By Taylor Albritton, KCGA Boatwright Intern
The 2018 Kansas City Match Play Championship kicked off Friday, May 18th with a full field of 78 players teeing it up at Swope Memorial Golf Course.
With a beautiful opening day and optimal conditions, the golfers fought for the chance to make match play after 18 holes of stroke-play qualifying Friday morning. The top 32 scores advanced to match play later that afternoon with the cut line at 75 (+3). Five players carded a 75 on their round tied at 29th and a playoff was required to narrow down the field. Five players went off at #5 at Swope Memorial, battling for four spots left for match play.
Mark Terranova, Blake Mullen, Scott Schaeffer, Ritch Nigh, and Alex Downing fought through a 3 hole playoff, and ultimately Alex Downing was left on the outside looking in. Some other featured names who made match play include Ryne Fisher, Matt Kelley, Luke Lutgen, and defending champion Travis Mays.
With the match play field set, the round of 32 began Friday afternoon. As the 32 seed, Terranova pulled off the upset by defeating the 1 seed, Park Ulrich. A few other upsets included Ryne Fisher, 24 seed, over Ryan Faherty, 7 seed, and Blake Mullen, 30 seed, over Nick Nash, 3 seed.
The round of 16 began Saturday morning after a two hour rain delay. Terranova and Mullen continued their upset bids by beating Jim Seward, the 16 seed and Luke Horseman, the 19 seed. Cam Wiltse took out Doug Albers 3 and 2 and the round of 16 saw defending champion Travis Mays lose to Jay Gregory 6 and 5.
The quarterfinals began that afternoon between the top 8. Terranova went up against Jeff Mason and secured a spot in the semi-finals 2 and 1. Cam Wiltse defeated Jay Gregory 4 and 2 while Michael Madrigal took out Blake Allen 2 and 1. The last quarterfinal match between Jackson Foth and Blake Mullen was decided handily by Foth 7 and 6.
Championship Sunday began after another brief weather delay in the morning. Mark Terranova went up against Cam Wiltse in the first semi-final match of the day. Wiltse struggled on the opening few holes, and Terranova took advantage. Never losing his lead, Terranova won his way to the championship match 3 and 2.
The second semi-final match between Michael Madrigal and Jackson Foth saw a competitive first nine. Both players battled back and forth, but Foth ultimately made the turn at 1 up after a birdie on #9. After a few mistakes by Madrigal on the back nine, Foth came out on top 4 and 2 with five birdies and an eagle on his round.
The championship match was set between Mark Terranova, the 32 seed, and Jackson Foth, the 22 seed. Foth got off to a early lead after three birdies in a row. Terranova continued to fight back throughout the front nine, but after a couple more birdies, Foth made the turn at 2 up. Terranova and Foth were step for step through the first four holes on the back nine. After a bogey on 14 by Terranova, Foth saw himself 3 up with four holes to go. After a great 20-foot birdie make on the Par-3, 16th, Foth became the 2018 Kansas City Match Play Champion at 3 and 2.
Both players played great golf all weekend, along with the many others who joined us for this weekend. It was a great championship, and a big congratulations to the new KC Match Play Champion: Jackson Foth.
As always we couldn’t do any of this without the many volunteers who help us as well as Swope Memorial Golf Course for hosting. We can’t wait to see everyone back next year!