2014 Utah State Amateur

2014 Utah State Amateur: First rounds are about survival

2014-07-07T05:45:00Z 2014-07-09T13:59:05Z 2014 Utah State Amateur: First rounds are about survivalJared Lloyd Daily Herald Daily Herald
July 07, 2014 5:45 am  • 

BYU senior golfer Cole Ogden probably has 287 Utah golfers wishing they were in his shoes.

That's because of all the athletes hitting the links on Monday and Tuesday in the 116th Utah State Amateur golf tournament at Ogden Golf and Country Club and Valley View golf course, Ogden is the only one who doesn't have to worry about surviving.

The first two rounds pair the field down from 288 golfers to the 64 who will advance to the match-play bracket.

That means 224 will be going home when competition wraps up on Tuesday.

Ogden, however, already knows he won't be one of them.

That's because the Cougar senior enters the event as the defending champ, having defeated Jeff Evans at Soldier Hollow in 2014. That means Ogden automatically will go through to match play and will be the No. 1 seed on Wednesday.

Everyone else has to do it on the course.

"It's all about getting to match play," Darrin Overson said during last week's media day. "You have to get through stroke play to qualify, which is about whether you are under or over par. Once you get to match play, all that disappears. Then it becomes about getting as many birdies as you can. It's playing the person vs. playing the hole. It's a lot of fun."

Overson won his state amateur championship in 1998 and is one of nine golfers looking to win the title for the second time. Another is former UVU golfer Nick Nelson, who won in 2007.

Ogden hopes to be the first back-to-back champion since another BYU golfer, Daniel Summerhays, did it in 2000 and 2001.

But being the top seed doesn't mean much when it comes to match-golf. It all comes down to which golfer can go out and have a better round, meaning upsets are common.

"I think I was seeded 29th (of 32) the year that I won it," Overson said. "I had to make it through a playoff to get to match play. But it's all about getting in."

He said that the format of the final days allows a golfer to overcome mistakes.

"If you get down by a couple of holes, you can still come back," he said. "If you play well, you get your chances. You can just start anew on the next hole."

Perhaps the combination of competition types and the overall quality of the field are why Overson called the state amateur the "highlight of the summer for amateurs."

"This is a big event in this state," he said. "You spend plenty of time getting ready for it."

He believes that there are at least 25 guys who have a good shot at winning but pointed out that the Ogden Golf and Country Club -- which is celebrating its 100th birthday -- will provide quite the test.

"It's about ball-striking," Overson said. "It's not overly long but there are small greens, so that makes it a good test. Getting the putter going is what's going to make a big difference."

With a field of 288 golfers, there are numerous Utah Valley representatives joining Ogden, Overson and Nelson in the event.

BYU's Mike Jurca, CJ Lee and Jordan Rogers will also be representing the Cougars. Maple Mountain senior Kai Ruiz is also in the field.

For a complete list of participants, go to www.uga.org.

The first rounds will begin Monday at 8:15 a.m. at Ogden Golf and Country Club and Valley View golf course.

Daily Herald sports editor ​Jared Lloyd can be reached at 801-344-2555 or jlloyd@heraldextra.com. Twitter: @JaredrLloyd. Instagram: @JaredrLloyd.

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