Ben Sawaia’s name is now forever linked with the top players in Nevada state amateur golf history as he won the 2023 Nevada State Amateur played at the Club at Arrowcreek. Sawaia held off Northern Nevada’s Hunter Swanson to win by a stroke in the three-day event. Michael Sarro was third. –By Bill Bowman
“I’ve been trying to win this tournament for a few years and to finally get there…I’m just thrilled,” Sawaia said. “Just the history of this event means a lot to me and to know my name is going to be on that cup is just pure joy. It’s tough to put into words how I feel.”
Sarro and Sawaia were teammates at Coronado. Sawaia played at UNLV while Sarro is currently at the Univ. of Nevada. Both are also Southern Nevada Golf Association members.
Sawaia opened and closed the tournament with six-under-par 66s. But he said his second round, an even-par 72, was his biggest test.
That round saw him go four-over through three holes midway through the round. A birdie on his final hole of the day got him back to even-par for the round and set up the final 18 holes.
“That three-hole stretch was probably about the only time I really let it slip away,” he said. “I had a bad club selection that led to the double bogey. I managed to grind it out after that stretch and keep myself in the game. To close it out with a birdie on 18 and get back to even-par really kept me in position to have a chance to win today.”
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