PARK CITY — Talk about a homefield advantage.
Except for one year, the home team has won every time in the annual Utah-Arizona Shootout, which will pit top amateur golfers from each state against each other in a Ryder Cup-like format for the 13th straight year.
The one time the visitors won was Utah's victory in Arizona in 2000.
So the pressure will be on Utah's 12 players, which includes two seniors and two women, to hold serve. That would keep the Beehive State ahead in the annual competition, which alternates between each state from year to year and stands 7-5 in Utah's favor.
Play gets under way this morning at the Glenwild Golf Club, which opened for play just last year. Golfers will compete in four-ball (best ball) this morning and foursomes (alternating shots) in the afternoon. Then on Tuesday, the 12 golfers on each side will be paired off for individual matches.
Utah's team includes three-time State Amateur champion Doug Bybee, reigning Salt Lake City Amateur champ Ryan Job and current State Amateur champ Tommy Sharp. Also on the Utah side is Pete Stone, No. 1 in the Player Performance rankings this year; Steve Poulson; Marty Jacks; Kirk Siddens; and Corey Matthews, who won the Tournament of Champions last weekend
Three-time State Am champion Sue Nyhus will join former State Am champion Tenille Howe as the women representatives, while two-time Senior Match Play champion Doug Marriott and John Taylor are the senior golfers on the team. Collegiate golfers are ineligible for the competition.
The Arizona team will be much less experienced with eight first-time players including Tim Duffey, Bryan Hoops, Tom Parker, Paige Peterson, Jason Rudquist, Michael Mahoney, Gary Hart and Lynn Simmons.
Erik Nielsen and Tom Beach will be playing in their seventh Shootout, while Armen Dirtadian will be playing in his sixth and Guy Gedeon in his second.
Thirty-six team points are available each day with three points awarded for each match — one point for the front nine, one for the back and one for the 18 holes.