Former Fremont High and BYU golfer Patrick Fishburn spoke from an air-conditioned rental car at a parking lot in Springfield, Missouri, a few weeks ago about how excited he was to “play for the home team” in this week’s stop on the Korn Ferry Tour — the Utah Championship presented by Zions Bank.

“A lot of the guys love coming to Utah. It is something they circle on the calendar. It is ran so well every single year and everybody has a good experience.” — former BYU golfer Patrick Fishburn

Back then, he had no idea he would have this many teammates.

Once again, the 72-hole tournament at Oakridge Country Club that begins Thursday and runs through Sunday will have a distinct Beehive State flair. Fishburn, who has risen to No. 15 on the KFT points list after placing second Sunday in the NV5 Invitational in Glenview, Illinois, is one of seven golfers who graduated from Utah high schools entered in the event.

“Yeah, I always enjoy playing the Utah Championship,” said Fishburn, who finished in a three-way tie for second last year, a shot behind then-KFT rookie Andrew Kozan, the long-shot winner. 

“I think it just puts me in a great mental state,” Fishburn continued. “Whenever I play (in Utah) I kinda look around and I see a lot of people that have been with me and supported me throughout my life.”

In a lot of ways, Fishburn can play relaxed and free this week, because his performance last week — he lost in a playoff to former Auburn golfer Trace Crowe — means he is now well inside the list of top 30 KFT golfers who will earn PGA Tour cards for the 2024 season.

“It is always a week I look forward to,” Fishburn said. “I think a lot of the guys do. A lot of the guys love coming to Utah. It is something they circle on the calendar. It is ran so well every single year and everybody has a good experience. I am just excited to come back and hopefully do one shot better.”

Other Utah high school products in the field this week: former PGA Tour regular Daniel Summerhays (Davis); former University of Utah stars Blake Tomlinson (Skyline) and Mitchell Schow (Park City); former BYU standout Carson Lundell (Lone Peak); and current BYU golfers Zac Jones (Lone Peak) and Tyson Shelley (Skyline), who won the prestigious Pacific Coast Amateur last week in British Columbia, Canada.

University of Utah’s Blake Tomlinson hits out of a sand trap the Utah State Amateur at Alpine Country Club on Saturday, July 17, 2021. The former Ute standout is among the field at this week’s Utah Championship. | Scott G Winterton, Deseret News

Summerhays is 109th on the KFT points list and qualified based on his ranking; Tomlinson, who is playing on PGA Tour Canada, received a sponsor exemption along with former Oklahoma State golfer Zach Bauchou, two-time PGA Tour winner Kyle Stanley and Alex Weiss, who played collegiately for Marshall.

The other four Utahns — Schow, Lundell, Jones and Shelley — qualified Monday night at Salt Lake City’s Bonneville Golf Course, with Schow earning medalist honors with a 9-under 63 that included 10 birdies.

Lundell, a new pro who played in the Utah Championship last year on a sponsor exemption but did not make the cut, shot a 65 to place second in the qualifying. Amateurs Jones and Shelley survived a seven-way playoff for two of the last three spots, along with Las Vegas pro Max Marsico.

Another Lone Peak product, incoming BYU freshman Cooper Jones, who won the Salt Lake City Amateur in 2021 at Bonneville, was eliminated in the playoff after shooting a 67 in regulation. Cooper is 2022 State Am champion Zac Jones’ younger brother.

Fishburn starts on the No. 10 tee Thursday, at 8:10 a.m., in one of the featured groups of the day. Summerhays goes off the No. 1 tee at 12:55 p.m.

Former Utes teammates and good friends Tomlinson and Schow, who grew up in Ogden but attended Park City High, are paired together with Michael Feuerstein and will be the final group out off the No. 10 tee Thursday, at 2:35 p.m.

BYU’s Lundell and Shelley will play together, going off the No. 1 tee at 9:20 a.m. Two-time State Am champ Zac Jones, a rising junior at BYU, will also start at 9:20 a.m., but off the No. 10 tee.

Prep golf: Lone Peak rising junior Kihei Akina is USA Today’s National Boys High School Golfer of the Year
It was a wild, and successful, weekend for Utah high school graduates, BYU golfers on pro and amateur tours

Even before shooting 25-under last week in the Chicago area, Fishburn said he likes his chances on his home turf this week.

“I am hoping I can play like I did last year and have a good shot to win it,” he said. “I think it would get me pretty close to locking up a card, or getting somewhere near it. That would be an amazing deal if I could play well there and manage to get in the hunt and pull off something special.”

Two other BYU products — Zac Blair and American Fork’s Peter Kuest — are playing in the PGA Tour’s Wyndham Championship this week in Greensboro, North Carolina. 

West High product Tony Finau is taking the week off to prepare for the FedEx Cup Playoffs, which begin next week with the St. Jude Championship in Memphis, Tennessee.

Utah’s super seven in KFT’s Utah Championship, with Thursday’s tee times

  • Patrick Fishburn, Fremont — 8:10 a.m. (No. 10 tee)
  • Daniel Summerhays, Davis — 12:55 p.m. (No. 1 tee)
  • Blake Tomlinson, Skyline — 2:35 p.m. (No. 10 tee)
  • Mitchell Schow, Park City — 2:35 p.m. (No. 10 tee)
  • Carson Lundell, Lone Peak — 9:20 a.m. (No. 1 tee)
  • Tyson Shelley, Skyline — 9:20 a.m. (No. 1 tee)
  • Zac Jones, Lone Peak — 9:20 a.m. (No. 10 tee)