Randy Dodson, Fairways Media
MIDWAY — For Cole Ogden, it was just another triumph in what has been an outstanding summer of golf.
The 21-year-old junior-to-be at BYU won medalist honors Tuesday at the Utah State Amateur with a sparkling 5-under-par 67 on the Soldier Hollow Gold Course. Coupled with his opening-round 71 on the Silver Course, Ogden finished at 138, two strokes ahead of fellow BYU teammate Joe Parkinson and last year’s runner-up, Christian Jensen of St. George.
For Ogden it marked his fifth victory in 2013 to go along with wins at the Valley View Amateur, Glen Eagle Amateur, Dixie Red Hills Amateur and the amateur portion of the Provo Open. Additionally, he was one of the local qualifiers for the U.S. Open sectionals, and he missed qualifying for the U.S. Open by a single stroke.
“I’ve had a great summer,’’ he said. “Obviously it’s a nice accomplishment to be the medalist at the State Amateur. To be first place out of 288 golfers gives you a lot of confidence going into match play.’’
As nice as it is to be the medalist, Ogden knows the real tournament begins Wednesday when he and 63 other golfers tee it up in the match play portion of the tournament, which runs through Saturday. This marks the first year the tournament has qualified 64 players for match play after traditionally having 32 players for several decades.
Under the old format, the cut would have come at 147, but with the expanded match play field, the magic number was 150, where 14 players finished to play off for three spots.
Three players didn’t stick around for the playoff, so 11 golfers teed off at around 7:40 p.m., just after the sun had dipped below the mountain to the west of the golf course.
On the Silver Course No. 1 hole, Tyler Miner and Craig Wilson both made birdies to grab match play spots and the playoff continued until the third hole, where Brandon Hargett claimed the final spot with a par on the par-3 hole, knocking out Mike Jurca and Zachary Johnson just before it was too dark to play further.
Hargett, a 41-year-old from Springville, is a veteran of the Utah amateur circuit, playing in several State Amateurs over the years. He is a past Salt Lake City Amateur champion and just two weeks ago claimed the Art City Amateur.
“I’m playing well right now,’’ said Hargett, who could give defending champion and automatic No. 1 seed Jon Wright some trouble in their first-round match Wednesday morning.
Ogden got off to a roller-coaster start, going bogey-birdie-bogey-birdie on his first four holes before settling down. He made birdie at 17 (he started on the back) and after a bogey at 2, really got rolling on the front side with consecutive birdies at holes 3 through 7, including a near hole-in-one at the par-3 No. 5 hole.
Of those five birdies, all were on putts within 7 feet of the cup.
“I hit a lot of good wedges,’’ he said. “I played real solid today.’’
With 64 players for match play, the cut was higher than previous cuts at Soldier Hollow when the average cut score was 145. The playoff was similar to the 2011 tournament at Solider Hollow when 16 golfers played off for three spots in near-darkness.
Draper’s Jeff Jolley finished fourth at 141, followed by JT Timmons at 142. Defending champion Wright was in a group of five at 143 along with 2008 champion Dan Horner.
First-day leader Nick Smart was among nine players at 144 after a second-day 76, along with 2011 champion Jeff Evans and 2011 runner-up Stratton Schulz.
After the field is cut to 32 Wednesday, the tournament will follow the format of past years, although a day earlier, with two rounds Thursday, the quarterfinals and semifinals Friday and the 36-hole final Saturday.
Utah State Amateur Match Play pairings
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