A Texan took home one of Arizona’s biggest golfing prizes over the weekend.
Evan White, of Lindale, won the 95th Arizona Amateur Championship on Saturday at Superstition Mountain Golf and Country Club in Gold Canyon, Arizona.
The Texas State University golfer defeated Tyler Kertson, 2-and-1, in the final at the course located east of Phoenix. Kertson, a former Boston College golfer, is from Paradise Valley, Arizona.
White, the former Lindale High School standout who won two District 16-5A medalist titles, was the No. 39 seed entering match-play. Kertson was the No. 8 seed. The tourney, played on the Lost Gold course, started on July 29 with qualifying. White opened the qualifying with a 2-under 70, followed by a 3-over 75 for a 36-hole total of 1-over 145 to tie for 37th, but was seeded No. 39 in the matchplay.
“I ended up making the cut by four,” White said. “And that was just huge for my confidence, feeling like that, and I knew that no matter how I felt on the range before each match I knew I could just go out there and scrape it around and somehow get out a victory.”
After falling behind on the first hole after missing a four-footer for par, White birdied No. 3 to tie things up. He had a clutch putt on No. 4 and then White birdied No. 8 to take the lead.
“My par putt on number four was huge because he just had to two-putt for par and I had twelve feet for par. That was a huge putt to keep the momentum going and keep it tied We were all square for a long time. To get 1 up through nine; I wanted to be up going into the back nine,” White said.
Kertson, who was down one after the turn, held his ground saving par on the 10th, to bring the match back to even. The match remained a draw though 14 holes until White converted a birdie on the 16 to regain the lead. It was on the 17th hole that White drained a 30-foot putt, putting a dramatic end to the tournament to claim the coveted Arizona Amateur title.
“I was in shock for a second,” White said. “I was like, did that really just happen? I wasn’t expecting it. It’s one of those putts you’re just trying to get a par, get out of there with a par and put the pressure on him to make his putt. But it went in, and that was very special.
“He was really solid, really putted well,” Kertson said. “... For him to roll in that 30-footer on the last hole, that was awesome. Good for him for ending like that. I wish he missed it so I had a chance, but yeah, it was a good match.”
White won the Nicklaus Bracket to advance to the semifinals. He had victories over No. 26 Jimin Yoo (3-and-2), No. 58 Bohdan Ponce (4-and-3) and No. 10 Matthew Braley (2-and-1). White won the Nicklaus Bracket with a 2-and-1 over No. 18 Ben Lorenz to advance to the semifinals.
White won his semifinal match 4-and-3 over Prescott Mann, the No. 14 seed who won the Woods Bracket, on Friday.
White is returning to Texas State this fall for his sophomore year. This marks the first tournament win of his college career.
“I’m kind of speechless, honestly,” White said. “At the beginning of the week, I wasn’t … expecting this, but once I got to match play, I realized I had a legitimate shot. It just feels super good to come out on top.”
The tournament is conducted by the Arizona Golf Association.
Julia Stumbaugh of the Arizona Republic contributed to this report.