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No Settling for 2nd This Time

Kent goes 37 holes to claim title in 114th CGA Match Play


by Gary Baines - 7/11/2014


Over the years, it's eaten at Cody Kent a little bit that while he's had his share of significant accomplishments in golf, he's never been able to win a major statewide tournament.

He finished second twice during his high school years at the 5A state tournament. And he was also runner-up in the 2010 CGA Junior Stroke Play, where he led by two with four holes to play at his home course.

But that "always the bridesmaid, never the bride" thing shouldn't hound Kent anymore after Friday. The 22-year-old from the Country Club at Castle Pines made it into contention again at a big statewide event, but this time he wasn't forced to settle for second place.

In a match that featured six lead changes, Kent won the 36th and 37th holes after being 1 down to capture the title Friday in the 114th CGA Match Play Championship at The Heritage at Westmoor in Westminster.

"I'm tired of second place," he said after earning his first CGA championship title. "It's been a long time coming. I had a pretty good junior career. It kind of stuck in the back of my head that I didn't win any junior or men's CGA championships. That's something I've been wanting to do, so it's nice to get one."

In just the second CGA Match Play final since 1981 to go extra holes, Kent prevailed in 37 holes when Jacob Allenback of Walking Stick Golf Course missed a 3-foot par putt on the first green (left).

"This is huge. This is really big for me," said Kent, who will be a fifth-year senior at the University of Tulsa. "I haven't had a lot of success in the last couple of years trying to find my game. I put in a lot of hard work this spring and early summer. It's starting to pay off. I can see it coming in my game.

"It just hasn't hit me, but this is probably my biggest (golf) accomplishment," surpassing qualifying for the 2010 U.S. Amateur and winning an AJGA tournament in 2008.

Indeed, Kent (below) joins the likes of Hale Irwin (1966), Steve Jones (1980), Kevin Stadler (1999 and 2002) and Brandt Jobe (1984, '85 and '88) as a winner of the CGA Match Play.

Allenback, the 2012 4A state high school champion who now plays for Colorado State University-Pueblo, took a 1-up lead after rallying from being 3 down through 27 holes. But he missed a 3-foot birdie that would have won the 33rd hole and hit his second shot into the deep native well left of the 18th green, and lost that 36th hole with a bogey.

Then on the players' third trip up the par-4 first hole on Friday, Kent hit a 52-degree wedge from 138 yards to 7 feet below the cup, while Allenback ended up 20 feet from the flag. After Allenback ran his birdie attempt 3 feet past the hole, Kent left his birdie putt just short. But instead of going to the 38th hole, Allenback pushed his short par putt and Kent had the victory.

"I'm a little disappointed," Allenback said. "I should have come away with that (title), especially being 1 up going into 18."

While Allenback (left) generally struck the ball well tee to green, a balky putter probably cost him the title. In the final 18 holes of the match, he missed five putts of 5 feet or less.

"I just need to work on my putting," the 19-year-old said. "I'm going to take something really good away from this, and go practice my putting. If I can get that down, I think I can be right up there and play pretty good in a lot of tournaments."

Kent was taken aback when Allenback missed the decisive par putt on the 37th hole.

"I was just figuring out what I wanted to hit on the next tee," he said. "I was surprised he missed it. That, to be honest, wasn't the way I wanted to see it end."

Kent, the 2009 CGA Junior Player of the Year, earlier had taken some heart in his chances when Allenback missed his 3-foot birdie putt on No. 15 in the second round. Had Allenback drained that one, he would have won five of the previous six holes and been 2 up with three to play.

"I knew I had an opportunity when we pushed 15," Kent said. "That was big when he missed that little one. I knew I was definitely well in it. I knew I could have a chance if I could push it to 18. And 18 kind of worked out. When I saw him pull it left there, I just had to put it in play and I would have a decent chance" at winning the hole with a par, which he did.

Kent (left) finished the day right around par, mainly thanks to a stretch from the 21st through the 25th holes where he carded a conceded eagle and holed two birdie putts. That gave him a 3-up lead, but Allenback forced it to go the distance after winning the 28th, 29th, 30th and 32nd holes. Allenback made three birdies during that stretch, though one of them was only good for a halve.

While Friday marked the first extra-hole match of the week for Kent, it was the fourth for Allenback, who defeated younger brother Justin in one of those on Wednesday. Justin was caddying for Jacob on Friday.

Considering Jacob Allenback competed in the 54-hole Pueblo City Championship last weekend, he ended up playing 201 holes of competitive golf in eight days.

"It's been a lot of golf," he said.

But he admits he exceeded his own expectations by making it to the Match Play final.

"I wasn't expecting to get this far," said Allenback, who defeated defending champ David Oraee in the semifinals. "I had plans last night that I had to cancel because I was playing in this thing. I managed to grind out a few matches and ended up winning them. It was a great week. I had a blast."

As did Kent (pictured at left with Allenback), though it took some advice from friend -- and fellow competitor -- Parker Edens to help him ride out the highs and low of the final. Edens, a former CSU golfer, was a CGA Match Play finalist in 2012 and '13, finishing second in each case.

"He said it was just going to be emotional, there are going to be a lot of changes (in momentum)," Kent said. "You've got to go with it and be patient. That's what I tried to do when I lost three in a row to get back to all square.

"That (advice) helped me to stay calm even though I didn't have my best on the back nine."

The Castle Rock resident knew he wasn't considered one of the pre-tournament favorites to emerge with the title, but that didn't keep him from thinking big.

"One of the assistants who helps me said, 'No one is expecting you to do anything. Just go out and play your game,'" Kent said. "I did that. So I had a lot of confidence going in. I just needed to prove it to myself."

Friday's match marked the first CGA Match Play final since 2005 to go extra holes. Nine years ago, Pat Grady went 38 holes to defeat University of Colorado teammate Derek Tolan for the title. Overall, there have been extra holes in the Match Play final eight times in 114 years.

 

CGA Match Play Championship
At The Heritage at Westmoor in Westminster
(Seeds in Parentheses)

ROUND OF 64
  David Oraee, Colorado National Golf Club (1) def. Palmer Giro, Ptarmigan Country Club (64), 6 and 5
  Cody Vance, Raccoon Creek Men's Club (32) def. Andrew Romano, Colorado Golf Club (33), 2 and 1
  Matt Porter, CommonGround Golf Course (16) def. Spencer Sheets, Glenmoor Country Club (49), 1 up
  Grant Rogers, Omni Interlocken GC (17) def. Matthew Goddard, Ptarmigan Country Club (48), 21 holes
  Cole Cunningham, Valley Country Club (57) def. Jan Wong, Flatirons Golf Course (8), 3 and 2
  Tristan Rohrbaugh, Ironbridge GC (40) def. David Lysaught, Pinehurst Country Club (25), 4 and 3
  Parker Edens, Greeley Country Club (9) def. Billy Ramsey, Lone Tree Mens Golf Club (56), 4 and 3
  Dillon McDonald, Red Sky Golf Club (41) def. Steven Irwin, Lakewood Country Club (24), 19 holes
  Justin Allenback, Elmwood GC (4) def. Grant Porter, CommonGround Golf Course (61), 2 and 1
  Jacob Allenback, Walking Stick GC (36) def. Blair Matthews, CommonGround Golf Course (29), 3 and 2
  Aj Morris, River Valley Ranch Golf Club (13) def. Michael Wilhelm, Country Club of the Rockies (52), 3 and 2
  Christopher Raap, CJGA Club (20) def. Jon Lindstrom, Lakewood Country Club (45), 2 up
  Minkyu Jeon, Raccoon Creek Men's Club (5) def. Ryan Schmitz, Colorado Golf Club (60), 3 and 2
  Jimmy Makloski, Pueblo Country Club (37) def. Wesley Martin, CommonGround Golf Course (28), 5 and 4
  Andrew Howe, Fox Hill CC (12) def. Pierce Trumper, Fort Collins Country Club (53), 19 holes
  Gus Lundquist, Colorado Golf Club (44) def. Gregory Pattison, Heritage at Westmoor (21), 5 and 4
  Dylan Mitchell, Lakewood Country Club (2) def. Clint Miller, Meadow Hills Golf Course (63), 5 and 4
  Christopher Thayer, Bear Creek Golf Club (34) def. Ray Makloski, Pueblo Country Club (31), 7 and 5
  Colin Prater, Broadmoor Golf Club (15) def. Alex Kephart, Eisenhower Golf Club (50), 1 up
  Steve Connell, Riverdale Golf Club (18) def. Zach Fowlds, Colorado Golf Club (47), 3 and 2
  Ethan Freeman, Glenmoor Country Club (7) def. Trevor Mckune, Pinehurst Country Club (58), 2 and 1
  Tanner Jenson, Ridge at Castle Pines North (39) def. Bryan Cannon, Columbine Country Club (26), 3 and 2
  Jake Kelley, Pinehurst CC (55) def. Bobby Taggart, Canongate Colorado (10), 4 and 2
  Cody Kent, Country Club at Castle Pines (42) def. Cameron Brown, Sonnenalp Golf Club (23), 2 and 1
  Steven Kupcho, CommonGround Golf Course (3) def. Charles Santaularia, CommonGround Golf Course (62), 1 up
  Zach Tripp, Foothills Golf Course (35) def. Drew Trujillo, Bridges (30), 5 and 4
  Chris Dillon, CommonGround GC (14) def. Mr. Harry Johnson, Eagle Ranch Golf Course (51), 19 holes
  Braden Baer, The Ranch CC (46) def. Behrod Keshtavar, CJGA Club (19), 1 up
  Matthew Weiss, Highlands Ranch Golf Club (6) def. Lamar Carlile, City Park Associates Club (59), 7 and 5
  Jeffrey Gravina, Pinehurst Country Club (27) def. Jack Cummings, Omni Interlocken Resort (38), 1 up
  Drew Vance, Raccoon Creek Men's Club (54) def. Joel Perez, Colorado National Golf Club (11), 4 and 2
  Collin Tedesco, Plum Creek G & CC (43) def. Pierce Aichinger, Bear Creek GC (22), 1 up

ROUND OF 32
  David Oraee, Colorado National Golf Club (1) def. Cody Vance, Raccoon Creek Men's Club (32), 5 and 4
  Matt Porter, CommonGround Golf Course (16) def. Grant Rogers, Omni Interlocken GC (17), 6 and 5
  Cole Cunningham, Valley Country Club (57) def. Tristan Rohrbaugh, Ironbridge GC (40), 1 up
  Parker Edens, Greeley Country Club (9) def. Dillon McDonald, Red Sky Golf Club (41), 2 and 1
  Jacob Allenback, Walking Stick GC (36) def. Justin Allenback, Elmwood GC (4), 22 holes
  Aj Morris, River Valley Ranch Golf Club (13) def. Christopher Raap, CJGA Club (20), 4 and 3
  Minkyu Jeon, Raccoon Creek Men's Club (5) def. Jimmy Makloski, Pueblo Country Club (37), 1 up
  Gus Lundquist, Colorado Golf Club (44) def. Andrew Howe, Fox Hill CC (12), 3 and 1
  Christopher Thayer, Bear Creek Golf Club (34) def. Dylan Mitchell, Lakewood Country Club (2), 2 and 1
  Colin Prater, Broadmoor Golf Club (15) def. Steve Connell, Riverdale Golf Club (18), 2 and 1
  Ethan Freeman, Glenmoor Country Club (7) def. Tanner Jenson, Ridge at Castle Pines North (39), 1 up
  Cody Kent, Country Club at Castle Pines (42) def. Jake Kelley, Pinehurst CC (55), 3 and 1
  Zach Tripp, Foothills Golf Course (35) def. Steven Kupcho, CommonGround Golf Course (3), 1 up
  Braden Baer, The Ranch CC (46) def. Chris Dillon, CommonGround GC (14), 6 and 5
  Jeffrey Gravina, Pinehurst Country Club (27) def. Matthew Weiss, Highlands Ranch Golf Club (6), 5 and 3
  Collin Tedesco, Plum Creek G & CC (43) def. Drew Vance, Raccoon Creek Men's Club (54), 2 and 1

ROUND OF 16
  David Oraee, Colorado National Golf Club (1) def. Matt Porter, CommonGround Golf Course (16), 3 and 1
  Cole Cunningham, Valley Country Club (57) def. Parker Edens, Greeley Country Club (9), 1 up
  Jacob Allenback, Walking Stick GC (36) def. Aj Morris, River Valley Ranch Golf Club (13), 19 holes
  Gus Lundquist, Colorado Golf Club (44) def. Minkyu Jeon, Raccoon Creek Men's Club (5), 5 and 4
  Colin Prater, Broadmoor Golf Club (15) def. Christopher Thayer, Bear Creek Golf Club (34), 1 up
  Cody Kent, Country Club at Castle Pines (42) def. Ethan Freeman, Glenmoor Country Club (7), 4 and 3
  Zach Tripp, Foothills Golf Course (35) def. Braden Baer, The Ranch CC (46), 3 and 2
  Jeffrey Gravina, Pinehurst Country Club (27) def. Collin Tedesco, Plum Creek G & CC (43), 4 and 2

QUARTERFINALS
  David Oraee, Colorado National Golf Club (1) def. Cole Cunningham, Valley Country Club (57), 1 up
  Jacob Allenback, Walking Stick GC (36) def. Gus Lundquist, Colorado Golf Club (44), 19 holes
  Cody Kent, Country Club at Castle Pines (42) def. Colin Prater, Broadmoor Golf Club (15), 4 and 2
  Zach Tripp, Foothills Golf Course (35) def. Jeffrey Gravina, Pinehurst Country Club (27), 2 and 1

SEMIFINALS
  Jacob Allenback, Walking Stick GC (36) def. David Oraee, Colorado National Golf Club (1), 3 and 2
  Cody Kent, Country Club at Castle Pines (42) def. Zach Tripp, Foothills Golf Course (35), 3 and 2

FINAL
  Cody Kent, Country Club at Castle Pines (42) def. Jacob Allenback, Walking Stick GC (36), 37 holes
 




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