FARMINGTON — How far would you be willing to walk to support your spouse?
For Andrea Overson of Provo, the final tally Thursday was more than 17,200 steps. At 2.5 feet per stride, that’s a distance of more than 8 miles.
She spent much of the day walking the fairways of the Oakridge Country Club in Farmington as she watched her husband, Darrin Overson, 43, compete in two match-play rounds at the 2018 Utah State Amateur Championship.
“That’s huge,” Darrin said after finishing his second consecutive 4-and-3 victory to earn a spot in Friday’s quarterfinals. “Family is obviously a big part of me and their support is unbelievable. They mean the world to me.”
Andrea wasn’t the only family member there for Darrin as he defeated Kurt Owen and Fidel Concepcion as their son, Ethan, 11, spent the day riding in the cart with his dad.
It’s impossible to quantify exactly what the presence of his wife and son did for Darrin but he played well the entire day.
“I was solid for the most part,” he said. “I don’t feel like I hit the ball the best, but I was able to get up and down for the most part. I missed the greens in the right spots, so I was able to get up and down when I needed to. I made solid birdies on the par 5s and my chipping kept me in it.”
Overson knows something about what it takes to stay strong at the state amateur, having won it in 1998, finished second in 2015 and reached the semifinals on two other occasions.
He added that this year he has an extra incentive to stay alive until Saturday’s 36-hole championship round.
“My 15-year-old son, who has diplegic cerebral palsy, loves golf and really grinds over it,” Overson said. “He was mad that I made him go to Scout camp on the week of the Utah State Amateur, so I’m playing hard to be here on Saturday for him.”
Overson turned out to be the only one of the nine golfers with Utah Valley ties who started the day to earn a spot in Friday’s quarterfinals (see info box).
UVU golfer Aaron Yeates (a Timpanogos High graduate) had one of the toughest challenges in the round of 32 as he faced defending champion Kelton Hirsch of BYU.
He said he felt some nerves, but got some help from his father, who was with him the entire day.
“I was talking with my dad about how this is his (Hirsch’s) home track and how he knows the course well,” Yeates said. “My dad told me that I know the course well enough to score and that gave me a boost of confidence.”
Yeates got off to a fast start, leading by two holes after Hole No. 3. Hirsch made a couple of good shots to stay close early but Yeates began to pull away late.
“Kelton didn’t have his A-game today,” Yeates said. “I was able to grind through. I made some good pars on the back side.”
He finished the match in style, chipping in from 25 feet out for an eagle on No. 16.
“When I hit it, I knew it would be good,” Yeates said. “It found the bottom of the cup, which is always a bonus.”
He didn’t have long to savor his win over the defending champ, but said he enjoyed the challenge of going right back out on the course for the Round of 16.
“I look forward to it,” he said. “This is how golf should be. It’s fun. I always look forward to competing.”
Yeates led Jayce Frampton in the second match of the day by one hole after getting a birdie on No. 9, but then the Wolverine golfer had four straight bogeys and could never recover, losing 3-and-2 to end his state amateur run.
His UVU teammate, Jake Godfrey, ended up in a similar position — although he had more drama to get through the round of 32.
Godfrey ended in a 19th-hole sudden-death playoff against Jeff Jolley and hit his tee shot far right into the rough.
“I was late on the drive, but it wasn’t too bad,” Godfrey said. “I was far enough right that I had a shot at the green but my second shot didn’t hook so I flew the green. I knew the ball would move quick on the hill, so I just tried to get it on the frontside of the green. It worked out well.”
His chip shot settled to within a couple of feet of the hole and Jolley couldn’t match that finish, resulting in Godfrey winning the hole and the match.
“I didn’t hit the ball super-well but I got around and made putts,” Godfrey said. “I just found a way to get it done.”
Godfrey’s tournament ended in the Round of 16 as he lost to Kyler Dunkle of the University of Utah, 2-and-1.
Dunkle will be Overson’s opponent in the quarterfinals, which is scheduled to begin at 7:40 a.m. Friday at Oakridge Country Club in Farmington. The winner of that match will advance to play in the semifinals on Friday afternoon.