Craig Hocknull wins Southwest PGA Match Play Championship

The Southwest PGA Match Play Championship wrapped up Wednesday, July 18 and Craig Hocknull of Gilbert came away on top after trailing by as many as two points during the final round.

2018 Southwest PGA Match Play Championship winner Craig Hocknull. (Photo courtesy Mike Schoaf/Southwest PGA)

No. 3 seed Mr. Hocknull, who won his second championship, defeated top seed Michael Hopper of Phoenix by one point. In match play, also known as stroke play, a golfer goes “1-up” if they shoot a lower score on a hole. If the golfers shoot the same score, the overall score stays the same as it was before.

Mr. Hocknull went 1-up on the second hole and maintained that lead through the next three holes. Mr. Hopper tied the score on the fifth hole and went 1-up two holes later.

He maintained that lead and on the 14th hole, he strengthened that lead to 2-up. That lead only lasted one hole as Mr. Hocknull got one point back on the next hole and tied it up on the second-to-last hole.

On the final hole, Mr. Hocknull outscored Mr. Hooper 5-4 to go 1-up and win the championship.

In order to get to the final round, Mr. Hocknull defeated No. 2 seed Dennis Downs of Surprise 2 and 1, meaning Mr. Hocknull was 2-up with one hole remaining. Whenever one golfer is up more holes than there are holes remaining, that golfer automatically wins.

Mr. Hopper bested Matt Vancleave of Mesa by a score of 1-up in the semifinals.

News Services Reporter Josh Martinez can be contacted at or at 623-445-2738

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