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It’s Arrived! Utah State Amateur Championship Begins Monday

After a series of 11 qualifying events during the past month the 116th running of the Utah State Amateur gets underway Monday at Ogden Golf and Country Club and nearby Valley View golf course. More than 800 entrants began the quest for the coveted title and that number has been whittled to 288 for this final week of the tournament.
The week begins with a grueling, gut-wrenching 36-hole playoff to determine the 64 players who will advance into match play. Defending champion Cole Ogden is the only comfortable player in the field for the first two days. By virtue of winning the championship last year he is exempt from qualifying and is automatically the number one seed when match play begins on Wednesday. He will play whoever gets into match play by the hair of his chinny-chin-chin and claims the 64th seed.
 Ogden is seeking to become the first back-to-back champion since Daniel Summerhays turned the feat in 2000 and 2001. This is the longest gap between back-to-back winners in the history of the tournament.
Half the field plays Ogden Country Club on the first day while the other half plays Valley View. The players swap courses for Tuesday’s last stroke play round. All the match play portion of the tournament is at Ogden Golf and Country Club, beginning with the Round of 64 on Wednesday and concluding Saturday with the 36-hole championship match.
The annual Breakfast of Champions is scheduled for Thursday morning prior to the Round of 32. The Round of 16 will be played Thursday afternoon. The quarterfinals and semifinals will be played on Friday.
The Ogden Golf and Country Club is in immaculate shape and is celebrating its 100th birthday this year. It has hosted the Utah State Amateur on eight different occasions beginning with George Von Elm winning in 1920 and followed by Charles Foley in 1929, Joe Bernolfo in 1957, Babe Hiskey in 1962, Jack Chapman in 1969, Mitch Hyer in 1978, and Jerimie Montgomerey in 1994.
There are a total of nine former champions seeking their second title. They were exempt from the initial qualifying sessions, but now, except for Ogden, they must earn spots in the match play bracketing. The other champions are Todd Barker, Steve Borget, Dan Horner, Michael McRae, Nick Nelson, Darrin Overson, Jason Wight, and Jon Wright.
There are three former runner-ups still seeking the ultimate prize. They are Carl Jensen, Kirk Siddens, and John Tagge.
With 288 players still in the tournament it has not known how many sets of brothers have advanced this far, but there are six Smiths, four Davises, three Halls, Nelsons, Timmonses, Petersons, and Stangers, and two Wrights, Wilsons, Williamses, Youngs, Howes, Hargetts, Edgehouses, Hands, Hardys, Johnsons, Joneses, Lillywhites, Loosles, Markhams, Booths, McRaes, Jorgensens, Thomases, Stuarts, Rasmussens, Andersons, and Carters.
Of those names we know that the Hargetts (Brandon and Jason) and McRaes (Michael and Robert) are brothers, and that Mike and Ben Jorgensen are father and son.
A historical first for the tournament developed involving host site Ogden Golf and Country’s Director of Golf, Craig Sarlo, and head professional, Bob Wallis. Sarlo’s son Ryan and Wallis’ twin brother, Ned, each qualified for the tournament. It’s probably a safe claim that it is the first time in the history of the tournament that close relatives of the two key professionals at the host site qualified for the event. They not only qualified, but they were each medalists at their qualifying site, Ryan at Logan and Ned at Entrada.
There are numerous other professionals with sons in the field including Dan Forsman’s son Tommy, Mike Reid’s son Daniel, Ryan Rhees’ son Benson, former State Am champion Steve Schneiter’s son Jonathon, Mike Booth’s son and brother, Nic and David.
Jacob Byers, son of Wolf Creek’s general manager Evan Byers, also qualified.
Who will win this grueling test?