SALT LAKE CITY -- It was the 13th hole, an audience of people and carts staggered along the green, and Zac Blair was putting with a chance to win the hole and tie the match.
The putt slid along the side of the cup and rimmed out. Blair bent backwards, a pose of disbelief, and the crowd oohed in a hushed tone. It was that kind of afternoon for the former Fremont High star.
Blair ended up losing the match to Jon Wright 2-and-1, eliminating him Saturday afternoon in the semifinals of the 114th Utah State Amateur at The Country Club.
"I hit my driver good, and that was about it today," said Blair, now a star on BYU's golf team. "Other than that, this afternoon wasn't that spectacular."
The match started poorly for Blair, and he never recovered. He lost the first two holes and was never able to even up the match, his deficit teetering back and forth from two to one.
"I gave him the first two holes, and he could have easily been 5-up after about seven holes," Blair said. "I was fortunate to be only two down. It was kind of tough playing from behind, but it was my own fault."
Throughout the match, a large contingent of spectators, mostly supporting Wright, who was playing on his home course, swarmed the golfers. While Blair admitted the spectators were a little bit distracting, he insisted they played no role in the outcome of the match.
"It was a little frustrating getting around here with all the carts and everybody in the way," Blair said. "But he just played better than me. That's all it was."
While the majority of the crowd was rooting for Wright, who was a professional for nearly a decade and spent time on the Nationwide Tour, Blair gained at least one fan with his performance -- Wright, himself.
"He's a great guy," said Wright of his young opponent. "I've known his dad forever. ... Jimmy's a great guy, and his son is every bit like him. Zac was very cool, and man is he a good player."
In the morning's quarterfinals, Blair, the 2009 State Am winner, beat Stratton Schulz 1-up to advance to the semis against Wright. In contrast to the afternoon match, Blair controlled the match with Schulz the whole way and never trailed.
Still, Blair didn't make it easy toward the end.
Up by one hole on the par-5 17th, Blair's second shot sailed left, into a thicket of long grass. His following shot came out hot and skipped into the bunker past the green. He managed to halve the hole, however, with an up-and-down recovery after Schulz missed a putt to win the hole.
On the 18th, it appeared Schulz was in good position to force a playoff. Both players reached the green in two, but Schulz was much closer to the hole. Blair, though, knocked in a 20-footer for birdie to seal the match.
"I gave him a few holes down the stretch with a few dumb bogeys," said Blair, who shot 4-under for the match. "But it was a good match. I played well."
Blair was the final golfer with local ties remaining in the tournament.
Wright and Christian Jensen will face off today in a 36-hole match for the championship. The match is set to tee off at 7:30 a.m.
Jensen defeated Chris Grant (3 and 2) and Joe Webber (2 and 1) on Saturday.