After Monday's stroke play qualifying round of the 2014 WGA Match Play at Macdonald Park Golf Course there was little doubt as to which two players would be favorites to make it to the final match. Tyler Chapman of Wichita opened with a 5 under 67, only to be bested by 2012 Match Play champion and fellow Wichitan Max Lazzo, who blistered the par 72 course with a 7 under 65. Playing as the top two seeds, Chapman and Lazzo indeed made their way through the match play bracket and met early Wednesday morning to square off in the championship match.
Chapman had run into a bit of trouble on his way, winning his first round match in 21 holes and quarterfinal match 1 up, but it looked to be his tournament early. Chapman opened with birdies at 1, 3, 5, and 6 to take a commanding 5 up lead through 6 holes. Lazzo would have to dig deep to get back in the match. "After conceding the 6th hole to go 5 down I told myself to settle down and regroup because I had been playing great to get in the finals." said Lazzo. Catching fire to finish the front 9 would certainly do the trick. "Max finished the front with 3 straight birdies and had a lot of momentum." said Chapman. "Then I missed short puts on 10,11 and 12 and we were even going to 13." Just like that the tournament was anyone's to be had, but Chapman didn't let the run by Lazzo get to him, winning holes 13 and 14 to get to 2 up with 4 to play. Still, the match wasn't over yet. "I had a putt from 8 feet on 17 to win the match and missed. Then Max hit a great shot on 18 to 8 feet." said Chapman. With Chapman dormie on the 18th, Lazzo had an opportunity to take the match into extra holes with a short birdie putt, but the ball rolled past the cup, giving Chapman the championship.
"Had I made any of the shorter putts early in the back nine I don't think it would have gone quite as long but that is golf. I give max a lot of credit for making that birdie run and changing the momentum. It was probably one of the craziest matches I’ve ever played." said Chapman. This is Tyler's first WGA championship. Lazzo has tasted victory in the Match Play Championship before, winning in 2012, but this year it belonged to Chapman. "Tyler was the better player in the final and it was his championship... He deserved to win."
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