BYU’s Zac Jones wins medalist honors at 124th Utah Men’s State Amateur
Medalist honors at the 124th Utah Men’s State Amateur went to first-round co-leader Zac Jones, who fired his second straight 66 to finish at 132.
Although he already has a Utah State Amateur victory under his belt at Soldier Hollow Golf Course, Cole Ogden had no expectations coming into the 2022 event this week.
Since winning here in 2013, Ogden has gotten married, started a family (three kids under the age of 4), and taken a stab as a professional for a couple of years, before settling into a career as a pharmaceutical rep.
It’s been four years since the 30-year-old Ogden even qualified for the match play portion of the tourney, and now that he might only play nine holes on a given week, he would have been thrilled just to make it to match play this year before the tourney started.
So all Ogden did Tuesday was post the lowest score of the 288 players in the tournament over two days with a sparkling 65 on the Soldier Hollow Silver Course after a 70 the day before.
“I haven’t been practicing a whole lot, and I told my wife I had no expectations,” Ogden said. “I just kept it in play, there was nothing fancy today. I have putted really well and my speed control has been really good. It’s reminiscent of 2013 when I won.”
Ogden’s two-day total of 135 wasn’t quite good enough for medalist honors, which went to first-round co-leader Zac Jones, who fired his second straight 66 to finish at 132.
The 21-year-old Jones plays for BYU, and he edged teammate David Timmins, who was tied at 12-under before making bogey on the final two holes to finish at 134.
Jones, who won the Spanish Oaks and Talons Cove amateurs earlier this year, said he hit “everything good” Tuesday and was especially happy with his driving on the Gold Course. He knew about Ogden’s number earlier in the day and was keeping his eye on Timmins as they finished at the same time on different courses.
A bogey on his second-to-last hole dropped Jones to 11-under, but he recovered with a birdie at his final hole (No. 9) by rolling in a 12-footer.
“Being medalist is a cool thing, but the tournament is all about match play,” he said. “I definitely wanted to be a high seed. Starting tomorrow it’s an even playing field and you can’t underestimate anyone.”
Because of a 70-minute lightning delay in the late morning, the two waves of golfers on the Gold and Silver courses barely finished before more lightning hit the course just as the final golfers were finishing around 8 p.m.
With the threatening weather, it was too late to hold a playoff for the final spots in the 64-golfer match play field, so 13 golfers who finished at 147 were to come back early Wednesday morning to compete for the final two match play spots to go against Jones and Timmins.
First-round co-leader Landon Anderson, a Utah Valley University golfer, shot 71 and finished in a tie for fourth at 137 with Cooper Jones, Zac Jones’ younger brother, and Skyline High golfer Peter Kim.
Defending champion Martin Leon, who had to survive a playoff last year to make match play, finished medal play in a tie for 22nd at 143. Salt Lake City Amateur champ Justin Shluker came in at 145, while Mid-Amateur champion David Jennings finished at 146.
The 64 qualifiers will play one round of match play, and the survivors will play two rounds Thursday and two more on Friday before two finalists will compete in a 36-hole final Saturday.