By Beaux Yenchik, UGA Intern
Millcreek, UT – Golf is much more than a white ball and a set of clubs; for some, it has signified a journey that has been filled with setbacks and difficulties. For others, it’s a reward for a lifetime of hard work.
Glenwild Golf Club was the final venue Wednesday for the three-day journey in crowing the Utah Senior State Amateur Champion(s). The Tom Fazio design put to test the best senior players, sifting out a champion for each of the three senior divisions. The 7,074-yard beast, tucked up Parley’s Canyon, demonstrated its beauty and awe as each hole offered spectator distractions to each golfer passing through.
“It is always a treat to host an event at Glenwild GC, as it is one of the state’s best courses,” Jacob Miller, Executive Director at the Utah Golf Association, said. “We appreciate Director of Golf Marty Bauer for allowing us to have our finals at his facility. Anyone who has had the opportunity to play at Glenwild GC knows it is one of the finest and most challenging courses in Utah.”
There is new sheriff in town as Brigham Gibbs (8) claimed his first Senior State Amateur title over last year’s defending champion, Brett Sampson (30).
In a match that lasted all 18 holes – the only one to do so of the day – didn’t exactly start off to well for the newly-appointed champion. Starting off with two bogeys, Gibbs found himself down two quickly. Bouncing back with a birdie on the third to win the hole, Gibbs would then go on to win four out of the next six holes – finishing 1 up after the front nine.
“Well it wasn’t a very good ball-striking or putting round,” Gibbs said. “I probably threw away five holes [due] to bad wedges.”
Being the competitor that he is, Sampson made a push of his own after being down as much as three through his first 11 holes. After making three straight pars and a birdie on holes 12-15, Sampson made the match all square with three holes to play.
Following Sampson’s pulled tee shot on 16 into the lake, Gibbs took control of the match and didn’t relinquish the lead again – claiming the trophy with a 1 up victory.
“I’m fortunate [Sampson’s] round was uglier than mine,” Gibbs said.
Having played five matches in three days, Gibbs proved he was the best by taking down a good group of golfers:
- Round one: Gibbs def. Curtis Cook (25), 2 and 1
- Round two: Gibbs def. Craig Wilson (9), 2 and 1
- Round three: Gibbs def. Randy Hicken (1), 2 up
- Round four: Gibbs def. Rich Stuart (12), 1 up
- Round five: Gibbs def. Sampson, 1 up
Heber Jacobsen (9) showed pure dominance in his finals match with No. 6 seed, Michael Wood.
Winning in impressive fashion – a 7&6 victory – Jacobsen came out firing as he won seven of the first eight holes of the match, never having to look back. Jacobsen put together three straight birdies during that impressive front-nine stretch – having shot a 1-under-par 35 if the format was stroke play.
Wood showed toughness and a no-quit attitude as he postponed the defeat as long as he could, stretching the match out to the 12th hole. With just not enough holes to play, Wood humbly accepted defeat at the hands of Jacobsen.
“It is a nice honor to win it,” Jacobsen said. “There are a lot of guys that are 65 plus that can hit the ball. It is fun to be the top dog for one tournament. I didn’t feel like I lit it up, but I played good enough.”
For Wood, this was a tournament that meant a great deal. After only starting to play golf again three years ago, Wood expressed how much this opportunity meant to him. Having sacrificed much in his life for the benefit of his family and others, taking the opportunity to do something he loved and find success in it, meant a great deal. Though finishing as the runner-up, Wood couldn’t have been happier.
“My family responsibilities [were] always larger than the game,” Wood said. “[I got] support from my friends, calling me up.”
Jacobsen’s route to victory was as follows:
- Round one: Jacobsen def. Jon Memmott (8), 5 and 4
- Round two: Jacobsen def. Michael Hacker (16), 2 and 1
- Round three: Jacobsen def. Doug Marriott (5), 1 up
- Round four: Jacobsen def. Wood, 7 and 6
It was a tale of two halves for the final group of the day between Aaron Kennard (13) and Scott Burt (10).
The front nine was dominated by the Kennard as he used his pops to his advantage – winning three of the first four holes of the match. After giving a hole back to Burt on the fifth, Kennard snagged another hole before the turn to claim a three-up lead.
Having the need to combat the sharp-shooter’ strategy of playing down the middle of the fairway, Burt needed something to help tilt the match in his favor. Facing a downhill lie from the back of the green on the par-4 13th, he decided his best option was to putt the ball to the hole – nailing the quick-paced putt by hitting the flag. Burt said this was the momentum changer he needed.
Burt came back with fury on the back nine as he won six of the first seven holes to claim a 3&2 victory.
Burt’s path to victory is as follows:
- Round one: Burt def. Rick Moore (7), 2 and 1
- Round two: Burt def. Shaun Houston (15), 3 and 2
- Round three: Burt def. Russ Christensen (6), 6 and 5
- Round four: Burt def. Kennard, 3 and 2
What a week it was as the best senior players in the state competed at three prestigious venues: Jeremy Ranch Golf and Country Club, Wasatch Mountain Lake Course and Glenwild GC. Impressive golf was on full display from the opening tee to the final putt.
Congratulations to the senior victors. Well done.
CLICK HERE for compete results of the tournament.