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Martin Leon becomes first international winner of Utah Amateur
18 Jul 2021
by Jim Young of AmateurGolf.com

see also: View results for Utah State Amateur, Alpine Country Club, Martin Leon Rankings

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Photo courtesy of Utah Golf Association
Photo courtesy of Utah Golf Association

Martin Leon, a redshirt freshman at the University of Utah, defeated his Ute teammate Blake Tomlinson in 39 holes on Saturday to win the Utah State Amateur championship held at Alpine Country Club.

Leon went 1-up with a birdie on the par-4 third hole in the morning round and never relinquished his lead the rest of the day, although Tomlinson pulled event twice on the back nine in the afternoon round.

On the par-4 10th hole, the player’s 28th hole of the day, Leon drove the green and made the eagle putt to take a 3-up lead. However, Tomlinson fought back with wins on the 29th, 31st and 32nd holes to square the match. Leon sent a charge through the crowd when he chipped in for a birdie on the par-4 15th hole to take a 1-up lead with three holes remaining.

Tomlinson won the par-5 17th hole with a birdie to even the match and when both players made pars on the 18th/36th hole, the match went to extra holes. On the third extra hole, Leon survived a wayward drive to save par and when Tomlinson missed his par putt, the Chilean completed one of the most improbable championship runs in the tournament’s long history.

After making a birdie on the 17th hole of the last day of qualifying, Leon then endured a 16-for-11 playoff just to get into the match play portion of the event. In the quarterfinals, he made a 30-foot birdie putt from well off the green to dispatch of 2008 champion Dan Horner on the 19th hole. He then had an easy time with it Spencer Dunaway in the semifinals, defeating the BYU graduate 6 and 5 to set up an all-Ute final.

It was the second straight year Tomlinson fell in the championship match after coming up short to Mitchell Schow last September. He also reached the semifinals in 2018 before being eliminated by Kyler Dunkle.

“I’m just proud of myself for making it here. It’s just a long week,” Tomlinson told the Deseret News. “Although I didn’t win, I’m still happy we had two Utes in the final match. I always want that.

“Martin played solidly, and I didn’t,” Tomlinson said. “Hopefully, he is coming out of his shell going into this season, because we need all the help we can get, just getting better and developing. So I am excited for what he has to bring this year.”

“Playing against Blake, I knew he was going to be the favorite guy today because he finished second last year and it was kinda tough for him,” Leon said. “I said, ‘If I don’t win today, I am going to be really happy for him, because he really deserved it.’”

Results: Utah State Amateur
WinChileMartin LeonChile200
Runner-upUTBlake TomlinsonSalt Lake City, UT100
SemifinalsUTLuke CrapoKaysville, UT50
SemifinalsHISpencer DunawayMililani, HI50
QuarterfinalsUTKelton HirschNorth Salt Lake, UT25

View full results for Utah State Amateur

ABOUT THE Utah State Amateur

Those who qualify, along with the exempt players, will advance to a 36-hole qualifying. The low 64 qualifiers will advance into match play. There will be one round of match play on Wednesday, two rounds of match play on Thursday and Friday, and a 36-hole championship match on Saturday.

View Complete Tournament Information

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