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BYU’s Carson Lundell ties for medalist at Ping Cougar Classic

Lundell’s win gives him his third win of the season for the Cougars

By Dick Harmon, Columnist

BYU’s Carson Lundell and University of San Francisco’s Tim Widing fired 13-under par 203s to share individual honors in the 54-hole Ping Cougar Classic at Riverside Country Club in Provo on Saturday.

San Francisco, who will join BYU at the WCC championships next week in Henderson, Nev., shot a blistering team score of 21-under par in Saturday’s final round to win the annual classic by 13 shots over Boise State. Host BYU finished third in the team standings two shots behind Boise State at 26-under.

Utah finished in sixth place at 17-under. Utah Valley finished plus-30 in 18th place.

“We started the day just seven shots off the lead and I was very encouraged and proud of where we stood going int the final round,” said BYU head coach Bruce Brockbank Jr. “Unfortunately, we did not make enough birdies on the back holes 13, 14, 15 and 16 to make a real charge.”

Lundell and Widing made birdies on the final hole, their No. 1 par 4 to get to 13-under. A sudden-death playoff was planned until both San Francisco and BYU decided to award a co-championship trophy to the two low players in respect of San Francisco’s travel plans and courtesy to club members who were waiting to take their turn on the course.

“I’m alright with that and so was San Francisco,” said Brockbank.

University of San Francisco’s Tim Widing fired 13-under par 203 to share individual honors in the 54-hole Ping Cougar Classic at Riverside Country Club in Provo on Saturday, April 24, 2021.

It marked the third medalist honor this season for Lundell who won at Fresno and was in a three-way playoff at the Western Intercollegiate a week ago. “Golfstat counts a tie as an individual title,” said Brockbank, “So, this was a great win for Carson who has really come on late in the season and has carried this team on his back. I’m very proud of him.”

Widing missed very makeable birdie putts on No. 15, 16, 17 and was an inch from putting in an eagle on his final hole, No. 1. He drove the green and had a 30-footer that just hung on the lip for eagle. On that hole, Lundell drove pin high in the fringe cut right of the green and chipped inside three feet for his birdie make.

“This was a great win for Carson (Lundell) who has really come on late in the season and has carried this team on his back. I’m very proud of him.” — BYU head coach Bruce Brockbank Jr.

While Widing’s putting abandoned him in crucial final holes Saturday, Lundell made remarkable scrambles out of the sand on 9, 11, and the right fairway bunker on his tee shot on 15 to keep his hopes alive after falling behind Widing by a stroke on the back nine in the final round.

Lundell hit a tree on No. 14 and his drive ricocheted hard into a fairway bunker near the dogleg par 4 and buried itself in the bunker upslope. “I took out a pitching wedge and hit it as hard as I could to get it out,” he said. His recovery shot ended up font left about 30 yards from the pin where he chipped to within four feet and saved his bar.

On No. 16 his drive hit a tree and bounced to the middle of No/ 12 fairway. He hit a 60-degree wedge over a pine tree to within 30 feet and got up and down for par. His birdie putt on the par-3 17th came up three inches short. “It was right in the jaws,” said Lundell. He makes that and he wins medalist honors outright.

Read Story on Deseret.com HERE

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Bailey Tardy, Hurricane’s winds, rule the final round at Copper Rock

By Kurt Kragthorpe

 

The inaugural Copper Rock Championship came with a soundtrack. As the final threesome approached he 18th green, “Rock You Like a Hurricane” played on the loudspeaker.

 

The title had multiple meanings. Bailey Tardy will always remember Hurricane, Utah, as the site of her first Symetra Tour victory. And the other players who contended less successfully with Saturday’s conditions will remember the hurricane-style gusting winds that framed the competition at Copper Rock Golf Club.

 

“That’s real wind out there,” said former BYU golfer Kendra Dalton. “Now we know why it’s called Hurricane.”

Tardy, a University of Georgia product, was more concerned about controlling her nerves and holding off an early challenge from Maude-Aimee Leblanc, who birdied four of the first five holes. Tardy started Saturday’s final round of the 54-hole championship with a four-stroke lead and never lost it. And a surge in the middle of the round carried her to a three-stroke win over Leblanc and Samatha Wagner, as she posted 66-70-70 for a 10-under-par total.

 

Dalton made two sets of three straight bogeys over her last 11 holes, as the wind affected her putting and chipping even more than on her full-swing shots. Dalton’s 78 dropped her to a tie for 45th place, after she started the final round tied for 25th. After four tournaments, she’s 36th on the money list with $5,751.

 

Tardy earned $30,000 for the win, after a year when she just needed another $343. That’s how close she came to making the top five in the 2020 Symetra Tour standings, in a pandemic-shortened season when only five LPGA Tour cards were awarded, instead of the usual 10.

 

“I was so close last year so many times,” Tardy said. “To pull through and come out on top, it just means a lot to boost my confidence.”

 

Tardy’s key stretch came when she birdied the par-4 No. 10 and the par-5 No. 12, with a par save on No. 11 in between. Even after Leblanc cut the lead to one stroke, Tardy said, “I just stayed within my game and didn’t freak out.”

 

As for Dalton, she described herself as “a little disappointed with that finish,” amid some consolation of a lot of other high scores being posted.

 

“I definitely have a lot of room to grow,” she said. “I like to play in the wind, but this much wind, definitely there’s a learning curve.”

 

Dalton’s troubles started on the par-5 No. 8, where she missed a short par putt after the gusting wind caused her to remark her ball multiple times, worrying that it may have moved. Having scrambled well the first two days, she then developed chipping problems, leading to bogeys on the par-4 No. 10 and the par-5 No. 12. Each of those bogeys came after perfect drives.

 

Her misadventures on No. 12 began after her downwind second shot rolled to the back of the gigantic, serpentine green, with the hole located at the front – more than 50 yards away. Her mishit chip shot traveled only about 10 yards, and then she tried to chip from the green and that didn’t work much better into the wind.

And on Nos. 17 and 18, having hit the greens in regulation, Dalton misjudged how the wind might affect her ball and she three-putted each time.

Dalton’s final-round fade extended her pattern through the Symetra Tour’s first four events of the season. Yet as the schedule continues this week in Garden City, Kansas, she still likes the way she’s playing.

 

“Today didn’t look like it, (but) I felt like the first two days, I did everything pretty well. … For the most part, my games feels pretty solid all around.”

 

The wind will be the biggest takeaway for many of the tour players, but they otherwise seemed to like the Copper Rock Championship’s atmosphere. “I thought it was actually so fun,” Dalton said. “I mean, a lot of weeks we have no one (watching) on tour. And so to have the grandstands and the people on the first tee and 18th green, it’s so fun.”

During the trophy presentation, Copper Rock’s Kenneth Knudson announced that the tournament will return to Hurricane through at least 2023.

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Dalton makes the cut, Sturgeon heads home, Tardy remains on top at Copper Rock Championship after day two.

By Kurt Kragthorpe

Kendra Dalton knows that advancing to the LPGA Tour in 2022 will take more than merely making the 36-hole cuts on the Symetra Tour this season. There’s still something to be said for regularly showing up on weekends.

The former BYU golfer is now 4 for 4 in cuts made in 2021, having survived Friday afternoon’s wind at Copper Rock Golf Club in Hurricane with an even-par 72 for a 1-over total.

Dixie State University graduate Haley Sturgeon missed the cut by one stroke at 5 over, but certainly justified her sponsor invitation with a second-round 70.

Bailey Tardy (66-70) leads the inaugural Copper Rock Championship at 8 under par, playing for a $30,000 first prize in Saturday’s final round.

Dalton improved by one stroke over her opening round, even while playing in the more demanding conditions of the afternoon. It helps “if you just go into the day knowing that it’s going to be tough, rather than being surprised by it,” she said.

Dalton made three birdies and three bogeys Friday, while some difficult par saves kept her round going. She was disappointed to bogey No. 18 after her downwind approach shot sailed long, but at least that was an upgrade from Thursday’s double bogey.

Eventually, Dalton understands, she needs to put herself in contention for tournament titles to have any hope of moving up significantly from her No. 27 spot on the tour’s money list. The top 10 players after this season’s 20 events will earn LPGA Tour cards. “My game feels really good and has improved so much,” she said. “I feel like my scores haven’t quite shown that the last few weeks. Sometimes golf is like that. (But) making cuts is the next-best thing, right? And I’ve got another day (Saturday).

Sturgeon almost gave herself another round of golf at this level, but an 18th-hole birdie was not quite enough. That was one of her five birdies Friday, offset by a bogey and a double bogey. As she finished playing in the early afternoon, Sturgeon was hoping the cut line would move enough to keep her around for the weekend. Regardless, she was satisfied to produce a much better score than her opening 79.

“I couldn’t be happier,” she said.

Sturgeon will return to her job as an assistant pro at The Country Club in Salt Lake City, while continuing to prepare for the LPGA Tour/Symetra Tour Qualifying Tournament in August. She will enter the upcoming U.S. Women’s Open sectional qualifying and compete in Utah Section PGA events.

This week’s Symetra Tour experience made Sturgeon believe “that I do fit in,” she said. “I played with the girl (Sophie Hausmann) that’s No. 2 on the money list and I tied her today.”

 

Story by Fairways Media/Kurt Kragthorpe. Photos by Fairways Media/Jesse Dodson

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The Westminster Griffins captured their first-ever Rocky Mountain Athletic Conference Championship

Women’s Golf 4/20/2021 4:49:01 PM

LITCHFIELD PARK, Ariz. – For the first time in program history, the Westminster Griffins are the winners of the RMAC Women’s Golf Championship Tournament. The first-time title holders shot a field-best 927 (+75) after hitting 299 in the final round. The Griffins were stuck in third place for the first two days of competition before coming out and outperforming the other 11 programs down in Arizona.

UC-Colorado Springs (UCCS) was three strokes behind the leader as they shot an overall +78 and improved on their total stroke count as each day went on. They shot 301 on the final day after hitting 320 and 309 in the first and second rounds.

Colorado Mesa rounded out the Top Three thanks to an overall score of 933 (+81). The Mavericks were leading the field after Day Two, but were jumped by the Griffins and the Mountain Lions in the final stretch.

Regis (+88) and MSU Denver (+95) round out the remainder of the Top Five, respectively.

On the individual leaderboard, Emily Shukus of UCCS was crowned the RMAC Champion after ending the tournament shooting 221 (+8) and coming back from five places back on the leaderboard. She shot a field-best 67 in the last round.

CCU’s Faith Kilgore remained in second place and ended the tournament with a score of 225 (+12). Behind the Cougar was Kate Keuss of Regis and Emily Donaldson of CCU shooting a 226 (+13) to tie for third place.

Finally rounding out the Top Five is Westminster’s Whitney Banz who led the Griffins to the overall team tournament championship after she shot 227 (+14). Colorado Mesa’s Hannah More also shot a 227 to tie with Banz for fifth place.

Individual Scoreboard

1)  Emily Shimkus, Colorado – CO Springs – 221 (+8)

2) Faith Kilgore. Colorado Christian – 225 (+12)

T3) Kate Keuss, Regis – 226 (+13)

T3) Emily Donaldson, Colorado Christian – 226 (+13)

T5) Hannah More, Colorado Mesa – 227 (+14)

T5) Whitney Banz, Westminster – 227 (+14)

7) Alex Naumovski, Regis – 228 (+15)

T8) Emma Tornoos, Fort Lewis – 231 (+18)

T8) Dakotah Kreil, Colorado – CO Springs – 231 (+18)

T8) Kika Dzoan, Metro State University – 231 (+18)

Team Scoreboard

1) Westminster – 927 (+75)

2) Colorado – CO Springs – 930 (+78)

3) Colorado Mesa – 933 (+81)

4) Regis – 940 (+88)

5) Metro State University – 947 (+95)

6) Colorado Christian – 948 (+96)

7) Colorado State-Pueblo – 961 (+109)

8) Fort Lewis – 976 (+124)

9) Chadron State – 981 (+129)

10) South Dakota School of Mines – 1021 (+169)

11) Adams State – 1052 (+200)

12) Black Hills State – 1057 (+205)

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Former Utah Women’s State Amateur champ Tess Blair claimed medalist honors at the Big Sky Conference Championship

MOLALLA, Ore. — The Sacramento State women’s golf team claimed the Big Sky Championship for the third time in its last four tries and Tess Blair became the second Hornet to win the individual title on Wednesday at Arrowhead Golf Course.

The Hornets entered the final round with a 3-stroke lead over Northern Arizona but were tested by the Lumberjacks throughout the round. The team’s lead shrunk to 1-stroke with three holes remaining before Sacramento State responded with an eagle, four birdies and seven pars from its four counting scores. That effort gave the Hornets an 8-stroke margin over NAU for the top spot. Sacramento State finished the tournament at 298-304-299-901. Portland State finished third (918) with Idaho (922) moving up one spot to take fourth and Northern Colorado finishing fifth (930).

The Big Sky title is the fourth in school history following wins in 2007, 2017 and 2019. The Hornets also earned a berth into an NCAA Regional and will find out its destination on Wednesday, Apr. 28, on Golf Channel.

Blair is the first Hornet to be the medalist at the Big Sky Championship since Margaux Sheehan won in 2007. The victory was the second of Blair’s career and makes her one of just four Sacramento State women to have multiple individual titles in their career. The second-year player never surrendered her first-place position during the day and won the event by eight shots. Blair was 2-over on the front nine with one birdie and three bogeys. She drew back to 1-over after starting the back side of the course with a birdie on the par-5 10th. However, bogeys on Nos. 13 and 14 took her to 3-over and put the team title in question. Blair ended the tournament in emphatic fashion as she parred the 15th, eagled the par-5 16th, parred No. 17 and birdied the par-5 18th.

Sydney Smith tied for fifth place with rounds of 73-74-77-224. That total is tied for her second lowest in her career and was just one shot off her career best. Smith remained steady through the first nine holes with eight pars and a bogey on the par-4 eighth. Her first rough stretch of the tournament came on the back nine where she had bogeys on the par-5 10th and par-3 12th and 14th as well as a double bogey on the par-4 13th. Standing at 6-over during the round, Smith played her final four holes at 1-under with a birdie on the par-5 16th and three pars.

Corinne Viden surged into a tie for 14th place overall after shooting 74 on Wednesday. Viden parred the first two holes and then birdied the par-4 third. However, she was 3-over at the turn with bogeys on Nos. 5, 6, 8 and 9 (all par 4). A bogey on the par-4 11th took her to 4-over for the round. From there, she played the final seven holes at 2-under with birdies on the par-4 15th and par-5 16th along with five pars.

Jennifer Koga posted her best round of the tournament with a 4-over par 76. She was 2-over at the midway point of the round with a birdie on the par-4 third and bogeys on Nos. 4, 6 and 8. She eventually rose to 5-over following bogeys on the par-4, 11th, par-3 14th and par-4 15th. Koga birdied the par-5 15th and headed to the clubhouse following pars on the final two holes. She tied for 21st overall after shooting 80-78-76-234.

Miki Manta shot 79 during the final round and tied for 40th overall. Manta had three bogeys on the front side of the course (Nos. 1, 3, 7). After five consecutive pars, she had a double bogey on the par-4 13th and then had three more pars. Her first birdie came on the par-4 17th but was immediately followed by a triple bogey on the par-4 18th.

BIG SKY CHAMPIONSHIP
Molalla, Ore. | Arrowhead GC
Par 72 | 6,154 Yards

Team Standings
1. Sacramento State 298-304-299-901
2. Northern Arizona 296-309-304-909
3. Portland State 302-307-309-918
4. Idaho 308-311-303-922
5. Northern Colorado 310-307-313-930
6. Weber State 305-318-310-933
7. Southern Utah 316-311-312-939
8. Eastern Washington 320-314-313-947
9. Montana 320-325-313-958
10. Montana State 320-337-316-973
11. Idaho State 322-323-983

Individual Top Five
1. Tess Blair, SAC, 74-69-72-215
T2. Laura Gerner, UI, 74-74-75-223
T2. Franca Polla, PSU, 73-74-76-223
T2. Ekaterina Malakhova, NAU, 74-72-77-223
T5. Sydney Smith, SAC, 73-74-77-224
T5. Kylie Esh, UM, 76-76-72-224
T5. Klara Kucharova, NAU, 73-78-73-224

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Estrada crowned top medalist, UVU finishes fourth at WAC Championship

BOULDER CITY, Nev. – Utah Valley’s Victoria Estrada birdied two of her final four holes en route to firing a final-round 71 to earn top medalist honors at the 2021 WAC Women’s Golf Championship on Wednesday at Boulder Creek Golf Club with a 2-under-par 214. By winning medalist honors, Estrada also earns the program’s inaugural bid to an NCAA Regional.

As a team, the Wolverines earned a fourth-place finish at the 2021 WAC Championship with a three-round total of 909 (+45). UVU carded rounds of 297, 300 and 312 on its way to placing fourth.

“Victoria played a spectacular round of golf today with an exceptional finish,” head UVU coach Dr. Sue Nyhus said. “The wind was steady all day but started gusting on the back nine. On her 18th hole she had to re-tee the ball three times because the wind kept knocking the ball off the tee. But it didn’t bother her as she shot 2-under on the last four holes. With near birdies on the other two holes as well.”

After opening her first WAC Championship appearance with a 2-over-par 74 on Monday, the second-year freshman Estrada posted the best score of her collegiate career with a 3-under-par 69 on Tuesday. She then moved up two spots during Wednesday’s final round with stellar play down the stretch to win top medalist honors with the final round 71. Her 54-hole total of 2-under-par 214 matches the program record for the best three-round score in UVU history.

Estrada also earned first team All-WAC recognition for the first time in her career following the tournament. She too became the program’s inaugural WAC individual champion after earning top medalist honors.

Freshman Anna Lesa also had a strong 2021 WAC Championship performance by earning a top-15 finish by tying for 12th with an 8-over-par 224. Lesa carded rounds of 71, 74 and 79 on the way to earning the 12th place finish.

Junior Bailey Henley was next for the Wolverines by tying for 23rd with 17-over-par 233. Henley carded rounds of 75,78 and 80 on her way to finishing in the top 25.

Freshmen Macy Robertson (77-80-82—239) and Caylyn Ponich (80-79-86—245) rounded out UVU competitors at the WAC Championship by placing 32nd and 37th, respectively.

New Mexico State won the 2021 WAC Championship with a 9-over-par 873 (287-287-299). Grand Canyon finished seven shots back to take second at 16-over (880), while Seattle U took third (902). UT Rio Grande Valley finished behind UVU in fifth place (921).

Prior to Estrada’s WAC individual championship on Wednesday, former Wolverine Ana Raga was UVU’s previous top WAC Championship finisher by earning a runner-up finish in 2017.

The 2021 NCAA Regionals will be contested May 10-12 at four different sites around the country. The 2021 NCAA Women’s Golf Selection Show is scheduled for April 28 and will air live on the Golf Channel.

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Longtime women’s golf coach Sue Nyhus announces retirement

4/21/2021 | UVU Women’s Golf

OREM, Utah – After 11 successful seasons at the helm of Utah Valley University women’s golf and 22 years in all as a collegiate coach, UVU women’s golf head coach Dr. Sue Nyhus has announced her retirement and will call it a career following the conclusion of the 2020-21 season.

The first and only golfer in USGA history to have played in every championship offered to her by the organization, Nyhus truly helped Utah Valley women’s golf go from an inexperienced NCAA Division I program into a very competitive force on the course today.

Earlier on Wednesday, Nyhus helped guide UVU freshman Victoria Estrada to the program’s inaugural WAC individual championship en route to earning the program’s first NCAA Regional bid. Nyhus will continue to lead the Wolverine women’s golf program throughout the 2021 postseason.

“I would like to thank the UVU presidents I’ve worked under, Matthew Holland and Astrid Tuminez, for their support of me and our women’s golf team. Additionally, I extend my gratitude to athletic directors Mike Jacobsen, Vince Otoupal, and Dr. Jared Sumsion, for encouraging the program to grow and helping us celebrate the successes along the way,” Nyhus said. “Over the years I have had several assistants who mostly served as volunteers. Via Wightman, Devin Dehlin, Jackie Booth, and Juli Erekson are now, and will forever be, dear friends. Teamwork makes the dream work. I would like to make special mention of head UVU men’s golf coach Chris Curran. We have made a great team these past 11 years. I am going to miss brainstorming and sharing ideas with Chris.

“I would also like to thank the supporters of UVU women’s golf. Specifically, I am grateful to all the local PGA professionals who have helped me build the UVU women’s golf program. I so appreciate their effort to support our team always. I have also been so blessed by the many student-athletes I have had the distinct opportunity to coach. Being with the student-athletes has been a great joy in my life. Their belief in themselves is so important to me. Working with these great student-athletes gave meaning to my life. Each one has touched my heart in a permanent way. Moreover, I am grateful to the parents of all the student-athletes who shared their amazing daughters with me.”

After coaching at her alma mater of BYU from 1998-2009 (2001-2009 as head coach), Nyhus then moved over to UVU and went on to become the longest tenured coach in program history after leading the Wolverines from 2010-2021.

In Utah Valley’s last full season of competition (2018-19), Nyhus helped guide her Wolverines to arguably their best year in program history as her team finished just three strokes back to place third at the 2019 Western Athletic Championship (289-299-300-888). Nyhus also had a pair of players earn all-conference accolades that season in three-time All-WAC honoree Carly Dehlin Hirsch and 2019 selection Kaylee Shimizu.

During her time at UVU, Nyhus coached a total of 11 all-conference honorees, as well as conference athlete of the year, conference newcomer of the year, and conference freshmen of the year selections. During just her second season at the helm (2011-12), she helped Lynn-Marie Nagel earn top medalist honors at the Great West Conference Championship as well as her team earn a second-place team finish en route to earning GWC Coach of the Year recognition that season.

Nyhus also helped her Wolverines improve on their national ranking in nearly every season during her time at Utah Valley. She helped her team achieve a program-best final ranking of 124 following the 2017-18 campaign. She also guided the Wolverines to a trio of team victories as well as helping five different Wolverines earn tournament medalist honors during her tenure.

“I am also grateful to my husband Steve for supporting my coaching passion over all these years, as well as for the patience of our daughters, who have scheduled some of their key life plans around my coaching schedule,” Nyhus added. “Now, I am looking forward to giving back in different ways and enjoying more time with my family, especially my grandchildren!”

Despite all of the successes on the course, Nyhus also helped her Wolverines achieve greatness in the classroom as she coached a total of 37 WGCA All-American Scholars during her tenure at Utah Valley and 49 more academic all-conference performers. She also helped her 2012-13 squad compile the 11th-best team GPA in the nation with a 3.66 grade-point average.

Over the past few seasons, her teams and players have shattered nearly every record in the program’s record book. The 2018-19 Wolverines hold the Low 54-Hole Total of 879 (+27) at the Hobble Creek Fall Classic, the Low 36-Hole Total of 585 (+17) at the 2019-20 Hobble Creek Fall Classic, and her 2019-20 club also holds the Low Round vs Par with a 2-over-par 290 at the NM State Aggie Invitational while her 2017-18 club holds the Low Round overall with a 4-over-par 288 at that season’s Hobble Creek Fall Classic.

“We are truly grateful to Coach Sue Nyhus and everything she and her family have done for the women’s golf program at UVU. We want to thank her for her 11 valiant years of service,” UVU Director of Athletics Dr. Jared Sumsion said. “Sue has been a wonderful ambassador for Utah Valley University and will certainly be missed. Coach Nyhus has undoubtedly elevated UVU women’s golf since she arrived on campus and will leave the program in a better place than she found it. Dr. Nyhus has positively impacted countless student-athletes and community members throughout her storied career-we wish her all the best as she begins this next chapter of her life in retirement.”

While the head coach at Brigham Young, Nyhus was twice named Mountain West Conference Coach of the Year. She also helped lead her Cougars to NCAA Regional appearances in six of her eight years as the head coach, as well as a pair of NCAA Championship appearances. She also led the Cougars to a No. 13 national ranking in 2007 as well as a 17th-place finish at the NCAA Championships that season.

Nyhus is a two-time Utah Women’s State Amateur Champion as well as a four-time Utah Golf Association Senior Women’s Player of the Year. She was also inducted into the Utah Golf Association Hall of Fame just last year (2020) and formerly played professionally for five years on the Women’s Professional Golf European Tour from 1987-1991.

Nyhus holds bachelor’s and master’s degrees from BYU, as well as a doctorate degree from the University of Utah. She is also a 2007 graduate of the NCAA Women’s Coaches Academy.

A search for Nyhus’ replacement will begin immediately. Interested individuals should send resumes to UVU senior associate athletic director Cathy Nixon via email at [email protected]

Courtesy: UVU Athletics Department

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Larsen & Needham take Women’s Opener

The Utah Golf Association was in St. George, Utah to host the UGA Spring Open to kick off the 2021 Women’s Championship season.  Bloomington Country Club and Sunbrook Golf Club served as hosts for the championship, and both provided a similar challenge with fast, firm greens.  Marie Needham and Kareen Larsen proved they were up for the task, as they took home the first women’s championship of the year with a score of 66-57-123.  The format of the UGA Spring Open is team-modified stableford, where players compete for the highest point total, with the highest score winning the championship.  Needham and Larsen’s highest point total came on their first hole of the championship at Bloomington Country Club when they scored 8 points while carding two birdies.  They rode that momentum through the 36-hole championship to claim the win.  There are many UGA women’s championships still to be contested in 2021, and the UGA encourages everyone eligible to compete.

Flight Winners

1st Flight – Marie Needham & Kareen Larsen – 123 Points
2nd Flight – Amy Mayberry & Allison Webb – 87 Points
3rd Flight – Teresa Lundahl & Teresa Nash – 78 Points
4th Flight – Toni Murdock & Becky Austin / Gayleen Kaneko & Sherdean Carter – 56 Points
5th Flight – Tammie Olsen & Ev Eliason – 36 Points

Full Results: https://www.golfgenius.com/pages/2746032

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USGA and National Alliance for Accessible Golf Provide Support for Amy Bockerstette’s I Got This Foundation

 

USGA and National Alliance for Accessible Golf Provide Support for Amy Bockerstette’s I Got This Foundation

 

Grant will support continuing efforts to create a more welcoming and accessible game

 

LIBERTY CORNER, N.J. (April 20, 2021) – The United States Golf Association (USGA) and the National Alliance for Accessible Golf (National Alliance) have provided a $12,500 grant to the I Got This Foundation, which was founded by Amy Bockerstette in 2019 to promote golf instruction and playing opportunities for people with Down syndrome and other intellectual disabilities.

Through the I Got This Foundation, Bockerstette, a collegiate golfer and advocate for individuals with disabilities, is joining her family in paving the way for intellectually disabled golfers to compete in leagues, join high school teams and earn college athletic scholarships.

This grant will be earmarked toward the I Got This Foundation’s newest initiative: a golf academy for people with intellectual disabilities. The I Got This Foundation Golf Academy began on April 6 and is providing instruction and playing opportunities for individuals with intellectual disabilities from One Step Beyond and Gigi’s Playhouse of Phoenix. The academy will run through May 30 at two host golf courses in Arizona: Palmbrook Country Club in Sun City and Paradise Valley Golf Course in Phoenix.

“The efforts of Amy and the I Got This Foundation to create a more inclusive and welcoming game will have a lasting impact,” said Mike Davis, CEO of the USGA. “We proudly consider her part of the USGA family and continue to be inspired by her attitude and determination.”

Bockerstette is a Special Olympics athlete in golf, swimming and volleyball, an LPGA-USGA Girls Golf alumna, and was recently appointed to a two-year term on the President’s Council on Sports, Fitness & Nutrition. At the 2019 Waste Management Phoenix Open, representing Special Olympics Arizona, Amy played the 16th hole at TPC Scottsdale with Gary Woodland and playing partner Matt Kuchar during a practice round. As Amy surveyed her 10-foot putt for par, Woodland asked if she needed help lining it up, to which Amy famously replied, “I got this!” The video capturing this moment and her successful putt is the most viewed video in PGA Tour history. Four months later, Woodland won the U.S. Open at Pebble Beach and credited Amy and her attitude as inspiration for his victory.

“The I Got This Foundation is honored to receive this grant from the National Alliance for Accessible Golf,” said Lindsey Corbin, Foundation president and Amy’s sister. “The I Got This Golf Academy furthers our vision of inclusion for people with intellectual and developmental disabilities and, at the same time, grows the game of golf. We are grateful for the support of the National Alliance and the USGA.”

“I am so excited that we can help more people learn to play golf,” said Amy Bockerstette. “I love it!”

The grant furthers the USGA’s mission to champion and advance the game. Since 1997, the USGA has invested more than $33 million in The First Tee, LPGA-USGA Girls Golf, and Drive, Chip & Putt to provide greater access to golf for juniors and cultivate a lifelong passion for the game. In 2018, the USGA announced plans for a championship for players with disabilities, and additional details will be announced in the year ahead.

“The National Alliance is excited to work with the I Got This Foundation to expand opportunities for individuals with disabilities in Arizona to play the game of golf,” said Justin Apel, president of the National Alliance. “Participants will become more actively engaged in the social fabric of their community and derive health benefits that improve their quality of life.”

Since 2010, the USGA has provided more than $940,000 in grants through the National Alliance to support accessible golf programs, including Els for Autism, The Turn, United Cerebral Palsy Empowered Through Golf, The Children’s Course, Freedom Golf Association, No Restrictions Golf Association, Special Olympics, and many more.

For more information about the I Got This Foundation, visit igotthis.foundation.

To view the virtual check presentation ceremony click here.

About the USGA

The USGA is a nonprofit organization that celebrates, serves and advances the game of golf. Founded in 1894, we conduct many of golf’s premier professional and amateur championships, including the U.S. Open and U.S. Women’s Open. With The R&A, we govern the sport via a global set of playing, equipment, handicapping and amateur status rules. The USGA campus in Liberty Corner, New Jersey, is home to the Association’s Research and Test Center, where science and innovation are fueling a healthy and sustainable game for the future. The campus is also home to the USGA Golf Museum, where we honor the game by curating the world’s most comprehensive archive of golf artifacts. To learn more, visit usga.org.
About the National Alliance

The National Alliance for Accessible Golf (National Alliance) is the leader in inclusion — working to ensure the opportunity for all individuals with disabilities to play the game of golf. Formed in the summer of 2001, the National Alliance is represented by major golf, recreation and therapeutic organizations in the United States; organizations that provide services for people with disabilities; and others who advocate for the inclusion of people with disabilities into society. Through GAIN™ (Golf: Accessible and Inclusive Networks) and other programs, the National Alliance promotes inclusion and awareness to the golf industry, golf instructors, and the public. For more information about National Alliance programs, please visit www.accessgolf.org.
About the I Got This Foundation

The I Got This Foundation has a mission to provide golf instruction and playing opportunities for people with Down syndrome and other intellectual and developmental disabilities. I Got This was launched by Amy Bockerstette and her family on her twenty-first birthday in 2019. Amy is a student-athlete at Paradise Valley Community College in Phoenix, Ariz., where she plays golf on a full scholarship and studies dance.  She is the first person with Down syndrome to receive a collegiate athletic scholarship. For more information about the I Got This Foundation, visit igotthis.foundation.

News

Check out what has been happening in Utah Golf.

The Future of Golf

By: Harold Varner III

I’m not supposed to be writing articles for Golf Digest.
I’m not supposed to have made my way to the PGA TOUR.
I’m not supposed to be here, you know? For so many reasons, I’m just not.
But the reality is, I am. It’s the culmination of luck and a heck of a lot of work … and over the
past few years, I’ve realized it’s given me a bigger purpose. It’s not about trying to win on the
PGA TOUR, though that day is coming. It’s about something bigger than that.
It’s about the collective WE.
Look, I’m always gonna keep it real with you. I learned that from my parents at an early age, to
always be true to who I am, even if there’s pressure to act a certain way or say certain things to
fit into a social construct.
That isn’t me. If you want the same old story, there’s a little X mark in the top corner of your
screen that you can click. But if we’re REALLY talking about growing the game — if we REALLY
want to change the narrative around access to golf — you should settle in and keep reading.
I’ve written about it before: We’re not growing the game enough for Black kids. I realize that I’m
in a position to help the Black community because of who I am and what I look like — and I’m
going to do everything in my power to be that guy to bring more of us into the game. But in that
same breath, I want to acknowledge that we’re also not growing the game enough for Hispanics,
Whites and Asians alike. Everyone deserves an opportunity to play golf, and dollar signs should
never be a hindrance to putting a tee in the ground.


I know that, because my parents laid it all on the line for me, giving me the chance to do
something significant with my life. When I was 9 years old, my mom and dad dipped into their
bank account and wrote a check for $100 to Gastonia Municipal Golf Course, our local course in
North Carolina. That money allowed me to play golf all summer long, as many times as I
wanted. It was legit. I met some of the greatest friends from all backgrounds — rich and poor,
Black and White — who I’m still boys with today. For the next few years of my life, I spent every
summer on that $100 program, learning how to fine-tune my swing, trash talk and whatnot. I
even remember playing some 30-year-old guys and beating them when I was only 12. Honestly,
it was the greatest way for me to enter the game, because I was allowed to play with people of all
ages, ethnicities and social statuses.
I can’t say for certain — and I didn’t know it at the time — but shelling out that 100 bucks
couldn’t have been an easy decision for my parents. I mean, in one sense, I’m sure it was: My
parents would do anything for me and my younger sister to make us happy. And they knew that
spending my summers learning to compete on a golf course was something that I wanted to do.
But that $100 had ripple effects, you know?
I’ve never really thought much of it, but there’d be times when I’d come home at dusk after
riding my bike all around town, run into my room, flip on the light switch … and nothing would
happen. I’d try again. Click, click. No lights. As a kid, these things roll off your back like it’s no
biggie. I was probably just like, Oh, well, time to go outside and shoot some hoops under the
streetlight. It didn’t affect me. Now, as an adult, I can look back and see that, dang, my parents
would put my passion ahead of paying an electric bill. Ahead of their wellbeing. Sometimes they
had to pay their bills late just to make sure I had the money to eat lunch at school.


I was six years old when my parents picked up their lives and moved me and my sister to
Gastonia. Up until then, we had lived in Akron, Ohio, but better job prospects and a lower cost of
living attracted my mom and dad to the South. To this day, my mom still works as a nursing
assistant. My dad has been a car salesman for over 40 years. There’s a reason why you’ve
probably heard me talking about going home and cutting my parents’ lawn after a PGA TOUR
event. See, that 900-square-foot home wasn’t much, but it was home, you know? It was the
product of my parents’ hard work. No matter how many tournaments I’ll play in, I’ll never
— never — lose sight of how I got to where I am today.
I owe everything I have to my mom and dad. They don’t care about how I finish in a tournament.
Nah. I’ll come home, sit down at our kitchen table, and they’ll ask me how my wife, Amanda,
and I have been doing. And it’s funny — I’m gonna be a dad soon, too. Amanda is expecting in
October, and I’ve been thinking a lot about my role as a parent — about how I want to mimic my
parents and instill the values of humility and kindness in my kid (we’ll be announcing whether
Baby Varner will be rockin’ pink or blue Jordans soon). Those values were nurtured out there in
the blazing summer heat at Gastonia Municipal Golf Course, where I learned what it meant to be
a golfer. Through hard work, my game developed to a point where I could earn a scholarship to
East Carolina and fight my way from mini tours to the Big Time.
Without having access to golf from an early age, these Jordans you see me rocking? These words
you’re reading right now?
None of it would be possible.
I’ve thought a long time about how to help other kids have the same opportunities I had. I’ve
started the HV3 Foundation which funds an entry-fee assistance program with the Carolina Golf
Association. Each year, we host a number of golf tournaments for kids in North Carolina in
which a certain percentage of kids come in through the program, and we’re hoping to expand on
that.


But I want to do more. So, today, I’m announcing that I’ve decided to partner with an
organization called Youth on Course in order to accelerate this movement into the game. Go
ahead and show them some love. The basic premise of the organization is to help young people
of all ethnicities and socioeconomic statuses through the prism of golf. Youth on Course allows
kids to have a safe space to play, gain a scholarship for college and access opportunities through
connections made on the course. The main tenant of their mission is a replica of mine: to
provide kids affordable access to the game.
The future of golf is with this program. Let me say that again: the future of golf is with this
program.
Youth on Course has partnered with over 1,400 golf courses across the U.S. and Canada to allow
kids to play for only $5. Five dollars! Think about that. They’ve subsidized over 1 million rounds
of golf for their growing membership, which has created an impressive network of young stars in
their caddie program and recipients of paid internships — something that is incredibly
important since half of the program’s 100,000 members are over the age of 14.
Youth on Course works as an extension of other programs that have introduced kids to the game
such as the First Tee (which I’ve been proud to work with). These kids come to Youth on Course
armed with the skills to succeed on the course and are also aided in the next step in their journey
to be competitive off of it. Over 260 high school students have received more than $2 million in
scholarships through the program, and I’m excited to say that number is growing. By providing
affordable access, they’re not just setting up kids to succeed on the course. This is about giving
kids an opportunity in life.
Sounds a lot like my childhood at Gastonia Municipal Golf Course, doesn’t it? See, I want to take
that kid whose parents can’t pay their electric bill, and the kid who’s grown up in a fancy
neighborhood and bring them together on the golf course. Because I’ve lived it, man. Good
things can happen. It ain’t corny. It ain’t cheesy. It’s real life.
I’m happy to say that we’ve made some inroads in North Carolina so far. But, to me, that’s just
the beginning. I feel like Youth on Course is going to allow me to change the country. I know
some of y’all may be shaking your head and rolling your eyes at that, like, This guy thinks he’s
going to change the country? Harold’s out of his dang mind. Listen, if trying to improve kids’
lives across the world makes me crazy, then I’m certifiable, man.
But if I’m being honest, I know that I can’t do it alone. I’m going to need your help getting the
word out.
Like I said earlier, I believe that I’m here for a reason bigger than myself. It’s about the collective
WE. We’re going to bring more kids into the game through Youth on Course, and I encourage
everyone to explore ways they can get involved. With the structure of an international program,
more and more kids will be set up for something greater than professional golf. We’re already
seeing those who participated in the program graduate from college and start successful careers
across a number of different industries. And it’s like, Dang, me, the kid who sometimes had no
lights … I’M the one who can continue to help young people find a path to success?
Not even a question. I’m in.
It’s time to go to work. If you want to chat about the program and what we’re all about, hit me up
on Twitter. I’ll do my best to reply to each one of y’all.
Much love, and always remember:
#WeHere. For each other.
The price of a round of golf shouldn’t be a barrier for a young person who wants to play –
that’s where Youth on Course comes in. Youth on Course provides its 100,000+ members with
access to play over 1,400 golf courses for $5 or less, giving them opportunities to learn lessons
that can be taught in a way only a golf course can.
If you want to learn more about Youth on Course, please visit this link.