In a stunning and exciting finish that came down to the wire on the final hole of the 54-hole tournament, Stephen Sear defended his state title and all golfers walked away from Cascata appreciative of the hospitality for the entire four days of the tournament, which included the inaugural Nevada State Amateur Reunion Invitational.
Sear, a member at Thunder Canyon in Washoe Valley, Nev., shot 1-under and survived a final putt by Edward Fryatt to win the Nevada State Amateur. Sear was 2-under for the final round and overcame a two-shot deficit over the final three holes to defeat Fryatt, who won the title in 1992 prior to turning professional.
Fryatt, a former UNLV All-American and PGA Tour player, finished even par for the tournament and tied with former UNLV golf captain A.J. McInerney. Two-time Nevada State Amateur champion Brady Exber finished at 3-over and in a tie for fourth with Erik Mathewson, Bradley Keyer, David Nelson and UNLV assistant golf coach Philip Rowe.
Sear, 49, won the 2015 Nevada State Amateur that was played at his home course and became the fifth golfer to win the tournament in back-to-back years.
“I don’t want to say last year was easy but because it was on my home course it felt that way and I think I had a big advantage,” Sear said. “This year I had to overcome a lot of inner demons because I was playing a course I wasn’t very familiar with and it also doesn’t set up very well for me. I tend to spray the ball off of the tee and you can’t do that out here. I survived and kept it in play, and it’s very satisfying to win again and on a difficult course for me.”
Sear trailed Fryatt by two shots with three holes to play but made up both strokes when he chipped in for eagle from about 90 feet on the par 5, 16th hole. Fryatt then made bogey on the par 3, 17th hole to give Sear the lead heading into the final hole.
Sear hit a wayward drive on the par 5, 18th but his ball bounced off of the rocks and back into the grass. Following his good fortune, he made par to clinch the victory against a deep and talented field that included some of the top high school and college players in the area.
“My favorite thing is to play against the young guys and it’s even better to beat them,” Sear said. “I’m not as talented as they are and they have a lot more potential so I have to outsmart them.”
Sear’s par on 18 almost wasn’t good enough because Fryatt stuck his sand wedge from 122 yards to about four feet from the hole for what would have been a tournament-tying birdie. However, Fryatt missed the short putt and walked away wondering what could have been.
“I did a lot of very good things during the three rounds, so I can’t just look at the final three holes and dwell on that,” Fryatt said. “But I’m deflated and disappointed, no doubt about it. But hats off to Sear; he had to finish strong and that’s what he did. He made some good putts coming in and the chip in on 16 was something I was expecting so I wasn’t surprised, but it was still difficult to recover from that.
In addition to bogeying 17, Fryatt three-putted for par on the 16th hole after Sear’s magical chip.
“I will think about what I could’ve done differently on the final holes and throughout the tournament and what I could’ve done better,” Fryatt said. “I didn’t finish like a Rebel as Coach Knight would say and that’s disappointing. It’s kind of like I have to re-learn all of these hard knocks all over again from when I was playing regularly on tour. I need to just let the moment happen and not rush it.”
Fryatt and the other competitors were appreciative of the staff at Cascata and how they were treated during the tournament.
“I want to thank Eric Dutt and Cascata for welcoming us and making us feel so special,” Fryatt said. “They made each of us feel important and that was very nice and hopefully it’s a nice stepping stone for future tournaments.”
Top 25 Scores
|Stephen Sear (’15)||70-74-71–215 (-1)|
|Edward Fryatt (’92)||70-74-72–216 (E)|
|Brady Exber (’91, ’08)||72-74-73–219 (+3)|
|Ben Davis||73-70-77–220 (+4)|
|Darrell Lutey||70-74-78–222 (+6)|
|Todd Roberts||75-72-75–222 (+7)|
|Andrew Chu||74-70-79–223 (+8)|
|David Hinitz||72-74-77–223 (+9)|
|Miguel Macias||72-79-73–224 (+10)|
|Dack Ishii||77-75-73–225 (+11)|
|Scott Berren||73-80-74–227 (+13)|
|Jordan Wright||74-73-81–228 (+14)|
|Mark Bowen||78-70-81–229 (+15)|
|Darren Michels II||76-73-80–229|
|Gilberto Herrera||77-79-74–230 (+16)|
|Mitchell Abbott||78-82-71–231 (+17)|
|Austen Ancell||73-73-86–232 (+19)|