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Wendover Proves Lucky for Hottest Senior
By Beaux Yenchik, UGA Intern
Fruit Heights, UT – Wendover was not only home to some unexpected spectators – antelope – but to perhaps the hottest senior of 2018.
Having already won twice this calendar year, Ron Davis – the Doug Vilven Utah Senior Open Champion – captured perhaps the biggest-personal victory of the year Thursday by sinking a birdie putt on the first-playoff hole. With a 3-under-par 69 on day two, Davis (-4) came from behind to force a playoff with Darren Kuhn and overnight co-leader Steve Poulson. In perhaps one of the strongest fields outside of the Senior State Amateur, Davis showed he is the man to beat.
When describing his mental preparation to compete in the playoff, Davis said: “I don’t [prepare]. I just go play. I just try to have fun. I don’t really do anything different [or] try to think anything different.”
Though posting a 1 under par on day one, Davis’ round was a bit of a rollercoaster. After bogeying his opening hole, he traded two birdies with two bogeys to round out his front nine at 1 over par. Knowing he was only halfway through his opening round, Davis bounced back quickly at the turn by birdieing the par-5 10th and the par-4 11th.
With only one bogey on the back nine, the 2016 Utah Senior Open winner fought back to post a 71 – leaving him just two strokes behind the leaders. With warmer temperatures rising – closing in on triple digits – Davis’s putter was everything but hot. Having missed scoring opportunities or par-saving chances left and right, Davis knew he’d better light a match underneath his putter if he wanted any chance at winning.
“I missed four short putts, [all] two footers,” Davis said. “I came last night and worked on my putting here with [Randy Hicken] till dark and it helped today.”
His extra practice on the putting green certainly did help on day two as he was able to circle five birdies on the scorecard. Though his back-to-back bogeys on holes 14 and 15 dropped him into a share for the lead, Davis kept his good round on the tracks by finishing with three straight pars and winning on the first-playoff hole.
“It was fun,” Davis said. “I didn’t miss a short one today.”
Being No. 1 in the Senior Player Performance Rankings, Davis separated himself even more from those trailing him by taking his 18-point lead and increasing it to 38. With a total of 278 points, Davis leads the likes of Kirk Siddens (No. 2 at 240.5), Brigham Gibbs (No.3 at 226) and Hicken (No. 4 at 208.5). With only 12 Senior PPR events left for the season, gaining ground on leader may be difficult.
1. Ron Davis 71-69 = 140 (-4)*
T2. Steve Poulson 69-71 = 140 (-4)
T2. Darren Kuhn 70-70 = 140 (-4)
T4. Randy Hicken 72-70 = 142 (-2)
T4. Guy Child 74-68 = 142 (-2)
1. David Fischer 72-71 = 143 (-1)
2. Michael Hacker 73-72 = 145 (+1)
T3. Jesse Needles 72-74 = 146 (+2)
T3. Tom Jones 73-73 = 146 (+2)
5. Allen Simkins 79-69 = 148 (+4)
*Winner of playoff
For complete results, CLICK HERE.