Reno, Nev. (Aug. 18, 2016)—Give Ed Fryatt credit: He’s a battler on the golf course. That was never more apparent than his victory over Steve Sear in the finals of the 2016 Nevada State Match Play tournament. Fryatt fought back from being 4-down early in the match to win 2-1 over Sear. It was a tournament Fryatt won’t soon forget. — By Bill Bowman.
The event ended on Aug. 17, 2016, and was played at Somersett Golf & Country Club, a par-72 layout that plays to 7,252 yards. Tom Kite designed the private course working with Roy Bechtol and Randy Russell.
In the finale, Fryatt, representing the Southern Nevada Golf Association, found himself 2-down after the first three holes of the 36-hole finale and 4-down after 12 holes. “It was definitely a grind,” Fryatt said of the comeback. “I just tried to keep myself in position to win holes.”
He birdied the 18th to head to the second 18 holes at 3-down. The momentum shifted…and kept shifting quickly. “Steve hit a couple of wayward drives that gave me some hope,” Fryatt said. “I hit some good drives and tried to put the pressure on him and started picking off a few holes. I just kept grinding and picked up the momentum.”
Fryatt got back to all-square on the 29th hole, but Sear won the next hole to go back to 1-up. “Just when I get even, he wins another hole,” Fryatt said. “It was a little frustrating but I knew I was definitely still in it.”
Fryatt rebounded and won the next hole to square the match again and took his first lead on the 32nd hole. After the two halved the next two holes, Fryatt closed it out with a par 3 on the 35th hole to win 2-and-1.
Sear, representing the Northern Nevada Golf Association, said everything that went right early in the finale, went wrong late. “It was tough to play a two-hour round in the morning and a six-hour round in the afternoon,” he said. “I just couldn’t get into rhythm. I struck the ball really well the first 18 and he didn’t hit it as well. Even though he made more putts, I got out pretty far on him.”
That lead didn’t last. “It wasn’t just one hole,” Sear said of his struggle on the second 18 holes. “I hit it in the hazard on four, five and eight. It just all went wrong and I couldn’t recover.”
The semifinals saw one blowout as Fryatt (TPC Las Vegas) beat Hudson Stremmel (Reno Carson GC) 5 and 3 while Sear (Toiyabe GC) and Brady Exber (TPC Summerlin) went to the 19th hole with Sear coming away with the victory.
In the earlier quarterfinals, Sear beat Todd Roberts (Southern Highlands), 5-4; Exber beat Greg Whittemore (Spanish Trail), 4-3; Fryatt beat Kenny Ebalo (Southern Highlands), 3-2 and Stremmel beat Mitchell Cornell (Incline Village), 2-up.
Click here for the complete tournament scoring.
Sear and Fryatt, along with Dave Nelson, are the probable threesome that will represent Team Nevada in the USGA Men’s State Team Championships which will be held Sept. 28-30 at the Country Club of Birmingham in Alabama. Fryatt represents the Southern Nevada Golf Association while Sear and Nelson represent the Northern Nevada Golf Association.