OWASSO, Okla. (July 22, 2014) – Oklahoma Christian’s Sam Johnston had a fantastic round that included six birdies on Tuesday afternoon in the Oklahoma Golf Association State Amateur Championship quarterfinals, but he simply couldn’t keep up with Central Oklahoma’s Eric Kline.
Kline’s round that included an eagle and seven birdies allowed him to post a 3-and-1 match-play win over Johnston at the Patriot Golf Club.
During the morning round, Johnston advanced to the quarterfinals with a rousing 1-up win in 19 holes over Austin Eckroat, who won the Class 6A high school individual title as a freshman this spring at Edmond North High School.
Johnston, a rising junior from San Diego, hoped to carry that momentum into the quarterfinal match with Kline, who’s from Ponca City and will be a junior at UCO in the fall. Johnston birdied the par-5 No. 1 but Kline posted an eagle, putting him ahead in a match he’d never trail.
Johnston’s par at No. 3 evened the match, as Kline posted his only bogey. But birdies on the next two holes put Kline 2-up. Johnston answered with a birdie on the par-3 No. 6 but couldn’t close the gap any further, as the two players halved the next six holes, a run that included birdies for each player on a pair of par-5 holes, No. 8 and No. 10.
Kline went 2-up with a birdie on the par-3 No. 13. Johnston briefly rallied with a birdie on No. 14 to win that hole, but Kline birdied the par-5 No. 16 and par-3 No. 17 to end the match. Kline advanced to face Brendon Jelley of Tulsa in Wednesday’s semifinals.
It was the second straight year during which Johnston, a two-time NCAA Division II All-America pick, made an impressive run in a state amateur tournament. He reached the round of 16 in the California State Amateur last year.