By Easton Folster, Director of Rules & Competitions for the UGA
Millcreek, UT – Utah continued its winning streak Tuesday as they successfully defended the cup at the Arizona-Utah Shootout.
This year’s event was contested at Flagstaff Ranch Golf Club, which provided a unique challenge for both teams. Players not only had to navigate the difficult course layout but also had to endure the challenging weather conditions – the combination of low temperatures and rain.
Randy Hicken, a veteran to this event, and one of the top-scoring players on the Utah team, thought the weather might have been an advantage for the Utah team – personally feeling unaffected by the cold temperatures. When asked how he played so well given the climate, he cited the importance of confidence and being prepared mentally.
Yet, it didn’t come easy for this Utah team as they won by the narrow margin of two points, 37-35. This year’s result has extended Utah’s current winning streak to nine straight years – dating back to 2009 when Utah last lost at Alpine Country Club. The tightest results in recent years came in 2016 when Utah won by a point, and in 2012 when both teams tied at 36 and Utah retained the cup.
The matches across the board were tightly contested as Utah won the morning foursome matches, 11-7; Arizona claimed the afternoon four-ball matches, 10-8; and the teams tied in the singles matches, 18-18.
Blake Murray, a newcomer to the event, lead Utah in scoring with 4.5 points. He swept his singles match, winning all three points available, while splitting his foursome and four-ball matches at 1.5 points apiece.
Murray said the key to his success was to put the pressure on his opponent by continually hitting fairways and greens, and staying out of trouble throughout the match.
Utah will be the host for the 2019 Arizona-Utah Shootout as they look to push their win streak to 10.
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