Silvernail Claims 2014 SCGA Match Play Championship
Note: Story reprinted from SCGA.org
Former UC Santa Barbara golfer Brett Silvernail had the toughest road to the finals but it didn't matter, as the No. 13 seed took out seeds 20, 4, 1 and eventually No. 3 to claim his first SCGA title earlier this month at Red Hill CC. Silvernail becomes the seventh straight collegiate golfer to win the SCGA Match Play Championship.
"I've played in a lot of SCGA events, and you start to wonder if you're good enough to win one," said Silvernail. "It feels really good to be able to pull it off."
Just the final day's action alone would be a tough pill for any golfer to swallow, as Silvernail had to go through SCGA heavyweights Tim Hogarth and Dan Sullivan to hoist the trophy. In his semifinal match, Silvernail found himself 3 down to Hogarth after 10 holes.
"I knew going into the match against Hogarth that I'd have to bring my best game, because he always plays so well," said Silvernail.
Hogarth, the most decorated player in SCGA Tournament history, held his three-hole advantage through hole 12, where he missed a three-foot putt that would have extended the lead to four. Instead, the missed putt seemed rattle the five-time SCGA Mid-Amateur Champion, who then lost four of the next five holes to let the match slip away. Silvernail played the final six holes in 2-under-par.
But what lay ahead for Silvernail just an hour later wasn't much easier, as another SCGA Tournament veteran was standing in his way. Dan Sullivan, the reigning SCGA Player of the Year and the 2012 SCGA Public Links Champion, played some of the best golf of the week at Red Hill CC, winning almost all of his matches by a hefty margin, including an impressive 3&2 win over recent Loyola Marymount University graduate Tyler Torano in the semifinals.
But Silvernail jumped on Sullivan early, collecting birdies on two of the first three holes to take a 2up advantage. After a tough fifth hole, in which Silvernail's tee shot went out of bounds and his lead slipped back down to one, Silvernail stepped on the gas and never looked back, winning holes 6, 7, 9, and 12 to capture the Championship.
"I got lucky out there because Dan definitely didn't have his best stuff," said Silvernail, who will compete in the SCGA Public Links Championship later this month before turning professional.
Silvernail, who graduated from UCSB in June, played his final 14-hole match in 2-under-par. His route to the Championship also included a Round of 16 win over USC-bound Sean Crocker, who was the event's reigning runner-up.