Team Utah (Back Row L to R): Randy Hicken, Darrin Overson, Denny Job, Ryan Brimley, David Jennings, Reed Nielsen, Kurt Owen
(Front Row L to R): Patrick Murphy, Kelsey Chugg, Sue Nyhus, Dan Horner, Cameron Crawford
By Megan Terry, Programs Administrator
The Utah Golf Association and the Arizona Golf Association began the UT/AZ Shootout, a Ryder Cup-style event, in 1991 to showcase the top amateur golfers in both states and build camaraderie amongst the associations and the players. now has team Utah with a two-up advantage with 12 wins versus Arizona’s 10 and one draw that occurred in 2012. The Shootout has become one of the most popular amongst UGA players.
The UGA selected twelve players to represent Utah, eight players from the PPR rankings, two players from the WPPR, and two players on the SPPR as of the UGA Tournament of Champions. Cameron Crawford, David Jennings, Ryan Brimley, Denny Job, Darrin Overson, Dan Horner, Kurt Owen and Reed Nielsen represented Utah as the top eight PPR ranked players. Pat Murphy and Randy Hicken earned their spots on the team as the top-two ranked senior players, and 2017 Utah Women’s State Amateur Champion Kelsey Chugg and 2017 Utah Women’s Senior Champion Sue Nyhus represented Utah women’s golf.
Because of November-like temperatures and sporadic, heavy snowfall at Tuhaye Golf Course at Talisker Club in Kamas, Utah, the event was reformatted under the Rules of Golf from a three-day, 54-hole event into a two-day, 36-hole. Rather than play one round of four-ball matches and one round of individual matches the first day, both formats were combined and simultaneously played in 18 holes.
Three points were available in each of the 12 matches during the individual matches. Of the 36 points, Utah earned 24 of them. Kelsey Chugg, Sue Nyhus, Randy Hicken, Darrin Overson, Ryan Brimley and Kurt Owen each earned all three points against their AGA opponents.
In the four-ball matches, Kelsey Chugg/Sue Nyhus earned 2.5 out of 3 points versus Arizona’s Sarah Staggs and Kim Cifuentes. Pat Murphy/Randy Hicken split their match at 1.5 against Marc Apps/Tom Sweigart. Team Cameron Crawford and David Jennings earned all three points over the AGA’s Cameron Howell/Aaron Weimiller, and Ryan Brimley/Denny Job added 2.5 points versus Rob McIver and Matt Dorchinecz to the UGA’s total. Darrin Overson/Dan Horner reeled in 2.5 points against Abe Candelaria III/Blaine Staggs, and in the final match of the day, Kurt Owen/Reed Nielsen earned all three points in their match with Adam Walicki and Travis Milleman.
The second day of play at Tuhaye consisted of the alternate shot matches. Arizona’s Sarah Staggs and Kim Cifuentes halved their match against Kelsey Chugg and Sue Nyhus. AGA’s Marc Apps and Tom Sweigart earned 2.5 out of 3 points against Utah’s Pat Murphy and Randy Hicken, and Camerson Howell and Matt Dorchinecz of Arizona earned all 3 points against Utah teammates Cameron Crawford and Kurt Owen. After three matches, AGA lead Utah 7-2 in foursome matches. AGA Team Rob McIver/Blaine Staggs reeled in 2 points versus Ryan Brimley and Dan Horner, and Darrin Overson/Denny Job pulled in 3 points against Aaron Wiemiller/Travis Milleman. In the final match between Utah’s Dave Jennings/Reed Nielsen and Arizona’s Adam Walicki/Abe Candelaria III, Walicki and Candelaria earned 2.5 points to help the AGA finish the event strong.
For the eighth year in a row, Utah defeated Arizona to increase the series lead to 16-10-1. Thank you to Tuhaye for hosting the 27th Annual UT/AZ Shootout, and thank you to the Arizona Golf Association and AGA players for your support and camaraderie.