Bonneville Golf Course
Coral Canyon Golf Course
Hideout Golf Course
Hobble Creek Golf Course
Sand Hollow Golf Club
Solider Hollow Golf Course
SunBrook Golf Club
Thanksgiving Point Golf Club
August 2014 Issue
Volume 23 • Issue 3 • August 2014
Twice is Wright
Golf Season and
State Amateur History for iPads
Powars Takes Home a Major Title
Fielding, Ogden Celebrate
at the 75th Provo Open
Women's Four-ball Championship
A Nervous Win
Rodger’s Birdies Make the Difference
at Art City Am
by Brady Bingham
by Randy Dodson and Joe Watts
by Kurt Kragthorpe
by Dick Harmon
by Kurt Kragthorpe
by Dick Harmon
by Dick Harmon
Official Monthly Digital Magazine
of the Utah Golf Association
View the August 2014 issue below
For the second time in three years Jon Wright hoisted the Utah State Amateur trophy, as Ogden Golf and Country Club celebrated its 100th anniversary by hosting the prestigious tournament July 7-12.
Wright, who also won the State Am in 2012 at Salt Lake Country Club, defeated Preston Richards 3 and 2 in the 36 hole final, fighting off back pain, withstanding a second 18 surge from his opponent, and closing out via a bizarre ending.
The tournament ended at No 16 after Richards learned he had hit a wrong ball from the rough. After Richards learned he made the mistake, it was deemed an immediate loss of hole. He would take off his hat and shake Wright’s hand to end the match.
“I am kind of numb,” an emotional Wright said of winning the tournament he so dearly loves for a second time. “I thought I had a chance to win again, once I was in the finals. But you try really hard not to get ahead of yourself.
“When I got a big lead, my mind started wandering. But I was able to fight through it and finish it off,” said Wright, 43, a former professional golfer who got his amateur status back in 2006.
“It feels good to win (this tournament) anywhere,” Wright said, shrugging off the idea that the Utah State Amateur was only a young, or college-aged, man’s golf tournament and that the only he reason he won a couple of years ago was because it was on his home course, Salt Lake Country Club. “Whatever, I really didn’t even think that. Winning here at Ogden is great, too.
“I can feel my body getting older now, and I am breaking down. These young guys are pounding the ball past me,” Wright admitted. “It’s nice to get number 2, here, now I need a couple more.”
Wright admitted he first tweaked his back Saturday morning on a shot from the fairway at No. 6. He would do it again at No. 12; however, he would get up and down there for birdie from left of the green to go 3-up.
Wright felt the worst twinge, however, in the afternoon, following a swing from the fairway at No. 11 that duck-hooked into a tree and luckily ricocheted back into the fairway. Wright walked away from the gallery and sat under a tree near a fence, gathering his composure and catching his breath.
“I really don’t want to make an issue of my back. It’s in chronic pain,” Wright said after the match. “I tweaked it a couple of times, maybe once in the morning and again in the afternoon round. If I make a bad swing, that’s when it hurts. Not a big deal.”
Although there wasn’t a barrage of birdies in the morning 18 holes, Wright, for the most part, played steady golf. He quickly went 1-up with a par on the opening hole. A two-putt par at No. 4, and another par on No. 7, a par 3, gave Wright a 3-up lead.
Richards wouldn’t win his first hole until No. 11 in the morning, taking the hole with a par as Wright 3-putted.
“It’s hard to explain,” Richards said, gracious in defeat. “I was wild off the tee this morning, which was different from the rest of the week.
“I wasn’t nervous at all,” he admitted. “My swing was just a little bit off.”
Richards tried to explain his mistake that ended the match, saying, “The ball was buried. The officials pointed me to the ball, which they had all day, and which is nice. I didn’t ID it. They made a mistake. I made a mistake. I walked up 40 yards later, and there was my ball. That’s the rule.
“When I got it back to 1-down, I was feeling good,” Richards said. “I never felt like I was going to lose. I always thought I was still in it.”
Richards began to mount a charge late in the morning, winning with a par on 18 to cut Wright’s lead to 3-up. After the lunch break, Richards would then start strong with back-to-back wins on Nos. 1 and 2 to get to 1-down.
“I wasn’t too worried about it,” Wright said of the charge, I knew we had a lot of holes left to play. I was never expecting to close out the match (early) anyway.”
Wright answered Richards’ charge with a match-changing 6-foot birdie putt at No. 4 to go back to 2-up. He then posted a 2-putt birdie on No. 6 to go 3-up, and a 10-foot par putt would win No. 9 to put him 4-up with nine holes to play.
Although Richards would cut into the lead and get to 2-down, the lead would be too much to overcome.
Playing in what was the 116th annual Utah State Amateur championship, the longest continuously held tournament in the world, Wright defeated Brandon Hargett 3 and 2 in the opening round of match play, then knocked Jeff Jolley 3 and 1; Mike Jurca 2 and 1; Cole Ogden 3 and 2; and Tommy Higham 2-up; to get to the final.
To earn his spot in the final, Richards knocked off Danny Hafen 3 and 2; Devon Purser 2 and 1; Marty Jacks 19 holes; Kurt Owen 4 and 3; and Kai Ruiz 2-up.
Round of 64
The first round of match play was highlighted by several intriguing and inspiring matchups.
As defending champion, Cole Ogden took the No. 1 into match play to face Bubba Hall, who drew the 64 spot after getting through a playoff to qualify. Ogden would escape with a 3 and 2 victory.
Wright drew a difficult opening round match in Brandon Hargett, but moved on 3 and 2. Another former champion Dan Horner narrowly advanced – 20 holes—in one of the matches of the day Wednesday against Ryan Sarlo, the son of OGCC head golf professional Craig “Sarge” Sarlo.
Other to advance in the first round included potential favorites Kirk Siddens, Devon Purser, Christian Jensen, Jeff Jolley and Carl Jensen.
But of all the first round victors, perhaps none was more emotional than that of Shon Woodland, who defeated Luke Crapo 2-up on Wednesday.
“This means everything. As far as golf in my family … I’m just overwhelmed,” said a teary-eyed Woodland, the co-owner and head superintendent of The Barn in North Ogden. “It’s stupid to sit here and cry like a baby, but it does, it means everything.
It had been nearly 30 years since Woodland, once among the top-rated amateur players in the state, had teed it up in the Utah State Amateur.
“It’s something I haven’t done for a lot of years, 30 years probably,” said the 54-year-old Woodland. “As you get older, you struggle. You go through the yips, you go through the not-sures, the things that you don’t feel that you’re capable of anymore.
“For some reason my boy thought it was time to get back in it, and I’m glad he made me,” said Woodland. “He twisted my arm to get me in, I told him I wanted no part of it, and he just made me do it, and I love him for it.”
Surrounded by friends and family wishing him congratulations and showing their support, Woodland said that just making it past the first round is an achievement that’s been a long time coming.
“The accumulation of all the years that I’ve just participated ... and then finally after all these years to do something that is meaningful ... especially to me and my family ... I’m elated,” Woodland said.
Woodland would lose his second-round match Thursday, however, falling to Tanner Alder 3 and 1.
The Defending Champion
What began as a rough week for Cole Ogden, the Utah State Amateur defending champion, turned into a real opportunity to repeat after winning his first three matches Wednesday and Thursday.
Only a loss to the eventual champion, Wright 3 and 2 in the quarterfinals, derailed Ogden from the possibility.
“I had plenty of chances out there, I just didn’t get the putter going today” Ogden said graciously after his loss to Wright. “You’ve got to give Jon credit, he had a lot of birdies and got a big lead early.
“I am a little disappointed,” Ogden said after his loss to Wright. “I wanted to defend. But overall, I think my game is probably the best it has been in a couple of months. I was a little down after playing poorly in Seattle (the week before this tournament), but after this week there are a lot of positives to take and look forward to this year at BYU.”
Of the field of 288, only 12 players managed to record scores under par for the two rounds of stroke play Monday and Tuesday at Ogden Golf and Country Club and Valley View respectively.
Jacob Holt, however, stood out from the field and recorded a blistering 8-under-par 64 at Valley View on Monday, followed by a 2-under-par 70 at OGCC Tuesday to earn Medalist honors.
“I made a lot of putts the first day. That was a big difference,” analyzed Holt, who recently finished playing at Southern Utah University. “(On Tuesday) I chipped and putted really well and didn’t make a bogey. That was enough to keep me under par again today.”
Holt’s 10-under total was two strokes better than Tommy Higham and Devon Purser.
Department • August 2014
Golf Season / State Amateur History for iPads
by Randy Dodson and Joe Watts
From the Clubhouse
As Jon Wright lifted his second Utah State Amateur champion’s trophy it occurred to me, while standing in a shaded fairway on the back nine at Ogden Golf and Country Club, that the Utah golf season is flying by.
For many competitive golfers, the Utah State Amateur is the penultimate event of Utah golf’s championship season, with only the Utah Open left to name its champion. Wright had barely placed Utah amateur golf’s biggest prize in his trophy case before his thoughts had turned to his next event, the U.S. Amateur Qualifier at Park Meadows Country Club. But it was former State Am champ Joe Parkinson that captured the Medalist honor at the 36-hole qualifier coming on the heels of his win at the Salt Lake City Amateur. Luke Crapo also qualified and will join Parkinson at the Atlantic Athletic Club.
Weber State golfer Devon Purser made it to the Round of 32 of State Am Match Play and High School golfer Kai Ruiz was a semifinalist; once they were eliminated they packed their bags and met up with BYU’s Jordan Rodgers as Team Utah flew to Flagstaff, Arizona for the Pacific Coast Amateur. Jeff Powars failed to make this year’s Match Play field but a week later took home the biggest win of his career and the brand new Utah Golf Association Senior Amateur trophy.
Breathing a sigh of relief, two-time State Am champ Kelsey Chugg also took home a new UGA trophy when she rode her opening round of 65 (a career low) at Spanish Oaks Golf Course to win the Mary Lou Baker Open. In between assisting UGA tournament operations as a USGA Boatwright Intern, she now has her sights set on the Women’s Stroke Play Championship and defending her Utah State Amateur champion title.
Making the rounds of Utah’s amateur circuit former BYU golfer Justin Keiley quietly took home two wins just a week apart, the Ute Stampede at Canyon Hills Golf Course and the Brigham City Open championship, by shooting consecutive rounds of 64.
With Tony Finau, Zac Blair and Clay Ogden in the field the Web.Com Tour Utah Championship had the local flavor we keep hoping for. Finau, who is currently in the Top 25 on the Web.Com Tour’s money list, has a good chance of securing his PGA Tour card for next season; a goal of his since turning professional right out of high school. Blair continues to have a remarkable year, playing his way into weekly Web.Com Tour events by staying within the top 25 each week and climbing the season-long money list.
Utah Section PGA Professionals Dustin Volk (Valley View) and Steve Schneiter (Pebblebrook) qualified for the PGA Championship, the fourth major of the year, by virtue of their finish at the PGA’s Professional National Championship. Both will tee it up at Valhalla Golf Club in Louisville, Kentucky. Lucky for us, Brady Bingham, a frequent contributing writer for Fairways will attend the championship and recap his and their experiences for our next issue.
Let’s not leave out the juniors. Over 220 Utah Junior Golf Association members in eight age divisions teed it up for the chance to be named one of Utah’s Junior Amateur champions. 156 of them moved on to Match Play which was held at four different golf courses in as many days. You can see the champions and runner-ups on page 22 of this issue. For the first time ever, the Utah Section PGA’s Junior Golf Connection staff and member professionals have conducted four local qualifiers for hundreds of juniors competing for the chance to qualify for the national Drive, Chip and Putt Championship at next year’s Masters. The Sub-Regional is being held at Thanksgiving Point and the final Regional qualifier is at the Promontory Club in early August.
That’s a lot of golf! While the sports press have turned most of their attention to the looming college football calendar, there’s still plenty of Utah’s golf season to enjoy. As a UGA member you can stay connected to all the action on www.uga.org. You can also read daily tournament updates and Utah golf news by following the UGA on Twitter (@UtahGolfAssn), Instagram (@utahga) and the Utah Golf Association Facebook page.
The second edition of the History of the Utah State Amateur Championship book is now available, in iPad digital ebook form, free of charge to all members of the Utah Golf Association. The book is available through iTunes, and because of its electronic enhancements is designed for use only on iPads. The enhancements include audio and video features not available on other tablets. The link for the download is: http://tinyurl.com/kevlcfp
Download takes a little longer than a typical eBook download due to video content.
The original book, “100 Years of the Utah State Amateur” was published in hardback format in 1998 to honor the 100th Utah State Amateur at Riverside Country Club. The tournament, which began in 1899, is the longest continuously held tournament in the world. The first winner of Utah’s most prestigious amateur golf event was R.B. Harkness.
The eBook includes, for the first time, a rare short video of the golf swing of Utah’s first famous golfer, George Von Elm, the man who put Utah golf in the national limelight when he upset Bobby Jones in the 1926 U.S. Amateur Championship. At the time, the U.S. Amateur was the most prestigious golf tournament in the world. The obscure video was discovered as part of the research process and this will be the first wide spread showing of the video. For golf aficionados this is a must see.
Von Elm, at the age of 15, remains the youngest player to ever win the Utah State Amateur. He won the title three times before turning his attention fully to the national scene.
The new book in electronic format includes the material from the original book and has brought the history of the event up-to-date (1998-2013) and includes additional feature stories, video highlights as well as updated and expanded information off the tournament’s history.
The book lists its choices for the Best Shots, the Best Matches, and the Biggest Upset Champions in the history of the tournament and has other feature stories and tidbits of interest to Utah golfers. It includes a record section and the individual match play records of all the key players in the history of the tournament.
Profiles of all the champions who won the event multiple times are narrated by Utah’s golf broadcasters Wesley Ruff, Jeff Waters, and Rod Zundel.
The new digital format includes features and pictures of news clippings from Utah’s daily newspapers and videos from Utah’s television stations. This work and the daily and personalized coverage of the Utah State Amateur throughout the history of the tournament are the foundation of the ebook. The publication of the ebook would not be possible without them. They are the keepers of our history. Hats off to them.
The Utah State Amateur History digital edition includes an In the Day segment that highlights the history of state and national events of the various decades, including special videos of some of golf’s greatest events.
A companion website will enhance the ebook with a spreadsheet of the match play won-loss records of everyone who ever played a match in the Utah State Amateur.
The ebook is published by Wired Ballywho under the auspices of the Utah Golf Association and was made possible by the sponsorship of Ned Siegfried and Mitch Jensen. It was edited by Joe Watts, a former Executive Director of the UGA with a big assist from Randy Dodson, publisher of Fairways magazine and the key driver behind the publication of the original hardback book.
You can find the download link to the Utah State Amateur ebook for iPad by searching for The History of the Utah State Amateur title.
Other golfers kidded Sadie Palmer and Randi Stephens about their matching outfits, but the scoreboard certainly validated their fashion choices in the UGA Women’s Four-Ball Championship.
Palmer and Stephens posted a 13-under-par 130 total at Mountain Dell’s Lake Course and Rose Park Golf Course, taking a four-stroke victory over Utah Valley University golfers Monica Yeates and Heather Mathison on June 11-12.
Whether they were having a good time because they played so well or their performance simply reflected their good attitudes, Palmer and Stephens sure seemed to be enjoying the tournament more than everyone else. Their teamwork and approach to the competition was illustrated by their matching clothing with a red theme in the opening round and light purple ensembles in the final round.
“We have a lot of fun out there,” Stephens said, “but we’re also very competitive.”
Palmer, who grew up in Tooele, is a former Southern Utah University golfer. Stephens moved to Utah from Florida and lives in the Park City area. Her husband, Greg, is the club manager and director of golf at Victory Ranch and Conservancy.
The field consisted of 80 teams, divided almost evenly into five flights with both gross and net competition in each flight. Playing conditions were outstanding both days, with Rose Park’s greens receiving compliments.
While that four-stroke margin appears comfortable, the overall winners had to overcome some early adversity.
Like every winning team, Palmer and Stephens claimed to have “ham-and-egged it” for two days. If so, what they produced early in the first round must be considered a garbage omelette. The best either of them could do on Mountain Dell’s par-4 No. 2 (their third hole of the day, after a shotgun start) was a double bogey, thanks to Stephens’ wild tee shot and Palmer’s errant approach shot on the tricky hole. But that’s the only negative thing anyone could say about their performance over two days, judging by the scorecard.
“We knew we had to make a lot of birdies after that,” Palmer said.
Sure enough, they regrouped quickly. Stephens knocked her tee shot close enough for a tap-in birdie at No. 3, and they finished with a 6-under 65. Their final hole was memorable, as Stephens responded to her partner’s struggles by knocking in a downhill, 25-foot birdie putt on the par-3 No. 17.
That gave Palmer/Stephens a four-stroke lead over Yeates/Mathison and Kareen Alton/Jodi White heading into the final round. The champions extended their lead with birdies on four of the first seven holes at Rose Park on the way to another 65. They took advantage of Rose Park’s five par-5s, with no score higher than “4” on their card.
The champions became acquainted with one another only last year when they played in the Women’s State Amateur. They were in the same grouping in the UGA Winterchamps and really bonded when they happened to be shopping at a local golf store. They get along well and seem to bring out the best in each other’s game, while often joining in casual rounds.
Mathison helped the UVU duo finish second by shooting 66 with own ball, highlighted by an eagle on the par-4 No. 8. However, the Brighton High product and Yeates, who’s from Timpanogos High, settled for pars on two par-5s, failing to put more pressure on Palmer and Stephens.
UVU coach Sue Nyhus and her daughter Kimberly, who also plays for the Wolverines, finished third at 137 and Alton/White fell to fourth at 139.
Flight winners included Jean Labrie/Susan Flaim, tying with Amy Mayberry/Tora Rhodes at 151 in Flight 2; Debbie Naylor/Judy Dixon at 159 in Flight 3; Diana Nicol/Cindy Childs at 171 in Flight 4; and Colleen Smith/Betty Bird, tying with Brenda Paris/Sherrie Bearden at 181 in Flight 5.
The Nyhus/Nyhus team tied with Yeates/Mathison for net honors at 126 in Flight 1. Other net winners included Sandy Beveridge/Joanne Kim at 124 in Flight 2; Kaylynn Nerby/Sandy Garcia at 131 in Flight 3; Denise Vilven/Susie Williams, tying with Janice Ann Perry/Nancy Adams at 128 in Flight 4; and Smith/Bird at 128 in Flight 5.
Special mention goes to Vicki Harding/Faye Helm. Even though they finished only fifth in Flight 5, they produced the most impressive comeback of any team in the field. After posting a net 75 at Mountain Dell, they came back with a 58 at Rose Park. Their scorecard featured a net “1” on the par-3 No. 1 and five “2s,” including a pair of net eagles on par-4s.
The silver trophy that Jeff Powars earned for winning the UGA Senior Amateur is about to become one of the most frequently viewed pieces of hardware in Utah golf history.
Powars will treasure his long-awaited UGA award after completing a two-stroke victory over Brett Sampson in the 54-hole event that ended July 19 on Wasatch Mountain State Park’s Lake Course in Midway.
He brought it home with a 5-under-par 67 in the final round, overtaking Mike Holm (who tied for third with first-round leader Paul Cannon, another two shots back). Kirk Siddens matched Powars and Sampson with three under-par rounds, but settled for fifth place.
Powars finished at 11 under, after what he labeled “the best round of my life, under the circumstances.”
Like a lot of awards, this one will have a place in the winner’s office. It’s just that Powars’ office happens to have a window facing the main hall of Syracuse Junior High School, in view of hundreds of students each day.
The SJHS assistant principal smiled mischievously. “Nobody is going to be able to walk by my office without seeing this thing a lot,” Powars said.
Powars has contended for UGA awards in the past. He finished third in the Senior Amateur last year at Fox Hollow and reached the semifinals of the State Amateur with a big upset in the quarterfinals in 2005 at Wolf Creek. He beat Clay Ogden, and that defeat actually enabled Ogden to depart for Ohio a day ahead of schedule and play a practice round in the U.S. Amateur Public Links Championship. And then Ogden proceeded to win the tournament, beating Michelle Wie along the way, and receiving a Masters invitation.
Powars lost to eventual champion Cole Ogden, Clay’s brother, in the State Am quarterfinals at Soldier Hollow in 2013. So he already occupied a place in Utah golf history, and now he has his own major title at age 55.
Having shot 69-69 in the first two rounds, he started the last day two strokes behind Holm and birdied four of the first 10 holes. His early-round highlight was a 7-iron to within 8 inches of the hole on the par-3 No. 6.
Holm was playing well himself, in an effort to follow up his 69-67 start. They were tied for the lead after Holm birdied the par-4 No. 11, but Holm then double-bogeyed the par-4 No. 12 when his approach shot came up short and he then bladed his chip and needed three putts to finish the hole.
“It was a great experience for me,” said Holm, a Midway resident. “I think it’s harder to play with the lead than it is from a shot or two behind, because you’re the target. I just didn’t finish it, coming down the stretch.”
Any remaining chance for Holm to catch Powars ended when he bogeyed the par-3 No. 16 and failed to birdie No. 17, where Powars found some trouble but saved par with a curling, 6-foot putt.
Sampson, of Springville, was in the thick of things by that stage. Having shot 69-70, he was 4 under for the day and 9 under for the tournament through 15 holes, two strokes behind Powars. But Sampson couldn’t apply any more pressure, as they each parred the last three holes.
Powars completed his bogey-free final round, with a 54-hole ledger showing one eagle, 14 birdies and five bogeys.
“I hit it perfect all day, kept the ball below the hole and made putts when I needed to,” he said after the final round. “I couldn’t do any better than that. I might as well retire.”
He was kidding, of course, with a title to defend next year. If that’s not enough to bring him back, the competition and camaraderie of the Senior Amateur offers plenty of incentive. Powars enjoyed playing with fellow competitors such as Siddens in the first round and Holm for the last two days.
Meanwhile, one of the most impressive performances of the tournament came from Allen Simkins, who was in the top 10 until they made him stop playing. That’s because the Super Senior event consisted of 36 holes. Simkins, of St. George, made three straight birdies on the back nine during his opening-round 71. He nearly shot his age of 68 in the second round, posting a 70 for a 3-under total, seven strokes ahead of runner-up Brent Marriott (75-73). LaRon Stevens (79-71) placed third.
Steve Holm (73-65), a 7-handicapper from Clearfield, repeated as the net division winner by two strokes over Bob Gardner (67-73). Louis Sedillo (72-70), Randy Hickman (76-66) and Alan Juergensen (66-76) tied for third.
Kelsey Chugg played so good in the first round of the Mary Lou Baker Open at Spanish Oaks that she could afford to take a few holes off the final round.
Chugg’s competitive career round 65 in the opening 18 allowed her to outlast some sloppy wedge play in the final round with a 5-over 77 and 2-under par finish at 142. Still, that was good enough for a five-stroke win over Dixie State coach Rachel Newren-Harmon. Chugg, a former Weber State golfer, was the only player to finish under par both days.
“It was really fun, I mean yesterday was really awesome. That was my lowest competitive round ever,” said Chugg after her title and final 18.
Annie Yang finished in third place, 6-shots behind Chugg and two strokes behind Newren-Harmon.
Chugg began her lifetime best tournament round 65 with a five-under par 30 on the front after making bogey on the first hole. “It was quite a start on the front nine,” she said.
The next day, with a significant nine-shot lead over the field, again Chugg came out of the chute on fire making birdie, birdie, eagle to go 11-under par. For all intents, the tournament was over.
But Chugg made bogey on the straight-a-way short par-4 No. 5 and then double bogeyed No. 9 when her lob shot over a tree to a corner-tucked pin placement landed short in a bunker.
She bogeyed No. 10 and 11 and then on No. 13 she drove into a tree and had to chip backwards back to the fairway towards the tee box. She chunked her wedge approach and ended up with a triple—giving back seven shots to the field in five holes.
“I kind of threw up on the back, but I hung on,” she said.
But it didn’t matter, her domination the first day and her start on the second was that good.
“I was really nervous,” Chugg said. “I had a lapse of focus to be honest. I hung on today but it wasn’t my best stuff. I was trying to hit a good shot on No. 9 and had an awkward shot from 55-yards. I wanted to hit it on the hill and trickled down but got too cute with it.”
The win was her first women’s tournament since the fall of 2013, but she did compete against men at the Rose Park Open and Salt Lake City Amateur this year.
“It feels good. It’s a good win. I’m more happy with how I played the first day, it showed that I can do it. I will take it, definitely I will take this win.”
Chugg graduated last April from Weber State and is currently on a Boatwright internship with the Utah Golf Association.
Heather Mathison (81-72 153) finished in fourth, followed by Monica Yeates in fifth at 10-over. Xena Motes and UVU coach Sue Nyhus finished tied for sixth at 11-over par. One stroke back in a tie for eighth was Annette Gaiotti, Naomi Sifua and Madi Rooker.
A man desperately in search of a win got the magic in his putter to lift him when former Dixie State golfer Dusty Fielding annexed the historic 75th Provo Open title at East Bay Golf Course.
Fielding, who grew up in Richfield, fired a three-day 54-hole score of 14-under par 202 to defeat Ogden’s Davis Garner by two shots. Fielding’s winner’s check was $3,000. Former BYU player Clay Ogden finished five shots back in third at 207 and his brother Cole finished low amateur for the third time with 209, tying Zach Johnson at 7-under.
“The main thing was my putting all week,” said Fielding. “I’ve most recently done some Aim Point Express Read (technique) getting those reads and it actually helped out a lot. I’m really confident with my lines and almost every putt I hit all week looked like it was going in.” It is a green and break read routine used by Adam Scott on the PGA Tour and Fielding was spreading his feet and pointing his hands to get a better aim point before attempting to putt.
Fielding, who earned his card on the Web.com Tour in 2013, lost it with what he described as a tough and horrible year after fiddling with new equipment out of the chute. He couldn’t hit the ball straight and failed to make putts. In the Provo Open, he regularly had a par putt over four feet and his consistency in hitting fairways and greens carried him all three days.
Fielding and Davis went after one another all day long after starting play in the final round tied at 8-under par. A two-shot swing on the short par-3 No. 17 gave Fielding breathing room at the end, a final round 66. Davis finished with a final round 68.
“Davis was playing solid all day long and he had some putts that could have tied it up on some holes out there,” said Fielding. “He was hitting it really good. I had that two-shot swing when I made birdie on No. 17 and he had a bogey. My final thought on 18 was to hit it way right into the rough and don’t do anything stupid,” said Fielding.
Two-time champion Tony Finau did not defend his title but took time off from his Top 30 ranking on the Web.com Tour and U.S. Open break to spend time with his family in Lehi. Finau, who has been dominating at the Provo Open the past two years did attend events at the course during the week, including media day.
Maple Mountain High School star Kai Ruiz, 17, started the final round tied with Davis and Fielding but finished with a 76. Former PGA Tour veteran Keith Clearwater finished as the low senior with a 2-under par finish.
Fielding, 31, lives in St. George and has lived there the past 10 years. He turned professional in 2008. He finished outside the Top 100 last year, which cost him a card. He entered into a new club contract at the first year in 2013 and struggled all year long in what he called the “worst year as a pro,” and his plan now is to get back into tour qualifying school.
“The ‘express’ way of reading breaks in greens is a simple approach and I really feel comfortable with it,” said Fielding. “It has made a difference.”
His best finish this year has been ninth at the Riverton, Wyoming Open. “I’ve been getting anxious because my game has been coming around. This gives me a lot of confidence. Putting can erase a lot of bad shots.”
Ogden bogeyed his last hole of the tournament, but it was good enough to finish better than runnerup low amateur, his former teammate at BYU Devon Purser, who is now competing at Weber State.
“I didn’t like finishing like that, but I’ll take it. On the front nine I hit it really well and had three or four birdie putts that I should have made. I bogeyed No. 10, which was frustrating, but then I made three birdies in a row,” said Ogden.
Jordan Rodgers made a pair of birdies on the back nine on the final day of the Art City Amateur on the same holes leader Darrin Overson made bogeys to ignite a come-from-behind victory at Hobble Creek Golf Course in June.
Rogers, a current BYU player, finished 66-67 for a 9-under par 133 for the popular 36-hole competition, which is now approaching five decades at this picturesque par-71 canyon layout.
Overson, a former champion, had a 16-foot eagle putt with a six-foot break graze the hole on 18. An Oversen make would have sent the competition into extra holes. Overson finished one shot back of Rodgers at 8-under with rounds of 64-70 for 8-under 134.
Overson led Rogers at the turn by two shots and looked like he was on his way when he nearly drove the par-4 11th and made birdie to go three shots ahead. But on the vulnerable par-5 13th, his drive went through the right tree line and he had to chip out. He then 3-putted for a bogey while Rogers tapped in for birdie—a two shot swing.
Rogers repeated a birdie-Overson-bogey move on No. 15 to take a one-shot lead at 9-under par. He increased that to two shots ahead of Overson on No. 17 with a par to Overson’s bogey. Roger’s had to execute a tremendous chip on the down slope of No. 18 to save par and the one-shot win with Overson making a short birdie putt to close the gap.
“I thought the turning point was 13, when I birdied and he (Overson) made that bogey. Also, when I hit that 8-iron into 15 to within 6-feet and he missed the green and made a bogey, that was a very big hole for me. There were two 2-shot swings in three holes,” said the BYU senior-to-be.
“I’ve been close all year, it feels good,” said Rodgers. “I’ve had three or four second-place finishes but now that Zac (Blair) is gone I finally got the W.”
Blair, a three-time UGA Player of the Year, turned professional this spring after cleaning up Utah amateur winter play. Rodgers finished second at with Winterchamps, Dixie Red Hills Amateur and the St. George Amateur. He did play on BYU’s squad in the NCAA regional at Auburn in May.
“I’ve been hitting the ball great and just got the putter going. On that chip on 18, I just decided to step up and hit it. I’ve really been struggling with my chipping since my mission—it’s a part of the game that needs work. But that chip was probably the best I’ve made in six years.”
Weber State’s Devon Purser (68-67 135) finished in third, one stroke better than Maple Mountain High School star Kai Ruiz, who shot a pair of 68s for 6-under par total.
Dan Horner, Clark Rustand and defending champion Brandon Herget finished in a tie for fifth seven shots behind Rodgers at two-under for the two-day event. Jason Harget, who tied Overson with sizzling 7-under par 64s the first day, faded with a 76 on the finishing round.
On that opening day, the group that included the Hargett Brothers, Rodgers and Overson had 26 birdies and a double eagle, that coming on No. 13 when Brandon Hargett knocked in his approach shot for a 2.
For the victor, the chip on the final hole will give him a lift for the future.
“I’m going to look back on that chip and say I’ve already done it once and just go at it,” said Rogers.
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