Courtesy of Arizona Golf Association
Kristoffer Marshall won the 97th Arizona Amateur Championship Presented by PXG, 2 & 1 over Evan White in a thrilling match at Grayhawk Golf Club’s Talon Course. Marshall erased a one-hole deficit at the turn, winning the 16th and 17th holes to capture the match, 2 & 1.
“I’m here, and I’m thrilled to be here,” said Marshall with a smile after the trophy presentation, holding his Kachina with Pinnacle Peak in the distance. “There were a couple times in matches when I wasn’t sure we’d get here. And then there were some really good glimmers of hope that showed I have just as much game sometimes. So we’re here, and I’m happy.”
“I gave it my all out there – it stinks to come up short like that but I know it will help me going forward,” said White, the 2019 Arizona Amateur Champion. “Overall I’m really happy with the way I played.”
After matching pars on the first two holes, White’s four-foot par putt lipped out on the third hole. Marshall had already made a six-footer for par, giving him a 1 up lead. Marshall would maintain that lead until the 6th hole, when he missed a six-foot comebacker of his own to halve the hole.
“I saw him throw it to five feet on six, and I went right at it as well, and mine ripped back into the bunker,” said Marshall. “I knew I had to put the gas pedal down and put some light pressure on.”
One hole later, Marshall suffered through a streak of bad luck, as his approach landed on the green, but spun off the left side and into the bunker. His bunker shot landed just short of the green, and he couldn’t chip in for par. White’s birdie putt would be conceded, giving him a 1 up lead, and igniting a fire inside Marshall.
“I trailed by one coming into 10 – that was the first time I was down all week.,” said Marshall. “I think that’s what I was most proud of because I hung in there all week. Evan you could tell – he just looked a little more stoic. You knew he was here to do something today, and that was to push me. And I had to definitely give him a little push back.”
White held on to the one-hole lead until the par-4 12th hole, when Marshall stuffed his approach to a foot. White’s approach to 12 feet ended up hole-high, but he couldn’t convert the putt, and conceded Marshall’s birdie to tie the match.
Marshall and White would trade clutch putts over the next three holes to keep the match tied. But on the 16th hole, with a severe right to left slope on a 30-foot putt, White left himself seven feet past the hole for par. He missed the putt, and Marshall’s par earned him a 1 up lead.
“That’s the beauty of match play – anybody has a chance,” said White. “I hit every fairway and put myself in good spots around the greens and on the greens. But it comes down to one or two putts, and that’s what makes it so fun.”
With a chance to close out the match on the par-3 island 17th green, Marshall hit his tee shot to eight feet. White followed with an even more stellar shot to six feet. But like it had been all week long, the flat stick came through for Marshall, burying the birdie putt. White could not convert to extend the match, providing for Marshall’s winning margin.
“Hats off to Kris – he played great,” said White. “It was a lot of fun.”
ABOUT THE Arizona Amateur
The event will play host to a maximum field size of 156
players for qualifying rounds, with the field cut to the
top 64 players for the match play championship, all
competing in one division. The event will consist of a
36-hole qualifier, followed by a 64-player match play
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