California standout rallies from 3-down to win inaugural UGA girls' junior state amateur

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MIDWAY — Ashley Gettleman flew to Salt Lake City on Friday and played what she admitted may have been the worst round of her career in a practice round before crashing in the early evening.

So her start wasn't great, even as she shot 1-over 73 to tie for fifth after the 18-hole stroke-play qualifier at her first Utah Golf Association girls' junior amateur championship.

"I was so tired," she said. "I probably shot 90 in the practice round. But in the (18-hole stroke-play) qualifier, I knew I just needed to make the cut."

Her finish, though? That's a different story.

Gettleman, who lives in the Santa Cruz area with her family, rallied from a 3-hole deficit to upset top-seeded Aadyn Long 2 and 1 Wednesday to claim the inaugural Utah girls' junior amateur championship at Wasatch Mountain Golf Course.

The rising senior who won a league championship at Scotts Valley High in northern California earned the No. 6 seed after an 18-hole stroke play qualifier, which Long — the two-time defending Utah 6A medalist at Lone Peak who has committed to BYU — won with a runaway 7-under-par 65 to claim medalist honors over a field that included two-time defending 4A medalist Kate Walker from Crimson Cliffs, Lone Peak teammate Saydie Wagner, and 5A medalist Ashley Lam — among others.

"Utah golf has really excelled, especially in the girls' game," Long said. "It was a good field, and I knew that. After the first seeding, I realized that the good players distributed out really well and I feel like it made for a good week of match play. The competition was good, and (Gettleman) was good. It just sucks not to be able to finish it off."

The rising Lone Peak senior who burst on the local golf scene when she qualified for the national drive, chip and putt finals at Augusta National at just 9 years old took wins of 3 and 2, 4 and 3, and 4 and 2 en route to Wednesday's championship match.

Long took a 3-up lead after nine holes, when she didn't concede a single hole on the front and outscored her out-of-state challenger 37-40 overall. But then Gettleman started her comeback.

"I definitely felt the momentum shift in the back nine, for sure," Long said. "I think I got in my head a little bit, and I could feel it. I started to come back in, but by that point I was down and the momentum had switched.

"She was good," she added of Gettleman. "She studied out on the back, which I think switched it."

After Long hit her tee shot into the woods before taking a 6 on the par-4 10th hole, Gettleman won the next three to turn a 3-hole deficit into a 1-up advantage after 13 holes. She added a birdie on the par-5 15th hole, then closed it out with a pair of par saves on 16 and 17 to clinch the match with a hole to go.

"I feel like if I shoot too low, I get really nervous and mental about it," said Gettleman, who has scheduled tournaments as far as Virginia and North Carolina this summer. "So I just put myself in a good position, and every day I just had to win my match."

Next year's Utah junior amateur championship will be held at Glenmoore Golf Club in South Jordan.


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