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Bonneville GC Welcomes Women’s State Amateur Back 26 Years Later
By Beaux Yenchik, UGA Intern
Millcreek, UT – It was 26 years ago that the last victor hoisted the Utah Women’s State Amateur trophy at this historic venue in Salt Lake City, and now in 2018, the tournament has returned.
Bonneville Golf Course, nestled into the base of Emigration Canyon, will welcome the state’s best female golfers to the 112th playing of the Utah Golf Association’s female-flagship event. Players – with the likes of four-time winner Kelsey Chugg, 2011-champion, Julie McMullin, and future BYU standout Kerstin Fotu – will tackle the 6,000-yard course July 30 – Aug. 2. This will be the fifth time Bonneville will play host to the Women’s State Amateur with the first time taking place in 1946.
“It is always a nerve-wracking week because it is something that you work for and look forward too,” Carly Dehlin said. “It is one of those weeks [you try to] not let it build up too much.”
In preparation for the event, eight ladies, along with media members and the UGA staff, took to the course for the 2018 Goddard Cup – an event, which was newly formatted this year to have the eight female golfers face off against each other in Ryder Cup fashion. Split into teams of four, the ladies put together an impressive showing of golf: Team Blue (Dehlin, Roberta Scott, Xena Motes and Fotu) defeated Team Yellow (Karen Valcarce, Carissa Graft, Marie Bambo and Chugg) 14-4.
Though the event was all in good fun, the two foursomes were given the opportunity for an extra-practice round of sorts just a few weeks prior to the start of the tournament. Being situated on the bench of the mountains, players took mental notes as they worked their way around the hilly course – learning that nearly everything brakes toward the valley on the heavily-sloped greens. A possible bit of information that could be crucial going forward.
Valcarce, following Thursday’s event, said: “Putting here is super important. These greens are very tough. You have to choose your line and commit to it.”
Imamura, a two-time champion and the last lady to win the State Amateur at Bonneville GC, said the state of women’s golf in Utah now is amazing. She described how strength and conditioning is very evident in today’s younger players – something she said could come into play at this year’s tournament – as they hit the ball a lot further than when she played.
As the field is nearly set, things are starting to shape out. With several of the top women’s players in the state turning professional – Sadie Palmer, Kendra Dalton, Haley Dunn, Lea Garner, Alex White and Sirene Blair – it will be interesting to see which female golfer will step up and lead the next generation with a victory.
As the Utah Women’s State Amateur gets closer, more details about starting times, pairings, etc. will be released.