Hardly a day goes by that former Skyline High and University of California golfer Simon Kwon does not think about last year’s loss to BYU golfer Zac Jones in the Utah State Amateur’s championship match at Soldier Hollow Golf Club.

“I will be honest: Last year’s match is definitely on my mind every single time I practice, 100 percent. It is something I still think about,” Kwon said Friday afternoon after winning a pair of matches to advance to Saturday’s 36-hole final for the second straight year.

“Ten minutes before my tee time today I looked over and saw last year’s picture of the winner (Jones). It definitely motivated me in many ways to try and go out and compete today so I can get a chance again.”

Meanwhile, Kwon’s opponent in Saturday’s match hardly thought about even winning a match before the 125th Utah State Amateur, let alone five so he could play for the large silver trophy.

But here 18-year-old David Liechty is, playing some of the best golf of his life before the recent Layton High graduate does a service mission for The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints and then moves on to play golf for Utah Tech in St. George.

“I did not plan on getting this far,” Liechty said. “… My realistic expectation was just make the cut (for match play) and see what happens from there. I just kept winning matches. I am excited for tomorrow.”

Kwon, most known for being Hall of Fame golfer Johnny Miller’s grandson before losing 4 and 4 to Jones last July, had an easier time Friday making it to the finals, which could be important because golfers had to walk every hole Friday and will be expected to do the same Saturday.

Calling golf “grueling” can be a bit of a stretch, but the State Am does test stamina as well as golfing ability, particularly when temperatures are in the high-80s and 90s.

Kwon downed Josh Howe 5 and 4 Friday morning, then dispatched 2008 State Am champ Dan Horner 5 and 3 in the afternoon.

Kwon, who lives just above the 8th hole fairway at The Country Club, said he got here by staying in the moment.

“One thing you have to do in match play is you can’t worry about the match behind (you), like, ‘Do I want to play this kid or I don’t want to play this kid?’ You have to stay focused on this shot, this hole, and not really worry about anything but what you can control.”

Liechty, who needed 23 holes to outlast medalist Peter Kim — Kwon’s former teammate at Skyline — on Thursday afternoon, defeated former BYU golfer Elijah Turner 3 and 2 in morning and former University of Utah golfer Martin Leon — who is transferring to Rutgers — 2 and 1 in the afternoon.

‘I was in the zone all week’: How BYU’s Zac Jones won the 124th Utah Men’s State Amateur
125th Utah State Amateur: Layton’s David Liechty outlasts medalist, his brother’s cell phone battery in Round of 16 win

He is taking a much less serious approach. Asked if he was tired after knocking off Leon, the 2021 champion, Liechty said “a little bit,” but mentioned he will probably go home and play some ping-pong against his younger brother, Ryan.

“Just have fun,” is Liechty’s motivation, a sharp contrast to what is driving Kwon this week.

“If I win, great. If I lose, there are more years to go,” he said.

While Thursday’s Round of 32 and Round of 16 matches were often intense and lengthy, Friday’s quarterfinals and semifinals lacked drama in many ways. Horner downed Kenny Palmer 1 up and Leon downed Cameron Crawford 3 and 1 in the other two quarters Friday morning.

125th Utah State Amateur

Friday’s Quarterfinal Results

David Liechty def. Elijah Turner, 3 and 2

Martin Leon def. Cameron Crawford, 3 and 1

Simon Kwon def. Josh Howe, 5 and 4

Dan Horner def. Kenny Palmer, 1 up

Friday’s Semifinal Results

David Liechty def. Martin Leon, 2 and 1

Simon Kwon def. Dan Horner, 5 and 3

Saturday’s 36-hole championship match

8 a.m. — Liechty vs. Kwon