On a blustery Sunday afternoon, the Salt Lake City Amateur golf tournament came down to a duel between a pair of 22-year-olds - one a University of Utah golfer wearing blue and white, the other a BYU golfer, wearing red, of course.
The golfer in blue from the U., Devin Dehlin, came away with the victory, edging Ryan Rhees on the first hole of a sudden-death hole at Bonneville Golf Course. Dehlin won the 1986 City Am title by three strokes.This time, Dehlin, who just completed his eligibility at Utah, had to overcome a bogey-double bogey finish for a 3-over-par 75 to defeat Rhees, who used to beat him regularly when the two were rivals in junior golf.
The two had finished at 4-under 140, which necessitated the sudden-death playoff. Dehlin quickly ended the suspense with a first-hole birdie, while Rhees bogeyed after hitting his second shot out of bounds.
After waiting more than an hour for other golfers to finish, Dehlin and Rhees went out to the par-5 480-yard No. 1 hole. The slightly built Dehlin smashed his drive more than 300 yards, leaving himself with a 145-yard 7-iron shot. He knocked that over the green.
"Those were my two best shots of the day," he said. "I guess I was pumped up on that second shot."
Dehlin was left with a tricky downhill chip shot and faced the possibility of his ball ending up on the lower level of the two-tier green. However, Rhees had hit his second shot from 165 yards into the bushes left of the green. When Dehlin suggested he hit a provisional ball, Rhees asked, "Is the out of bounds that close?" It was, and so was Rhees' ball.
Despite the two-shot penalty, Rhees could still have tied the hole by sinking a 25-foot putt on his second ball and having Dehlin two-putt. But Rhees missed and Dehlin sank his birdie putt for the win.
"I had to make up for those last two holes," said Dehlin, who was almost embarrassed that he gave up three shots on the final two holes.
After his 65 on Saturday, Dehlin had his problems after making early birdies at 3 and 4. He bogeyed five of the next nine holes to go to 2-over for the day, 5-under for the tournament. But he seemed to be back in control after making birdies at 14 with a 10-footer and 16 with a 3-footer.
However, a pulled second shot at 17 led to a bogey. Dehlin knew he was a shot ahead of Rhees as he stood on the tee of the 182-yard par-3 18th hole. Hitting directly into the wind, Dehlin's 3-iron faded right and he ended up in the sand trap. After blasting out 12 feet past, he couldn't stop his downhill putt for par and missed a 6-footer coming back.
Rhees, who had just bogeyed 17, was watching all this from the tee and his shot ended up near Dehlin's, only on the grass instead of the trap. But he chipped up within four feet and made the putt to force the playoff.
Three golfers finished two shots back at 142. Jim Jensen, who finished second to Dehlin in 1986, bogeyed the easy par-14th to kill his chances. BYU golfer Roberto Herrera had the best score of the day, a 69, while Rich Rawdin came in with a 73 for his 2-under total.
Former City Am champ Doug Bybee, who just got his amateur status back earlier this spring, was all alone at 143. He was especially frustrated since he had 12 birdies and an eagle in two days, but only finished 1-under due to too many bogeys.
Les Perry won A Flight with a net 137, Thom Wright and Mike Jones tied in B Flight at 133 and Rich West and Bob Fischer tied for C Flight honors with 137 totals.