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Arizona takes home title

Trend continues as road team wins Shootout event

LEHI — Perhaps it was fitting that the Arizona golfers and coaches ate dinner the night before at the Roadhouse Steakhouse.

A series that used to be dominated by the home team has suddenly turned in favor of the road team as Arizona won the 17th annual Arizona-Utah Shootout with a 40-32 victory Tuesday at Thanksgiving Point Golf Course.

It marked the third straight year and fourth time in five years that the visiting team has come out victorious. The home team won the first nine matches in the series before Utah broke through with a win seven years ago.

"The guys had a good mind-set and were really excited about coming up here," said Scott McNevin, the Arizona captain. "We lost last year in Arizona and knew it would be tough."

Utah had taken an 18 1/2-17 1/2 lead after Monday's foursomes and four-ball matches. The Shootout is similar to the Ryder Cup and President's Cup competition, although the scoring is different, with one point available to be won on each nine as well as one for the 18-hole match.

McNevin said there wasn't much to his Monday-night pep talk at the Roadhouse, just that he told his 12 players to "have fun and represent the state."

Steve Welker got things started for Arizona with a 2 1/2- 1/2 victory over Steve Brinton in one of the two matches featuring senior golfers.

Utah's women held their own and actually had the edge on the Arizonans as Annette Gaotti defeated Tui Selvaratnam 2-1 and Utah's Lynsey Myers tied with Lynn Simmons.

However, Arizona dominated the at-large matches with three 3-0 victories by Tom Beach, Rick Bojalod and Nick Carlson that proved to be the difference.

Utah's three winners besides Gaotti were Scott Clark, Darrin Overson and Ryan Smith, who each won 2-1, while Kirk Siddens tied his match.

"We thought we were fairly evenly matched and felt pretty good about it going into today," said Allen Simkins. "We got behind early in some key matches and some turned around and some didn't. But to get beat by nine points today and eight overall, I'd call that a pretty good shellacking."

Simkins felt one of the differences was that the Arizonans handled Thanksgiving Point's tricky greens better than the Utahns.

The top point-getter for Arizona over the two days was Carlson, a 21-year-old playing in his first Shootout. He finished with 7 1/2 points, while Simmons had 6 1/2 points and Selvaratnam and Michael Wog each had 6 points.

Siddens led Utah with 7 points, while Clark, the State Am runner-up, earned 6 points for Utah. Overson, Hacker and Smith each had 5 1/2 points.

Next year, the series, which now stands 9-8 in favor of Arizona, returns to Arizona, where Utah hopes the road team wins again.