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Head-to-head: BYU commit Lincoln Markham hoping match play experience pays dividends at state amateur

By Jared Lloyd - | Jul 9, 2024
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BYU commit Lincoln Markham hits a shot during the first day of the Utah State Amateur golf tournament at Ogden Golf and Country Club in Ogden on Monday, July 8, 2024.
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BYU commit Lincoln Markham poses for photos with the championship trophy after winning the boys division at the first Utah Junior State Amateur Championship at Wasatch Mountain golf course in Midway on Wednesday, June 19, 2024.
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BYU commit Lincoln Markham watches his shot as he competes in the finals of the boys division at the first Utah Junior State Amateur Championship at Wasatch Mountain golf course in Midway on Wednesday, June 19, 2024.
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BYU commit Lincoln Markham hits a shot during the first day of the Utah State Amateur golf tournament at Ogden Golf and Country Club in Ogden on Monday, July 8, 2024.

Every golfer at the 2024 Utah State Amateur Championship knows that competing in match play is different than traditional stroke-play tournaments.

Instead of just going for the overall lowest score, there is the element of just needing to do better than one other athlete in each round. That can change the playing mentality, both in good ways and bad ways.

In general, golfers say they enjoy match play but the reality is there are limited opportunities to develop those skills.

That’s where BYU commit Lincoln Markham hopes he has a little edge over his competitors.

Less than a month ago, Markham was making a run to win the first Utah State Junior Amateur Championship which included a number of match-play victories.

“Match play is something that you want to play more of so you’ll get better,” Markham said before the tournament. “You’ll gain more experience after playing more matches and there are great players who played in the junior match play. A good amount of them are playing in the state amateur field, so it’s really pretty similar.”

He explained that he’s hoping that past success will springboard him to a good run, but knows that’s not a given.

“It definitely feels like a bit of a bigger stage,” Markham said. “In the last couple years I haven’t performed great in the match play here, so I think having having that run and to have played well in the junior amateur definitely gives me a little bit more confidence.”

Markham said he loves the competition of playing against the best amateurs in the state.

“I love playing it every year,” Markham said. “It’s a pretty busy schedule here in the summer but this is one I definitely look forward to.”

Markham is enjoying a summer of golf before he heads out on a two-year mission for the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints in Spokane, Wash., in August.

He knows taking that much time away from his sport will have an impact, but said he decided it was worth it.

“it was honestly a pretty tough decision,” Markham said. “Taking two years off from golf doesn’t really help your golf game. Golf something that you need to practice pretty much every day to perform at a high level. So it was a hard decision but it’s one that I’m really looking forward to.”

He acknowledged that it will take some time to get back to playing his best but it won’t hurt to that the St. George-area native is heading to BYU, which knows a few things about getting returned missionaries back to top form.

Markham said that becoming a Cougar is a dream come true.

“BYU is a school that my family and I have been fans of for a long time,” he said. “They have a great program and I really do like those coaches. I’m thankful to have a good amount of my friends that I’m pretty close with commit to BYU as well. Playing golf with people I like was definitely a factor. They are also good players and that helps you grow.”

Markham enjoyed a solid showing in the first two rounds of stroke play at the Utah State Amateur at Ogden Golf and Country Club, finishing Tuesday with a 142 (2-over-par) to get a mid-range seed for match play.

He said there are some things that he needs to do well to keep advancing.

“I think always in match play you’ve got to putt really well,” Markham said. “I feel like I putted really well there at the junior amateur and I think my putter feels good. Looking back at my experiences, I’m gaining confidence. I’ve been here before and played matches. I’m excited. It should be fun.”

BYU senior Tyson Shelley capped an impressive stroke-play performance, winning medalist honors as he fired a 132 (8-under-par). That was one shot better than Cougar teammate Cole Ponich, who ended up second.

Current BYU golfers Zac Jones, Cooper Jones and Simon Kwon all finished under par and in the top 10, while former Cougar Cole Ogden ended up tied for 12 with a 139 (1-under).

At the other end of the spectrum was the 16 golfers who finished at 148 (8-over) and on the cutline. Players like Lehi’s KJ Ofahengaue and two-time former champions Jon Wright will be part of the playoff battling for the three remaining match play spots on Wednesday.

That will start the day at Ogden Golf and Country Club, with the winners then moving into the first match play round that features 64 golfers.

For complete details and match-play pairings, go to http://UGA.org.

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