We had such a good response from the players, we wanted to make it uniform. They enjoy the larger field. —Bill Walker
OGDEN — After making a major change last year in expanding the match play field to 64 golfers and adding an extra day to the schedule with a Saturday finish, the Utah State Amateur is making another change this year.
The 116th edition of the State Amateur will be played on two different courses, at least for the first two days, with Valley View Golf Course in Layton hosting half the field, while the main tournament venue, Ogden Golf and Country Club, will host the other half on Monday and Tuesday. Then once the match play begins on Wednesday, the rest of the tournament will be played at Ogden.
“Having the championship qualifier expanded to a second course will allow for more golfers to compete in Utah’s premier amateur championship,’’ said Bill Walker, executive director of the Utah Golf Association. Walker said using two courses is not an unusual idea, as big tournaments such as the U.S. Amateur are played on two separate facilities.
After holding the State Amateur at Soldier Hollow in recent years where a field of 288 could be accommodated because it was a 36-hole facility, the Utah Golf Association decided it could do the same thing this year and use Valley View, 15 minutes down U.S. 89, as a second qualifier course.
“We had such a good response from the players, we wanted to make it uniform,’’ Walker said. “They enjoy the larger field.’’
Defending champion BYU golfer Cole Ogden and Walker will tee off at 8:15 a.m. at Ogden along with former State Am runner-up Kirk Siddens and Mitchell Schow.
Some of the top amateurs playing in Ogden the first day are college golfers Brandon Kida, Gentry Hicks and Seokwon Jeon, as well as Kenny You, Austin Banz, Carl Jensen and Tommy Forsman. Among the former champions are Steve Borget, Todd Barker and Jason Wight.
Among those starting at Valley View are former champions Jon Wright, Mike McRae and Darrin Overson and top amateurs Robert McRae, Rhett Rasmussen, C.J. Lee, Devon Purser, Kai Ruiz, Dan Horner, Robbie Fillmore and Christian Jensen.
Some top amateurs such as BYU golfers Joe Parkinson, the 2010 champion, and Jordan Rodgers, are not competing because they are spending much of the summer playing in national amateur tournaments.
After 36 holes of medal play, the low 64 golfers will compete in match play beginning Wednesday morning. On Thursday, two rounds of matches will be played, with the quarterfinals and semifinal on Friday before a 36-hole final on Saturday.