Kyle Hickey of Rochester, Minn. came from a 2-down deficit to defeat Jacob Pedersen 3&2 to win the 2018 Players Tour Match Play Championship at Cragun’s Legacy Courses in Brainerd, Minn. Hickey, a 35-seed, used two extra holes victories in the quarterfinals and semifinals en route to his victory over the 4-seed Pedersen for the title.
“It’s definitely one of the biggest tournaments I’ve ever won,” said Hickey smiling.
“I’m really excited to be on the Minnesota PGA Junior Cup Matches team after missing out this past year,” he added after learning his victory gives him an exemption for the 2019 team.
Hickey needed 21 holes to get past Nick LaMotte in the quarterfinals and went another 19 holes with Carson Herron. He had a three-putt on 18 against Herron to go to extra holes. Hickey responded like a champion would with a birdie on the first playoff hole to secure his spot in championship match.
Pedersen survived two close matches in the quarterfinals and semifinals. In the semis, Pedersen was 3-down thru 8 holes against 57-seed Ben Warian before rallying back to gain the lead at 13. The two would halve their next five holes giving Pedersen the win.
In the finals, Pedersen continued to ride the momentum of the previous match tallying birdies at the par-5 2nd and par-3 4th to quickly go 2-up thru 5 holes. It did not take Hickey long to respond by winning 6 and 7 to move the match back to all square. A costly bogey at par-5 9th for Pedersen gave Hickey the lead 1-up at the turn.
From that point on, Hickey would not relinquish the lead. He nailed a huge birdie putt at the par-4 10th to go 2-up and cruise to a 3&2 victory.
“My putting was the strong point. I made a lot of timely putts including the putt on 10 to go 2-up,” Hickey said. “I’m always even-tempered and level-headed which helps me never get too high or low during a round.”
This was a special win for Hickey as he was able to do it in front of and at the home course of his teaching professional Chris Foley.