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Wilson U.S. Junior Amateur Bound after Playoff Birdie

Wilson U.S. Junior Amateur Bound after Playoff Birdie

By Randy Dodson

Sinking a birdie putt to win a playoff is thrilling enough, making it to punch your ticket to a United States Golf Association national championship, is a memory that will last a lifetime.

Dixie State University commit, Grant Wilson, won Utah’s U.S. Junior Amateur local qualifying tournament at Fox Hollow golf course Monday, making a 5-foot birdie on the first playoff hole to send the incoming Trailblazer to the 2018 USGA national championship at Baltusrol Golf Club in Springfield, New Jersey, July 16-21.

It was Wilson’s first playoff experience and he handled it like a champ, hitting driver off the first tee to the middle of the fairway leaving him a 115-yard lob wedge, which he stuck to five-feet above the hole.

If it wasn’t for a mis-club decision by his playoff opponent Jack Wright, a Park City High School golf team member who plays out of Park Meadows Country Club, Wilson may have found himself as the first alternate. Wright was putting together a pretty nice round with a 4-under 32 on the front side and then another birdie on the par 5 10th hole. After a blocked tee shot on the 13th led to a bogey and his “first square on the card for the day;” he hooked 4-iron on the 16th hole, which found the cart path and went out of bounds, resulting in a double bogey 7 which left him bound for the sudden death playoff with Wilson for the one qualifying spot.

“If I could have one shot back, that’s the one,” explained Wright. “I should have laid up, for sure.”

Wilson and Wright shot rounds of 2-under 70 to end the 18-hole qualifier tied for first.

The Park City senior found more trouble off the tee on the playoff hole, with his ball going through the fairway, which led to a two-putt bogey. In the end, Wilson’s birdie sealed the deal anyway.

“This is the first time I’ve won a playoff and my first time qualifying for a USGA event,” said Wilson. “I’ve played in a few U.S. Open qualifiers but it’s the first time I’ve done anything like this.”

Wilson graduated from Woods Cross High School this month and will be playing for Coach Brad Sutterfield at Dixie State University in the fall.

“Today was probably one of the best ball striking rounds I’ve had. I had three birdies and a bogey. On hole 12, the par 3, I drained about a forty-footer and from that point on I knew I would have a good day,” Wilson said.

With the playoff win Wilson grabs the qualifying spot, Wright is the first alternate while Davis Heslington was awarded the second alternate spot after his playoff win over Hunter Howe. Heslington and Howe finished at 1-under 71 for the tournament.   

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