Utah senior state amateur
by Mike Sorensen
Brigham Gibbs, who won his first Utah State Senior Amateur at Glenwild Golf Club in early June, isn’t well-known in local golf circles, even though he was born and raised in the Beehive State.
In the Senior State Amateur, Gibbs qualified for match play as the No. 8 seed and dispatched of Oakridge club champion Curtis Cook in the first round 2 and 1. Then he went up against 2015 Senior State Amateur champion Craig Wilson in the second round and also took a 2 and 1 victory.
For the quarterfinal round, Gibbs was matched up against No. 1 seed Randy Hicken of Talons Cove GC and Gibbs said later it was his best match of the week as they went to the final hole before Gibbs escaped with a 2 up victory. Then in the semifinals that afternoon, he outlasted Rich Stuart 1 up.
By the final match, whether it was exhaustion from three-straight days of playing or what, neither Gibbs nor Sampson was at his best.
Gibbs started off with a pair of bogeys to quickly fall two down, but got back to even at No. 6 when Sampson made one of three 6s on the front nine. By hole 11, Gibbs was 3 up before he “threw away” three holes and the match went back to even after 15 when Sampson birdied.
Then the match turned at the par-5 16th when Sampson’s drive found the water hazard on the left and Gibbs was able to win the hole with a par. Both players parred No. 17 and when Gibbs lagged a 40-foot putt at 18 to within inches, the match was over.
Utah Women's State Amateur
by Kurt Kragthorpe
The Blair Sisters' style of golf works equally well in stroke play. Yet there's something about the way their consistent ball-striking and ability to make one par after another wears down opponents in match play, and that was illustrated by the way Bingham High School senior Tess Blair dominated the 112th Women's State Amateur.
Blair made a lot of routine pars on her way to the title. Even so, one spectacular par turned the Aug. 2 final match permanently in her favor at Bonneville Golf Course. Blair's chip-in after a taking penalty stroke on the par-3 No. 9 started her run of winning the last five holes, giving her a 6-and-5 victory over Jessica Sloot.
Blair's win came during a big summer for teenagers in UGA championships. Blair, 17, is the youngest winner of the Women's Amateur since Terry Norman Hansen (also 17, but about three weeks younger) claimed her first title in 1980.
The Women's Am outcome followed the 2014 triumph of Blair's sister, Sirene, then a San Diego State golfer and now a professional. Tess Blair, who's committed to Sacramento State, was the qualifying medalist and never had to play beyond the 16th hole in any of her four matches.
utah state amateur
by Kurt Kragthorpe
Everyone involved with the Utah State Amateur Championship is proud of the event's tradition, dating to 1899.
The best part of the State Am is the way its history keeps being updated. Preston Summerhays added another element to his family's chapter of tournament lore, and that's only part of what he accomplished by beating University of Utah golfer Kyle Dunkle 3 and 2 in the final match of the 120th State Am on June 16 at Oakridge Country Club.
About six weeks short of his 16th birthday, Summerhays became the youngest winner of the tournament, topping the legendary George Von Elm, who was 16 in 1917, when he won for the first time. Summerhays will be a sophomore at Chaparral High School in Scottsdale, Ariz.
Born in Farmington as the oldest child of Barbara Jean and Boyd Summerhays, Preston moved to Arizona with his family at age 8. They spend the summers in Davis County.
The summary of his State Am victory is simple: Summerhays wore down every opponent with his consistent play, a phrase that may not give him enough credit for making a bunch of birdies. He wobbled slightly in the final match, yet he led for the last 30 holes and never gave Dunkle much of an opening. He's a worthy champion, in every way. And, as has been the case with other members of the extended Summerhays golfing family, his career will be fascinating to watch.