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STATE AM OPENS WITH LOW SCORES

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It was a rough day at the leaderboard for Larry Disera during Wednesday's opening round of the State Amateur at Alpine Country Club, thanks to a rash of low scores by Utah's finest amateur golfers.

Disera, past president of the Utah Golf Association, had scoreboard duty for the round and wasn't prepared for all the low numbers. He spent much of the afternoon cutting and pasting changes on his attractive leaderboard to accomodate the low scores.By the end of the day, 27 golfers had shot par 72 or better, led by Bountiful's Kurt Bosen with a 7-under 65. And 26 golfers were in at 73 and 74, making a crowded field of contenders heading into Thursday's second round.

Just 32 golfers qualify for the match-play portion of the tournament beginning Friday, meaning a two-round score of about par was needed to qualify.

That was Bosen's goal going into the 36 holes of medal play - qualify for match play. However, he amended it following his sparkling round.

"That took a lot of pressure off - I can virtually coast in after the 65," he said. "I'm going to try to win medalist."

Bosen had little room to breathe because BYU golfer Ramon Brobio fired a 66 and 17-year-old Greg Slack of Cedar City shot a 67. Two golfers, Ogden's Rob Despain and Salt Lake's Spence Ahrend,scored 68s.

For the 32-year-old Bosen, it started off like a routine round as he parred the first seven holes. Then he made back-to-back birdies at 8 and 9, the latter from 20 feet. He made his lone bogey of the day with a 3-putt at perhaps the easiest hole on the course, the 340-yard 10th hole.

He birdied 12, then had a marvelous finish, making birdies at 15, 16 and 18 with an eagle sandwiched in at No. 17. The eagle was set up by a 3-wood from the rough that traveled approximately 260 yards and landed 12 feet from the hole. He finished with a 31 on the back, the tougher of Alpine's two nines.

Bosen was the medalist once before, at Wolf Creek in 1984, but he lost in the semifinals to eventual champion Mark Davis.

Brobio also had a strong finish with a 32 on the back nine, highlighted by a 30-foot downhill putt for eagle at the par-5 17th hole.

The 19-year-old Brobio, a native of The Philippines, played No. 1 for the BYU golf team most of last season. He beat many of the finest collegiate golfers in the country at the Sun Devil Classic in April.

"The whole year I hit it well, but struggled with my putter. Today, I wasn't hitting it that well, but I putted so well," he said.

Besides the long putt at 17, he made 30-foot birdie putts at 9 and 12, a 25-footer at 5, a 20-footer at 2 and a 15-footer at 10.

This is Brobio's first State Amateur. Last year, he went home for the summer, but this year he stuck around because "coach (Karl Tucker) encouraged me to stay." He'll go back home for a month or so Monday and he hopes to have a State Am prize to take along.

Slack had no bogeys en route to his best competitive round ever. He's still a relative neophyte when it comes to golf, having played less than four years. But he's come a long way.

Last year, he made it all the way to the State Am semifinals. He's played well enough this year to earn an invitation to play for Arizona State, the current NCAA champion, next fall.

He nearly didn't make his 8:24 a.m. tee time Wednesday. Slack was staying in Provo, but encountered more traffic than expected. He arrived just in time to walk from his car to the tee. After a shaky start, which included a couple of up-and-downs on the first three holes, he settled down and made five birdies.

Included in a group of eight golfers at 70 were former State Am runnerup Ken Cromwell, BYU golfer Dean Wilson and BYU-golfer-to-be Joseph Summerhays and U. of U. golfers Marty Romney and Paul Phillips. Others at 70 were Randy Robertson, Jared Barnes and Dana Nelson.

Two-time runnerup Doug Bybee headed a group of five at 71, while two-time champion Arlen Peacock led a group of nine at 72.

The low 32 golfers after Thursday are paired for match play beginning Friday morning. By that evening, just eight golfers will be left and after two more rounds Saturday, the two surviving golfers battle in a 36-hole match Sunday.