JEREMY RANCH — Every year, one of the most exciting aspects of the Utah State Amateur golf tournament is the playoff for the final spots for match play, following the second day of medal play. In each of the last two years, a dozen golfers were involved in playoffs after the second round of medal play and some years as many as 16 golfers have competed in the playoff that usually ends just before dark.
With this year’s State Am being played two months later than usual due to the COVID-19 pandemic, there is about 90 minutes less daylight, which means it would have been tough to fit in a playoff after golfers finished Wednesday evening. Utah Golf Association officials knew this, so they scheduled this year’s playoff for Thursday at 8 a.m.
That’s when six golfers will meet on the Jeremy Ranch Country Club’s 17th tee to see which golfers qualify for the final three coveted spots for match play.
The three successful golfers will turn around and be paired against the top three seeds, who tied for medalist honors after each finishing at 7-under-par 137. The three co-medalists are former Park City High teammates Mitchell Schow and Justin Shluker and St. George golfer Hayden Christensen.
Schow, a senior for the University of Utah golf team, began the day with a one-shot lead after shooting a 66 in windy conditions Tuesday afternoon. He “was expecting a lot more” under calmer morning conditions, but could only manage a 71.
Schow figured Shluker or Cole Ponich, who were a stroke behind, would pass him up in the afternoon, but Ponich faded to a 74, while Shluker nearly did, but saw his slippery six-foot putt slide by the hole at 18.
- Cole Ponich lines up a putt with caddy, Nick Killpack watching during Day 2 of the Utah State Amateur on Wednesday, Sept. 2, 2020. Randy Dodson, Fairways Media
- Hayden Christensen hits a shot during Day 2 of the Utah State Amateur on Wednesday, Sept. 2, 2020. Randy Dodson, Fairways Media
- Justin Shluker looks on during Day 2 at the Utah State Amateur on Wednesday, Sept. 2, 2020. Randy Dodson, Fairways Media
- Nick Killpack hits a shot during Day 2 of the Utah State Amateur on Wednesday, Sept. 2, 2020. Randy Dodson, Fairways Media
- Justin Shluker, left, sets up a putt while Clark Rustand watches on the eighth green during Day 2 of the Utah State Amateur on Wednesday, Sept. 2, 2020. Randy Dodson, Fairways Media
The 25-year-old Shluker has played “thousands” of rounds at Jeremy Ranch, growing up as a member at the club, but not so many in recent years when he played for the Sonoma State golf team. He’s hoping his home-course knowledge will help him in match play.
Christensen, who was the low amateur at the Siegfried & Jensen Utah Open last month, came on strong shooting a 5-under-par 67 to finish at 137. He was only 3-under for the tournament as he came to hole No. 16 and knew he needed three birdies to catch Schow. He made a two-putt birdie at the par-3 16th, then sank a 20-footer at No. 17. He thought he hit a perfect approach at 18, but his ball rolled back to the bottom of the green, 75 feet away. He told himself, “let’s make this putt” and he stroked it in.
St. George’s Nick Killpack made a run at medalist honors, getting to 6-under for the tournament at the turn, but could only manage at 37 on the back nine and finished fourth at 139. He’s a former professional golfer who played for BYU from 2005-2009, but got his amateur status back last year and now as a 36-year-old father who runs a business, says he plays mostly for fun.
The cut had been expected to be around even-par 144 or 145, but a consistent wind sent scores higher and the cut number ended up being 147.
The six golfers who will get up early Thursday to compete in the playoff are last year’s medalist Colton Tanner, Steve Croft, Matthew Lyons, Willard Richards, Andy Hess and Brandon Hargett.
State Am scores
137 — Mitchell Schow (66-71), Hayden Christensen (70-67), Justin Shluker (67-70)
139 — Nick Killpack (71-68)
141 — Brock Stanger (70-71), Daren Johnson (69-72), Dan Horner (71-70), Cole Ponich (67-74)
142 — Davis Heslington (73-69), John Owen (69-73), Luke Crapo (71-71), Hayden Banz (70-72)
143 — Simon Kwon (70-73), Noah Schone (71-72), Kelton Hirsch (73-70), Kirk Siddens (69-74)
144 — Braxton Watts (72-72), Blake Tomlinson (72-72), Tristan Mandur (73-71)
145 — Boston Bracken (73-72), Hunter Howe (72-73), Darrin Overson (77-68)
146 — Landon Anderson (72-74), Patrick Horstmann (75-71), Jake Vincent (73-73), Tyson Shelley (70-76), Peyton Hastings (76-70), Brandon Robison (73-73), Derek Penman (73-73)
147 — Matthew Lyons (77-70), Steve Croft (72-76), Willard Richards (72-75), Colton Tanner (72-75), Andy Hess (73-74), Brandon Hargett (75-72)
148 — Gary (Brett) Smith (74-74), Ali Hameed (75-73), Kihei Akina (74-74)
149 — Tanner Telford (74-75), Scott Nielson (75-74), Elijah Turner (73-76), Kurt Owen (71-78), Chase Lansford (76-73)
150 — Denny Job (77-73), Alex DeBry (79-71), Cameron Tucker (74-76), Lucas Schone (71-79), Brock Nielson (74-76), Ryan Brimley (72-78)
151 — Jeff Appelbaum (77-74), Tyson Lund (75-76), Shane McMillan (77-74), Devin Tovey (77-74)
152 — Thomas Young (72-80), Keanu Akina (76-76), Caysen Wright (76-76), Carl Jensen (77-75), Nik Parcell (71-81), John Fox (80-72), Carsen Dopp (72-80), Preston Cheney (76-76), Jacob Marx (76-76)
153 — Clint Finkbiner (78-75), Stephen Lindsey (80-73), Ben Jorgensen (80-73), David Jennings (78-75), Clark Rustand (79-74)
154 — Keaton Woodland (78-78), Mike Branca (79-75), Craig Wilson (78-76), Camron Saunders (80-74), Andrew Barton (76-78), Spencer Dunaway (77-77), Nick Nelson (78-76), Jackson Holman (76-78), Tyson Tanner (77-77)
155 — Jalen Martinez (82-73), Jon Wright (75-80), Adam Whitt (75-80), Brock Goyen (81-74), Cole Ogden (76-79), Tommy Johnson (78-77), Simon Chamness (78-77), Eric Loveland (75-80), Dylan Chugg (77-78), Steve Poulson (79-76)
First round matches
Justin Shluker vs. TBD
Simon Kwon vs. Blake Tomlinson
Dan Horner vs. Peyton Hastings
Davis Heslington vs. Patrick Horstmann
Nick Killpack vs. Jake Vincent
Noah Schone vs. Hunter Howe
Daren Johnson vs. Landon Anderson
Hayden Banz vs. Boston Bracken
Mitchell Schow vs. TBD
Kelton Hirsch vs. Braxton Watts
Cole Ponich vs. Brandon Robison
John Owen vs. Tyson Shelley
Hayden Christensen vs. TBD
Kirk Siddens vs. Tristan Mandur
Brock Stanger vs. Derek Penman
Luke Crapo vs. Darrin Overson