Former SUU golfer Jacob Holt takes medalist honors into opening round of State Amateur match play

Published: Tuesday, July 8 2014 9:30 p.m. MDT

Updated: Wednesday, July 9 2014 8:16 p.m. MDT

Jacob Holt tees off on the second day of the Utah State Amateur Golf Tournament at the Ogden Country Club Tuesday, July 8, 2014, in Ogden.

Tom Smart, Deseret News

OGDEN — Perhaps the only thing that's hotter than the weather these days is Jacob Holt's golf game.

Holt, a Tooele native and recent graduate of Southern Utah University, put together a two-day total of 10-under-par 132 to take home medalist honors in this year's Utah State Amateur men's golf championship.

He shot a steady, bogey-free round of 2-under-par 68 on Tuesday at the Ogden Golf and Country Club. That, combined with his blistering 8-under 64 on Monday at the Valley View course in Layton, was good enough to give him the medalist title.

And though that's a mighty nice accomplishment to put on his resume, Holt has his sights set on a much, much bigger prize — the coveted State Am championship — in this weekend's 116th renewal of the oldest continuous golf tournament in the world.

"It's nice to have," Holt said of his medalist victory, "but most of anything I want to win match play. It's nice to be the medalist, but now it's a new tournament and I've got to get my focus back.

"Today I played a little more conservative, hitting my 3-wood and 3-irons off tees and trying to give myself looks (at birdies). But at the same time, par wasn't a bad score.

"(In Wednesday's match play) I guess it'll be a little more seeing what your opponent does, but also being a little more aggressive and trying to make a few more birdies," said Holt, who reached the match-play semifinals in last year's State Am and is counting on that positive experience to continue to prepare him for this year's event.

And after firing that first-round 64, he just tried to do a little more of the same in Tuesday's second round.

"Basically I just followed the same process, took it one shot at a time, and just whatever happened happened," he said. "I just kinda accepted all the results.

"Today I was just scrambling pretty good. I was chipping and putting really well, and that really helped. I didn't have too many balls off my irons but, whenever I did, I got 'em up and down and I didn't make a bogey.

"I made more putts yesterday. I putted really well (at Valley View on Monday); I hit the ball a little bit better, too, to give myself a few more better looks," Holt said.

BYU golfer Tommy Higham and another former BYU golfer, Devon Purser, who's now playing for Weber State, shared second place in the medalist race at 8-under 134.

Higham, who's 24 years old and a junior-to-be at BYU — "I'm an old junior," he admitted, having served an LDS Church mission to Australia — turned in a sparkling 4-under-par round of 66 on Tuesday at OGCC.

That, coupled with his 68 on Monday at Valley View, put him at 6-under 134 after the medal play portion of the tournament. Higham had a couple of bogeys, on Nos. 3 and 17, but he also sank three putts of 20-plus feet, including one to save par, to qualify him for match play for the second straight year.

"I've just been putting really well the past couple months," Higham said. "And so I was making all my putts. ... I think I just knew my game, rather than I was hitting it good. I just knew exactly where the ball was going to go."

Higham, who played the Ogden Country Club course seven years ago in the Junior America's Cup tournament, said he "just felt really comfortable and I really like the layout.

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