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Copper Rock Championship’s day one of mixed results

By Kurt Kragthorpe, Fairways Media

Counting only her conventional, right-handed shots, Kendra Dalton toured Copper Rock Golf Club in even par Thursday. The one stroke that she played left-handed partly spoiled her day.

The former BYU golfer double-bogeyed No. 18, settling for a 1-over-par 73 in the opening round of the Symetra Tours Copper Rock Championship in Hurricane.

 

Dixie State University graduate Haley Sturgeon, playing via a sponsor exemption, struggled with the wind on the back nine and posted a 79. Fridays 36-hole cut likely will come at 3 over.

 

Bailey Tardy and Natalie Sheary are the co-leaders at 66, and 17-year-old Rose Zhang, the worlds No. 1-ranked women’s amateur golfer, is part of the group at 68.

 

Dalton is in good position to make a fourth straight cut to start the season, even with the disappointing ending that she labeled a bit of a bummer.

 

If you play the game long enough, sometimes stuff like that happens,Dalton added.

 

In the tournament setup, Copper Rocks traditional No. 12 plays as No. 1 and No. 11 is No. 18, creating a start and finish near the clubhouse.

 

Dalton birdied the par-5 No. 12 and the par-4 No. 13 with excellent wedge shots, and remained 1 under until she came to the par-4 No. 18. Her short, popped-up drive ended up in the native area left of the cart path. With a bush in front of her, Dalton punched a sideways, left-handed shot into the fairway, leaving her with over 200 yards for her third shot. She then missed the green to the left, chipped on and two-putted for a double bogey.

 

You have to try to put all your energy into the good things you did and not make a bigger deal of it than it is,Dalton said. I played really solid golf all day, so Ill just try to remember that.

Sturgeon was 3 over through 11 holes and barely missed birdie chances on Nos. 12 and 13. She continued to strike the ball well, but played the last five holes in 4 over as the afternoon wind caused her trouble.

 

Those last three holes especially, I felt like I hit the ball perfect and then it hits the middle of the green and kicks right off,said Sturgeon, who works as an assistant pro at The Country Club of Salt Lake City.

 

Sturgeon tees off in Friday’s second round at 8:25 a.m. and Dalton plays at 12:27 p.m.

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Familiar Names to Compete at Copper Rock Championship

Former Women’s State Am champ, Dalton and Utah PGA Pro, Sturgeon give local ties to Utah’s first Symetra Tour’s championship.

By Kurt Kragthorpe

When she joined the BYU women’s golf program as a non-scholarship player from North Carolina, Kendra Dalton was not a likely LPGA Tour prospect.

Here she is, though, closer to reaching that level than any former Cougar since Carrie Summerhays Roberts, now BYU’s coach, who qualified for the LPGA Tour nearly 20 years ago. Dalton is an established player on the Symetra Tour, which is staging the inaugural Copper Rock Championship this week.

The event is a homecoming for Dalton and Haley Sturgeon, a Dixie State University graduate who received a sponsor exemption to compete for the $200,000 purse Thursday through Saturday at Copper Rock Golf Club in Hurricane.

As the fourth of 20 tournaments in 2021, the Copper Rock Championship is another opportunity for Dalton to move up the money list. She’s 3 for 3 in making 36-hole cuts and, while her final rounds could be better, she likes the way she’s playing.

Dalton won consecutive tournaments on the Cactus Tour in Arizona in February, when some members of both the LPGA and Symetra Tours were preparing for their seasons. Those performances reflected the work she has done with Milo Lines, a former Utah Section PGA member who’s now teaching at Superstition Mountain GC in Arizona.

“My game’s really good and I’m excited to play the whole year and I feel good about moving on and getting (LPGA) status,” Dalton said.

That would require finishing in the top 10 on the Symetra Tour money list; Dalton is No. 27 through three events.

Read the full Fairways Media Photo Journal story here: https://tinyurl.com/zkxtfb6d

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Former BYU Cougars and Utah Utes headed to Mackenzie Tour-PGA Tour Canada season

Kuest, Schow have conditional status to start the new season

 

By Kurt Kragthorpe

 

Finishing their rounds at about the same time on two different greens, Peter Kuest and Mitchell Schow each birdied his last hole of a four-day qualifying tournament for the Mackenzie Tour-PGA Tour Canada. The conclusions were both satisfying and disappointing to them.

 

Those birdies meant that Kuest, a former BYU All-American, and Schow, the reigning State Amateur champion and a current University of Utah golfer, finished one stroke out of a playoff for the final 2021 exemption in the event staged March 23-26 in San Jacinto, California. Moving up the leaderboard to a tie for eighth place. though, also gave Kuest and Schow hope of finding room in some tournament fields once the tour schedule begins.

 

In another twist, the tour may move to sites in the United States for 2021, avoiding issues with quarantining in Canada due to COVID-19.

 

Read the complete story by Fairways Media Photo Journal here: https://tinyurl.com/hfvp8eze

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Jake Vincent Wins St. George Amateur Surviving a Duel with SUU Teammate Tyler Jones

 

By Jesse Dodson

Sam Snead one said, “Forget your opponents; always play against par.” 

 

That philosophy was challenged January 16th during the final round of the St. George Amateur at St. George Golf Club, the first event of the 2021 Southern Swing. 

 

Southern Utah University teammates Jake Vincent and Tyler Jones endured a four-hole playoff duel to determine the champion and a Utah State Amateur exemption, both finishing regulation at nine-under par 137.

 

Jones, the first-round leader, held a three-stroke advantage over Vincent heading into the final round but a back-nine 32 from Vincent (on St. George Golf Club’s front nine), including birdies on the last three holes, sent the first Utah Golf Association PPR event of 2021 into extra holes.

 

Read the complete story from Fairways Media Photo Journal here: https://tinyurl.com/y4dlcth4

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Step by Step Creating a Golfer Digital Profile

To create a Digital Profile on GHIN.com or the GHIN Mobile App, first click the CREATE PROFILE button displayed on the login page:

You will then be asked to provide two of three pieces of information to verify your GHIN account:

The information that can be used to verify your account are Email Address, GHIN Number, and Last Name:

Enter two of the three pieces of information required and click VERIFY:

 

You will see a confirmation page that informs you that an email has been sent to the email address of your GHIN account:

 

Click the link in the email to create your profile and set a password:

The link will open a page to create your profile.  It will display your name, email address, and have fields to set your password.  (NOTE: Passwords must be at least 6 characters) 

Fill out the Password and Confirm Password fields, select the “I have read and agree to the Privacy Policy and Terms of Service,” and click FINISH:

 

Once completed, you will see a pop up notifying you that you have successfully created your profile:

You can now log in to GHIN.com and the GHIN Mobile App using your email and set password.

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Score Posting Season for Northern Utah is Inactive until March 15

The score posting season is inactive in
Northern Utah starting November 15th until March 15th, 2021.

 

If we can still play, why do we stop posting in the winter?

Course and slope rating represent the difficulty of a course played under normal or mid-season playing conditions. The unpredictability of off-season conditions – a lack of foliage, lessened green speeds, reduced bounce and roll – can greatly affect a course’s difficulty. The course conditions during winter months are inconsistent with the way a course was rated; posting these scores could affect a player’s index.

A handicap index is defined as “potential scoring ability on a course of standard playing difficulty.” Consider a player on a course that, during the winter, was extraordinarily easy because the tees were moved up and there was no rough. Such a course would no longer reflect conditions under which it was rated, so accepting even a few scores could change a player’s index. The converse holds true for those facing quite difficult conditions, such as wet fairways or strong winter winds.

That’s why many associations in areas where winter can be harsh set an inactive season, which often lasts from November to the middle of March. To provide consistency in posting of scores across a state or region, all clubs within the association’s jurisdiction, whether member clubs of the association or not, must follow the inactive season.

Can I post rounds I’ve played anywhere else?

If you travel to St. George area, you may continue posting scores through the winter. If you travel out of the state to play, please check with a golf course staff member to see if you can post scores from rounds played at their course.

More resources and information can be found online at UGA.org, or by calling the UGA Office at 801-563-0400.

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Message from UGA President Stew Walz & Review of 2020

Message from UGA President Stew Walz

 

UGA Review of 2020

 

 

 

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Hayden Christensen // Men’s Player of the Year

 

By Kurt Kragthorpe

 

Hayden Christensen was disappointed as he stood alongside Jeremy Ranch Golf & Country Club’s No. 3 green in the September twilight, having lost to Mitchell Schow on the 21st hole of a semifinal match in the State Amateur. The consolation? Christensen had done just enough to earn the Utah Golf Association’s 2020 Men’s Player of the Year award and validate the sponsorship of his second shot as a professional golfer.

 

Christensen finished with 372.5 points to edge Schow (362.7), the State Am champion, as they played together in the Utah Four-Ball Championship (losing in the first round). Christensen’s run to the State Am semifinals kept him ahead in the standings, following his surge to low amateur honors in the Siegfried & Jensen Utah Open with a final-round 65. His father-in-law, Paul Battista, had challenged him to perform well in those big events “and then we’ll talk” about funding his pro pursuits, Christensen recounted.

 

So he’s traveling and competing in various events this fall, backed by the Virginia-based Brothers Concrete & Paving. That’s the latest element of Christensen’s golf story that has a lot of layers. The short version is that after coming from Vancouver, Washington, to Dixie State University for a college golf career that ended in 2015, he tried for 2½ years to play professionally. That proved difficult, as is often the case, so Christensen went to work as a job-site supervisor for a custom homes builder in St. George and eventually returned to amateur status in January 2019.

Christensen won the Southern Utah Open last November, launching him into a Player of the Year season. He played well on the UGA’s Dixie Swing in January, winning the St. George Men’s Amateur and finishing second in a playoff in the Coral Canyon Amateur. Christensen lost his job in the COVID-19 fallout, but his game kept improving to where he could think about turning pro again.

 

Christensen spent two months in northern Utah in the summer, making changes through equipment, coaching and training. All of that work paid off in the Utah Open at Riverside Country Club, where he played the first seven holes of the final round in 7 under par. And then he tied for medalist honors in the State Am before winning three matches and taking Schow into extra holes in the semifinals.

 

We’ll see where pro golf takes Christensen this time. He already has come a long way.

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Kirk Siddens // Senior Men’s Player of the Year

 

By Kurt Kragthorpe

The biggest flaw of Kirk Siddens’ golf game is he’s so consistently good that he often walks away disappointed.

 

No golfer wins everything. And the way Siddens gives himself a shot to win seemingly every event in Utah senior golf inevitably makes him dwell on the ones that got away. In 2020, though, the combination of some impressive wins and strong finishes made Siddens the convincing winner of the Utah Golf Association’s Senior Men’s Player of the Year award.

 

Siddens, who turned 58 on Oct. 19, compiled 375 points to Randy Hicken’s 258.3, earning his second title in a row and fourth award in his eight years of eligibility.

He just has high standards of performance, and repeatedly coming close can be draining. Then again, that’s what Siddens gets for always contending. David Jennings’ closing 60 tied Siddens’ course-record round of the previous day at Davis Park and topped him in the Utah Mid-Amateur Championship (although Siddens was the low senior, by far). Thanks to a slightly errant drive, Siddens lost a one-stroke lead on the final hole of the Utah Senior Stroke Play. Kurt Jamison’s 18th-hole birdie edged Siddens and Guy Child in the Utah Four-Ball Championship.

Siddens also made a good showing in the State Amateur as the only senior golfer to qualify for match play. He defeated University of Utah golfer Tristan Mandur 1 up in the first round before losing 2 and 1 to Hayden Christensen in the round of 16.

Some of those recent shortcomings will stick with him, but the truth is that Siddens keeps improving in his late 50s. He played very well as usual in the Dixie Swing to begin 2020 and beat the Utah Section PGA’s senior pros in the Wayne Volk Utah Senior Open, shooting 66-69 at Toana Vista in Wendover. His handicap index improved by nearly four strokes to +4.7 during a year when he reassessed his mental approach and also improved his putting, via a commitment to practicing at Davis Park near his home.

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Tess Blair // Women’s Player of the Year

By Kurt Kragthorpe

 

Tess Blair will always wish she would have won a Utah Golf Association championship in 2020, after repeatedly coming close.

 

As she said, “I’d be lying to say it wasn’t frustrating.”

 

Even so, those near-misses in the Women’s State Amateur, the Women’s Stroke Play Championship and the Siegfried & Jensen Utah Women’s Open added up to a UGA Women’s Player of the Year award. She posted 127.5 points to 120 for State Am winner Grace Summerhays.

 

And although the UGA’s 2020 schedule was significantly reduced, especially in women’s golf, Blair is appreciative that the organization managed to conduct as many events as it did. That point is being driven home to Blair this fall, as she continues her college career at Sacramento State in an altered situation due to COVID-19. Her classes are strictly on-line and the Big Sky Conference schools are not competing, but coach David Sutherland wanted his players to be on campus, for the sake of team building.

Blair has thrived in Sacramento, earning Big Sky Player of the Year honors as a freshman in 2019-20, before the NCAA golf season ended in March. The Bingham High School graduate chose an out-of-state school to “try to push myself and learn how to be independent,” she said.

 

Blair wanted to elevate her game in college and she has succeeded, as shown by her performances at home in Utah in the summer of 2020, with limited opportunities. She shot 67-69 at Soldier Hollow’s Gold Course to earn medalist honors by four strokes in the Women’s State Amateur, then won two matches before losing in the semifinals to four-time champion Kelsey Chugg, 1 up.

The Utah Women’s Open proved critical to Blair’s Player of the Year effort. Summerhays received points for playing in the U.S. Women’s Amateur that week, although she missed an opportunity to make match play and add to that total. Blair shot 71-72 to tie for second place among the amateurs (and third overall).

 

The following week, Blair came even closer to winning the Utah Women’s Stroke Play Championship. She posted 69-68 at Bountiful Ridge Golf Course. Her 18th-hole birdie forced a playoff with BYU golfer Allysha Mae Mateo, whose 30-foot birdie putt on the third extra hole was good for the victory. The second-place finish gave Blair some important points, though. And the 2018 Women’s State Am champion just keeps improving, while adding to her family’s Utah golf achievements. Blair’s sister, Sirene, was the UGA Women’s Player of the Year in 2012 and ‘14.