Utah Women’s Amateur: Quarterfinalists include three former champions
Grace Summerhays (Randy Dodson of Fairways Media Photo)
Grace Summerhays (Randy Dodson of Fairways Media Photo)

Five-time winner Kelsey Chugg spoke for practically everyone involved with the Utah Women’s State Amateur Championship when she learned of her meeting with 2021 champion Lila Galea’i in Wednesday’s round of 32, Chugg thought, “Oh, no.”

Players, administrators, and fans like to save the best stuff for last in these events. But pairings like this one can sometimes occur, especially with a format of one-stroke-play qualifying round. The tiebreaking draws then conspired to produce a morning battle between the Women’s State Am’s last two champions, followed by Chugg’s afternoon duel with 2019 winner Kerstin Ngakuru in the round of 16 at Jeremy Ranch Golf & Country Club.

The results? Quite similar, actually. Chugg’s pair of 3-and-2 victories over the BYU golfers from Utah County sent her into Thursday’s quarterfinals with some extra rest. Grace Summerhays also finished early, having played only 26 holes in two matches, while the other six matches were extended by a late-afternoon weather delay.

Thursday’s quarterfinal pairings are Summerhays vs. Samira Salinas, Jane Olson vs. Chugg, Berlin Long vs. Tess Blair and Grace Williams vs. Faith Vui.

Chugg’s challenging bracket and Galea’i’s early exit were products of their qualifying performances: Chugg’s 79, earning the No. 21 seed, and Galea’i’s 76, good for No. 12.

Chugg was “disappointed” to see the draw, she said, “because I think we both had a rough day (Tuesday) and so we both would have wished this (meeting) was further along in the tournament.”

As for her next assignment, well, Chugg had not even looked that far into the bracket. Informed that Ngakuru awaited her, Chugg said, “OK.”

Apparently, nobody wins five Women’s State Am titles and a U.S. Women’s Mid-Amateur trophy without “trying to stay in the moment here,” as Chugg said.

Her approach worked Wednesday, when she was “just a little more focused,” she said, crediting her coach/caddie, Lynsey Myers, Willow Creek Country Club’s Head Professional.

“It helped having Lynsey here, just talking through a few shots,” Chugg said, “and the putter was better at times.”

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 deadline

Format: 36 holes stroke play qualifying to determine the low 16 players who will advance to match play.

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