(Photo of SUU's Ali Hameed during round one)
By Beaux Yenchik, UGA Intern
Fruit Heights, UT – It was déjà vu on day two at the Utah State Amateur as student-athletes littered the top of the leaderboard.
As the field swapped sites for round two, a sense of added pressure loomed over Davis Park Golf Course and Oakridge Country Club. With match play on the horizon, the need for an impressive round Tuesday was felt throughout the championship. Some rose to meet the challenge; others faltered by the wayside, succumbing to the magnitude of the moment.
Blake Tomlinson, the leader after round one, matched his score of 64 by doing it again Tuesday to finish at 15 under par, this time at Oakridge CC. Tomlinson, one of the University of Utah’s upcoming stars, went bogey-free as he poetically scripted six birdies and an eagle on what may be the harder of the two courses. Having only dropped one shot on the first two days, Tomlinson will enter match play as a favorite to win the 120th State Amateur.
Yet, lurking in the shadows from a short distance are players like Davis High senior Cole Ponich (-11), Dixie State’s Jayce Frampton (-11), and SUU Thunderbird Fidel Concepcion (-10) – each finishing just a few strokes behind Tomlinson in the stroke-play portion of the tournament.
A sub-storyline in yesterday’s events came following play – a 12-man playoff, from those finishing at 3 over par, raced off into the evening for the last-seven positions for day three. Ali Hameed, Andrew Cottle, Ron Davis, Triston Gardner, Preston Wallace, last year’s runner-up Braydon Swapp and Jack Sargent were the lucky seven who lasted the three-hole playoff.
Of the nine-former champions to play in this week’s field, only four advanced to the round of 64: Kelton Hirsch (2017), Dan Horner (2008), Darrin Overson (1998) and Brad Sutterfield (1992). Jon Wright (2012 & 2014 winner) and Mike McRae (2005 winner) were eliminated in the playoff.
Carly Dehlin’s run as the only female in the field came to end Tuesday as she went 77-78 to finish at 12-over-par. The Utah Valley University’s star was just the third female in Utah history to make it into the State Amateur.
Now as the field moves into the match-play portion of the event, strategy changes as players now face each other head-on.
For complete results of round two and live-continuous scoring from round three, CLICK HERE.