6 current or recently graduated BYU golfers win matches Wednesday, advance to round of 32 at Utah State Amateur
Medalist Nick Nelson, the 2007 champion, lost in first-round match to Utah Utes golfer Colton Tanner at Alpine Country Club in Highland
With one glaring exception, it was a beautiful day for BYU golfers as the match play portion of the 123rd Utah State Amateur began Wednesday at Alpine Country Club in Highland.
A year after University of Utah golfers dominated the pandemic-delayed State Am at Jeremy Ranch last September, the Cougars have bounced back in a big way this week.
No fewer than six current or recently graduated BYU golfers won their matches in the round of 64 on Wednesday.
It was a split for the Cougars in head-to-head matches with University of Utah golfers, however.
Former State Am champ Kelton Hirsch, who just exhausted his BYU eligibility in the spring, defeated Utah’s Oscar Maxfield 1 up in one of the first matches of the day. Later, Utah got a measure of revenge as freshman Martin Leon of Chile defeated BYU’s Elijah Turner, a sophomore from Lone Peak High and an Alpine CC member, 5 and 3.
Other BYU golfers who advanced to Thursday’s round of 32 are senior Spencer Dunaway, sophomores David Timmins and Brock Goyen and freshmen Max Brenchley and Keanu Akina.
Dunaway defeated Tyler Jones 4 and 3, Timmins downed Josh Howe 2 and 1, Goyen edged Westminster College golfer Zachary Dallimore in 19 holes and Akina defeated Brett Smith of St. George 1 up.
In a terrific match pitting two of the best golfers in the field, BYU’s Brenchley defeated two-time defending Mid-Am champ David Jennings in 20 holes.
Current Utes who advanced are Leon, sophomore Colton Tanner of Park City and senior Blake Tomlinson (runner-up to former Ute Mitchell Schow in 2020). Tomlinson served notice that he remains a favorite with a 5 and 3 win over seasoned amateur Brady Stanger.
Tanner, one of 11 survivors of a 16-man playoff late Tuesday night, started the day off by knocking off medalist Nick Nelson 1 up. On paper, that appears to be an upset until one considers that Nelson, a 33-year-old father of four, has played in only one other tournament all season while Tanner plays almost every day as a collegian.
The match of the day was played by teenager Jack Sargent and veteran Derek Penman. Sargent, a Davis High product, won it in 22 holes.
Former champion Dan Horner needed 19 holes to hold off Braxton Barber, who plays out of nearby Fox Hollow Golf Club.
Utah State golfer Cameron Tucker outlasted former BYU golfer and one-time pro Nick Killpack of St. George in 19 holes as three of the last four matches Wednesday went past 18 holes.
Among the better round of 32 matchups on Thursday should be BYU’s Hirsch against former Sonoma State golfer Justin Shluker of Park City, 2008 champion Horner against former SUU standout Jake Vincent, a past Big Sky Conference player of the year, and BYU’s Timmins vs. seasoned amateur John Owen.
The best matchup of collegians could be BYU’s Goyen against USU’s Tucker.