LAS VEGAS, Nev. (July 25, 2017)—Bradley Keyer got off to a quick start in the match play portion of the 2017 Nevada State Match Play event and used that momentum to win the crown. He beat Brigham Gibbs 3-and-1 in the finale. The event was held July 23-25 at Spanish Trail Country Club. Keyer was ranked 10th in the field to start the event before racing to the title. None of Keyer’s matches reached the 18th hole. — By Bill Bowman.
“I didn’t play great in the seeding round, but once we got to match play I really played solid,” Keyer said. “I really enjoy match play. It becomes a little easier playing one-on-one rather than against the field.”
Keyer added his first hole of match play was definitely the key to his success.
“I birdied the first hole (against Todd Roberts) and that really got me going,” he said. “I hit a good drive and a good approach and watched the putt drop and I was off. I putted pretty well the rest of the tournament.”
Keyer was a high school star at Coronado in Henderson and then played as a freshman at San Jose State. In the fall, Keyer will be a transfer at Creighton University.
The event started with 18 holes of stroke play action to seed the field. Ed Fryatt led the way through the first round of qualifying as he carded a four-under-par 68. Kenny Ebalo was second with a round of two-under-par 70 and Josh Goldstein was the only other player under par, firing a one-under-par 71.
That earned Fryatt, a former UNLV All-American, the top seed and earned him a first-round bye, but he was eliminated by John Bobroski, the 17th seed, 4-and-3 in the round of 32.
Ebalo, the No. 2 seed, was also ousted early as he fell in the quarterfinals to Keyer, 2-and-1.
And Goldstein, the No. 3 seed, fell in the round of 16, losing 1-up to Darren Johnson.
That left Bradley Collett, the No. 4 seed, as the top remaining player as he posted a pair of victories, winning matches 1-up and 4-and-2 to reach the semifinals. Joining him in the semifinals were Brigham Gibbs (a 5-and-4 winner over Bobroski), Darren Johnson (winning in 19 holes over Jason Cordon) and Keyer (with his 2-and-1 win over Ebalo).
That set the stage for the semifinals where the 9th-ranked Gibbs (a 6-and-5 victory over Collett) and the 10th-ranked Keyer (a 5-and-3 winner over Johnson) both breezed into the final match.
The finale saw both players par the first eight holes before a birdie by Keyer gave him the first lead.
“Gibbs hit a poor shot on nine and I hit it to 10 feet and that gave me the hole and a one-up lead,” Keyer said. “I won 11 with a birdie and 12 with a par and then we were back on the par train. He won 16 and then we both hit it to six or seven feet on 17. He missed his putt and I made mine.”
Despite the loss, Gibbs was happy with his ball striking during the tournament. But he said his putting was his downfall.
“I hit it really well,” he said. “I only missed three greens all day. But I couldn’t make a putt. He hit it pretty well and made one or two more putts than I did. I can’t be unhappy. I just got beat. It’s that simple.”