Check out what has been happening in Utah Golf.
At Halfway Point in State Am the Gold Course Is Champion
At the halfway point of the stroke play portion of the Utah State Amateur it looks like it is going to take even par or better to finish in the top 32 to advance to the match play portion of the oldest continuously held tournament in the world.
Mike Branca and John Busby posted six under par 66s to lead all players at the halfway point, and Nic Booth shot a 67, but there is an asterisk by their scores. They played the Silver Course and still must face the Gold and wary is the word for the Gold Course which produced 23 of the highest 24 scores on opening day.
Conversely, of the 33 players who finished under par 26 of them played the Silver Course and only seven of them played the Gold Course.
In other words the standings at the halfway point are significantly skewed based on the course played. Those who played the Silver Course on Wednesday can’t rest assured as they face the more troubling Gold Course on Thursday, and those who played the Gold Course the first day can look forward with optimism for improving themselves on the Silver Course.
Based on apparent difficulty the 68 posted by Jeff Evans may have been a better score than the 66s by Branca and Busby and the 67 by Booth. Medalist honors are certainly up for grabs.
The under par scores on the Silver were as follows:
66- Mike Branca, John Busby
67- Nic Booth
68- Kyle Chappell, Casey Halliday, Stu Gold.
69- Brad Hendrix, Scott Clark, Andrew Cottle, Bill Probst
70- Jed Rammell, Cory Belnap, Kirk Siddens, Patrick Fishburn,
71- Tanner Howard, Mike Behle, Conner Jones, Dan Feldman, Jonathon Thomas, Alex Sutton, Davis Garner, Michael May, Jonathan Oettli, Adam Oettli, John Owen, Brady Stanger
The under par scores on the Gold were as follows:
68- Jeff Evans
70- Jacob Holt, Travis Norseth
71- C.J. Haws, Brendan Dennis, Brennan Coburn, Stratton Schulz
Branca’s remarkable 66 included a double bogey on the tenth hole and a bogey on the 18th hole, and nine birdies.Busby’s 66 included on eagle on the tenth hole (a four shot swing with Branca) and like Branca, a bogey on the 18th. He had six birdies.
Nic Booth’s 67 started with a missed two-footer for bogey and from there on he was bogey-free, making six birdies, three on each side.
Branca, Evans, and Booth are sons of golf professionals Ron Branca at The Country Club, Mike Booth at Glenmoor, and John Evans at Cedar Ridge.
Among the leaders are four former State Am runnerups Stu Gold, Scott Clark, Kirk Siddens and Alex Sutton and UGA President Bill Probst who knows Soldier Hollow as well as anyone.
Former champions Tommy Sharp and Dan Horner are still in the thick of it, and Todd Barker and Darrin Overson still have a shot at it.
The youngest player in the field, 13-year-old Rhett Rasmussen, shot even par on the Silver and will need to do that on the Gold to advance to match play.
The complete scores are posted by going to UGA Championships, 113th Utah State Am, and results, located on the far right of the screen.
Match play begins on Friday morning at 9 a.m. after the Champions Breakfast.