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Utah Senior State Amateur: Meet the 50-over quarterfinalists
Jeff Jolley’s road toward another Utah Golf Association senior title in 2023 is bound to become more difficult. As of Tuesday afternoon at Alpine Country Club, he was making it look easy.
Jolley followed Monday’s stroke-play 65 by playing a total of only 29 holes in two matches, advancing to the quarterfinals of the Utah Senior State Amateur Championship. He’s seeing a trophy to complement his Senior Stroke Play award from May.
The quarterfinals and semifinals in the 50-over and 60-over divisions will be staged Wednesday, along with the 70-over semifinals. The 18-hole final matches in all three age groups are scheduled Thursday. A look at the other 50-over quarterfinalists:
Brigham Gibbs – In 2021, Gibbs became the second player to add a Senior State Am title to his Senior Stroke Play trophy (joining Craig Wilson). Jolley can deliver that dual achievement in the same year, but he’ll have to go through Gibbs to do it.
Matthew Lyons – He outlasted John Owen in 20 holes in what tied for Tuesday’s longest match in any division, thanks to a birdie on the par-5 No. 2.
Scott Clark – Once among the biggest names in Utah amateur golf, Clark has reemerged this week. The former University of Utah golfer was the 2007 State Amateur runner-up and the 2011 Salt Lake City Amateur champion.
Shane McMillan – The reigning UGA Senior Men’s Player of the Year and No. 3 seed, McMillan barely made it out of the round of 32. He was 4 down through eight holes vs. Alpine member Clark Jones and won the last two holes to claim a 1-up victory.
Brandon Hargett – After losing in the final match last August at Mountain Dell Golf Course, Hargett has come back strong. In the round of 16, he won the last two holes vs. Brett Christiansen after being tied through the 16th hole. Hargett’s 4-wood shot from 260 yards onto the green on the par-5 No. 17 proved decisive.
Bob Mitchell – After losing No. 18 to Ramsey McCreary’s par, Mitchell regrouped with a winning par on the first extra hole to reach the quarterfinals. Mitchell. who survived a 5-for-3 playoff survivor to get into match play, is the No. 31 seed.
Zack Orton – His story was similar to Mitchell’s, although Orton needed 20 holes to eliminate defending champion Darren Kuhn. Orton’s advancement meant all three 50-over playoff contestants in the Senior Stroke Play made the quarterfinals of the Senior State Am.
With only one round being contested in the 16-player bracket, Tuesday’s biggest developments in the Super Senior (60-over) competition were No. 1 seed Jeff Powars’ barely getting by and defending champion Rick Lloyd’s being eliminated by Rob Schiller, although there’s an asterisk. This age group was adjusted from 65-over, so Lloyd was competing against younger golfers this year.
A birdie on the par-5 No. 17 ultimately made the difference in Powars’ 1-up victory over Paul Cannon.
In the division’s most dramatic match, Michael Hacker was 2 down to Rafe Johnston through 16 holes, then won the next three holes to advance.
In the quarterfinals, Powars will meet Hacker and Schiller will face Dan Parkinson, the only Alpine member remaining in any division. The other matchups are Craig Wilson vs. Mike Holm and Richard Christensen vs. James Renick.
The quarterfinals of the newly created Legends (70-over) division produced two matches that went 19 holes. Chesley Erickson upset Dale Christensen, the Legends runner-up in the Senior Stroke Play, and David Fischer topped Kurt Bernhisel.
Senior Stroke Play division winner Doug Marriott and Stan Nakano will meet in the other semifinal match.
30th Utah Senior State Amateur day two recap written by Fairways Media senior writer Kurt Kragthorpe. Photos courtesy of Fairways Media/Randy Dodson.