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Utah-Arizona Shootout Begins Third Decade at Victory Ranch ‘All Square’
The Utah-Arizona Shootout matches to be played Monday and Tuesday at Victory Ranch mark the beginning of the third decade of the Utah-Arizona Shootout and it’s little bit like starting all over again. After 20 years the matches stand
The tournament festivities begin on Sunday with practice rounds and a tournament dinner. The tournament proper begins Monday morning with the Four-Ball segment, followed in the afternoon with a Foursomes format. The tournament wraps on Tuesday morning with the Individual matches.
Having Victory Ranch as the site for this year’s Shootout is a continuation of the tradition of holding it on the best courses in each state. Utah courses hosting the event in the past have been Glenwild, Thanksgiving Point, Soldier Hollow, Wolf Creek Resort, and Hidden Valley, Alpine, Willow Creek, and Oakridge country clubs. Arizona sites have included Desert Forest, Troon, the Raven, WeKoPa, and Pinnacle Peak Country Club.
Utah’s team will consist of eight at large players: Steve Poulson, Kirk Siddens, Scott Clark, Christian Jensen, Tommy Sharp, Jared Overton, Greg Wojtkun, and Mike Branca; two seniors Bill Probst and Allen Simkins; and two women, Julie McMullin and Annette Giaotti. Overton, Wojtkun, Branca, and McMullin are the only rookies on this year’s team.
Current collegiate players are not eligible to participate which explains Zac Blair not being on the Utah roster.
Arizona’s team consists of at large veterans Camron Howell, Patrick Geare, Michael Wog, and at large rookies Grant Cesark, Tim Beth, Trey Martin, Takuya Fuji, and Adam Walicki; veteran senior Steven Welker and rookie senior David Rasley. Arizona’s women will be former Utahn Echo Thatcher who has played for both states in the match, and rookie Lauren Todd.
When the series started the home team won the first nine matches, but in an unexplained reversal the visiting team has won the last six matches. Utah hasn’t won at home in its last four tries, losing at Alpine, Thanksgiving Point, Soldier Hollow, and Glenwild.
So will the Victory Ranch site give any advantage to the Utahns? Probably not. In fact, very few Utah players have seen Victory Ranch and most of them will need a GPS to get there.
Steve Poulson will be making his tenth appearance in the Shootout, which is more than any other player on either side. He qualified for the team in both the At Large and Senior categories and will be playing in the At Large division. In the nine years he has been on the team he has won more points than he has lost all but once.
The senior side of the Utah team has Shootout experience. This will be the third appearance for Al Simkins and the second appearance for Bill Probst. Others on this year’s team who have played in previous Shootouts include Scott Clark, his third Shootout; and Christian Jensen and Tommy Sharp, their second time.
Rookies on the Utah team are Mike Branca, Jared Overton, Greg Wotjkun, and Julie McMullin.