Midway • The gallery was small, but the cheer was loud.
With a 1-up lead in his semifinal match heading into the 18th hole at the Utah State Amateur Championship, Cole Ogden pulled out his 3-wood and went for the green off the tee.
His ball landed near the front of the green and rolled, coming to a halt 2 feet from the pin. It gave him a tap-in putt for eagle, an ovation from the small gallery and a berth in the 36-hole final match on Saturday at Soldier Hollow Golf Club.
"That was one of the best shots I've ever hit in my life, especially under the circumstances," Ogden said.
After leading for almost the entire match against Jacob Holt, Ogden relinquished his lead on the 16th hole when he shot par and Holt birdied the par 5.
But Ogden got the lead right back when he shot a par 3 on 17 and Holt bogied the hole.
That meant Holt was 1 down and needed to be aggressive on the 18th hole to force extra holes, but Ogden matched that aggression and went for the green from the tee, producing his dazzling 3-wood shot that came inches from dropping in the cup for a hole-in-one.
Ogden didn't actually see where the ball landed or where it finally stopped, but his caddie, J.T. Timmons, sure did.
"I saw it bounce, and said, 'Dude, you're at tap-in range,' but he didn't believe me," Timmons said. "Then we got up there and we were just hugging it out."
There was plenty of reason for hugs and celebration. Ogden, from West Point, said he had never made it past the first round of this tournament. Now he'll have a chance to win it against 2011 champion Jeff Evans.
Evans started his morning in the quarterfinals with a 3 and 2 win over 2010 champion Joe Parkinson. In the afternoon semifinals, Evans won 3 and 2 over 2008 champion Dan Horner, who had defeated defending champion Jon Wright in the quarterfinals.
Evans won his State Amateur title here at Soldier Hollow, as did Horner in 2008, but Evans said that didn't make it any easier.
"The course doesn't remember who won. It's going to treat us just like anybody else," Evans said.
It was Horner who looked best early in the round, jumping out to a 2-up lead on the fifth hole. But Evans won the next four holes to lead 2 up at the turn.
Evans kept the pressure on Horner the entire back nine, and Horner was never able to close the gap. Evans led 3 up going to the 16th hole and earned the victory when Horner pulled his birdie putt and they halved the hole.
Saturday's 36-hole final match tees off at 7:30 a.m. on the Gold Course and will feature two of the state's best young golfers. Ogden is 21 years old and will be a junior at BYU this fall after redshirting last year. Evans is 23 years old and graduated from Southern Utah University last December.
State Am results
• Dan Horner def. Jon Wright, 3 and 2
• Jeff Evans def. Joe Parkinson, 3 and 2
• Cole Ogden def. Jeff Powars, 2 and 1
• Jacob Holt def. Connor Jones, 4 and 3
• Jeff Evans def. Dan Horner, 3 and 2
• Cole Ogden def. Jacob Holt, 2 up