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Playoff Drama Spices State Am

By Jay Drew
The Salt Lake Tribune
Published: July 7, 2011 10:36PMUpdated: July 8, 2011 12:11AM
Midway • The best and most dramatic part of the annual Utah State Amateur golf tournament always takes place at the end of the second round of stroke-play qualifying, as golfers on the cut line head back out to the course to engage in a playoff for the last few match-play berths.
Thursday’s playoff was certainly no exception, and might just go down as one of the most absurd in the 113-year history of this event.
With darkness enveloping Soldier Hollow Golf Club’s Silver Course, a light rain falling and pesky mosquitoes testing nerves and sapping concentration, Travis Miner, Nic Booth and Stratton Shulz survived a 16-man playoff with birdies on the second hole to earn the final three spots for match play.
“This is crazy, but I love it,” said Miner, a confident, 26-year-old employee at nearby Jeremy Ranch who was the second alternate just to get into the tournament. “No one wants to see me in match play.”
Had Ryan Smith made a 8-foot birdie try at 9:05 p.m., he would have joined the three aforementioned match-play qualifiers on another playoff hole, but alas it was not to be, and everyone surrounding the green, with the exception of Smith, breathed a sigh of relief.
Former Brighton High golfer Casey Halliday, who is transferring from Weber State to Utah, and first-round co-leader John Busby, of St. George, tied for medalist honors at 6-under 138 after Halliday posted a 70 on the Gold Course Thursday and Busby a 72.
The 20-year-old Halliday did not return to the course for the playoff so Busby was declared the medalist and the top seed heading into match play.
In the playoff, Troy Creer, Michael May and Devon Purser joined Shulz, Miner, Booth and Smith in making birdies on the first hole to move forward. Clay Bingham, Steve Poulson, Cameron Young, Guy Child, Jeff Kitches, John Owen, Daniel Feldman, Brennan Coburn and Rhett Rasmussen were eliminated.
Rasmussen, the 13-year-old from Draper, looked like he would make match play easily, but bogeyed three of his final four holes.
Matches begin today at 9 a.m. Notable matchups include Richfield’s Mike Jorgensen vs. ex-pro Brady Stanger, former champion Tommy Sharp vs. BYU golfer Cameron Edens and junior ace Patrick Fishburn vs. Garrett Fotu.
Former Richfield High and Dixie State golfer Kyle Chappell, 23, earned the No. 3 seed for match play with a 139, while Skyline High senior Travis Norseth, 17, and first-round co-leader Mike Branca tied for fourth at 140.

Thursday’s highlights
R John Busby and Casey Halliday finished the stroke-play portion of the tournament at 6-under-par 138, but Halliday did not return to the course for the playoff.
• Sixteen golfers shot 1-over-par 145 and engaged in a playoff for the final three match-play berths.
• Draper’s Rhett Rasmussen, 13, was eliminated on the first playoff hole despite making a par.

© 2011 The Salt Lake Tribune

Utah State Amateur • Playoff drama spices golf tourney

By Jay Drew
The Salt Lake Tribune