhill birdie putt to keep her hopes alive.
On the 18th, Long’s approach found a greenside bunker and a poor sand shot left her with a lengthy putt for par and the championship. When her putt lipped out for her only bogey on the back nine, the two players marched on to the 19th hole, the par-5, 500 yard first hole at Oakridge.
“I hit the putt exactly where I wanted to and I thought it had a really good chance to go in,” said Long. “It’s kind of a bummer.”
On the first extra hole, Galea’i took advantage of her length off the tee and easily reached the par-5, 500 yard first hole at Oakridge in two, which led to a birdie and the Utah Women’s Amateur championship for the native of Lehi.
“I knew it was going to be a good match,” said Long. “Me an Lila have been playing together since we were, like 11. So we always push each other. I just knew it was going to be a fun match. So to be able to make it here was just an accomplishment itself. So, I’m really proud of myself.”
Long, a rising senior at Lone Peak High School in Highland, Utah, also lost in 19 holes in the Utah Junior Amateur championship match last April.
“Yeah, very similar matches,” Long said. I came up short in both of them but I played good golfso I can’t be too mad about it.”
Long will join Galea’i at BYU in the fall of 2022.
The Deseret News contributed to this report.
View results for Utah Women's State Amateur
ABOUT THE Utah Women's State Amateur
Eligibility: All Women UGA Members that have a 14.9
handicap index or less as of the registration
Format: 36 holes stroke play qualifying to determine
the low 16 players who will advance to match play.
View Complete Tournament Information