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Utah Four-Ball champions: Coburn-McVay, Lyons-McMillan, Cannon-Lloyd
Tate McVay nearly became famous in Utah golf in June when he led defending champion Zac Jones in the late stages of a first-round match In the State Amateur.
Reminded of that missed opportunity, McVay said, “Would’ve been a good story.”
Well, so is this one: McVay and his replacement partner, Brennan Coburn, completed a two-day, four-match run in the Utah Four-Ball Championship with a 2-up win over Jeff Appelbaum-Justin Shluker on Wednesday at Davis Park Golf Course.
Their win followed Coburn’s victory in Sunday’s Davis Park Amateur. They topped a strong field of 16 teams in the At-Large Division. Except for the presence of high school stars Parker Bunn and Cole Taylor in the semifinals, the Four-Ball tends to resemble a mid-amateur competition, with college golfers unavailable. McVay and Coburn validated that theory, having become acquainted during a round of U.S. Mid-Amateur qualifying at Wasatch Mountain GC this summer.
As they walked off the 18th green Thursday, McVay reminded his partner, “It all started with a Facebook message a month ago.”
With his original partner having to withdraw, McVay reached out to Coburn. They teamed up, as former college golfers in their mid-20s who now work in sales. McVay, who won a state mid-am title in his native South Dakota last summer, played at West Texas A&M. He was affiliated with Dinaland GC in Vernal as of the State Am, but has since moved to Lehi. Coburn is a Layton High School graduate who played for Utah State and now lives in the Salt Lake Valley.
They emerged as champions during a week marked by upsets, although the depth of the field made those results somewhat less surprising. Top-seeded John Owen-Derek Penman lost in the first round to Steele Dewald- Kenny Palmer. Three-time winners Ryan Brimley-David Jennings fell to Reed Nielsen-Zach Markham and defending champions Andrew Cottle-Peyton Hastings also lost in the round of 16 to Dylan McDaniel-Jackson McDaniel.
The twist is that none of those winners advanced to the semifinals, in which Coburn-McVay topped Bryce Till-Thomas Young 5 and 4 and Appelbaum-Shluker outlasted Bunn-Taylor in 19 holes.
In the final match, McVay was credited with a stroke-play 67, with five birdies that won holes (including the par-4 No. 18 as punctuation). Coburn contributed an eagle on No. 3 to tie the match, and the winners were on their way.
The Four-Ball came at the end of what Shane McMillan labeled “a stressful golf year.” That’s his own fault, having put himself in contention in two Utah Golf Association majors, the Senior Stroke Play (losing in a three-way playoff) and the Senior State Amateur (losing in the final match).
He finished first in the Four-Ball. McMillan received considerable help from Matthew Lyons as they successfully defended the title they won last year at nearby Valley View GC, where Lyons is a former head professional.
Lyons’ 12-foot birdie putt on No. 18 delivered a 1-up victory over Brandon Hargett-Tommy Johnson, after Hargett’s birdie on No. 17 had tied the match.
“Not a lot of pressure on my putt,” Lyons insisted, with McMillan positioned just inside of his ball.
The victory in the eight-team Senior bracket extended McMillan’s already large lead in the UGA Senior Men’s Player of the Year race.
Rick Lloyd is the constant amid change in the UGA’s age groups, and he presumably helped partner Paul Cannon clinch the first Super Senior Player of the Year award. The Super Senior minimum age is now 60, instead of 65, which makes Lloyd’s repeat win all the more impressive. He won last year with Karl Avant.
Cannon-Lloyd went 3 up at the turn vs. Randy Hicken-Mike Jorgensen on the way to a 3-and-2 victory in the final match. They were especially impressive in the semifinals vs. Craig Wilson-Dana Nelson, making an eagle and 10 birdies (with some overlapping) in 15 holes of a 4-and-3 decision.
“They caught us at our best,” Cannon said.
Lloyd’s winning par on No. 9 was a momentum-saver in the final match, after he played a punch-out shot just short of the green on the par-4 hole.
For the complete bracket scoring of the Utah Four Ball Championship, click here: https://www.golfgenius.com/pages/4384722
Utah Four Ball Championship story written by Fairways Media senior writer, Kurt Kragthorpe. Photos by Fairways Media/Garrit Johnson.