This was a great experience for me and will be very memorable. I finally put most of my good swings together until today, which was a little unfortunate, but it was still a lot of fun. —Preston Richards
Utah Valley University senior Preston Richards' impressive run at the 2014 State Am came to an end Saturday with a runner-up finish at the 116th Utah State Amateur. Richards finished just three shots back of the now two-time State Am Champion Jon Wright (2012 and 2014).
Richards, who entered the final 18 holes of play at the Ogden Golf and Country Club three shots back of Wright, put the pressure on the 43-year-old commercial real estate agent in the opening stages of the second round as he won holes 19 and 20 to cut the deficit to just one. Wright answered back, however, by taking three of the next seven holes to stretch his advantage to four-up, but back came Richards as he won holes 29, 31 and 33 to make it a two-shot deficit as the two entered the final three holes of play.
Wright then secured the victory on hole 34 as Richards mistakenly hit the wrong ball on his second shot of the hole. The hole was awarded to Wright which resulted in a 3-and-2 victory for the two-time champion.
"This was a great experience for me and will be very memorable," Richards said. "I finally put most of my good swings together until today, which was a little unfortunate, but it was still a lot of fun."
During his impressive tournament run, Richards knocked off Danny Hafen (former Weber State Wildcat), third-seeded Devon Purser (current Weber State Wildcat), Marty Jacks (former Weber State Wildcat), six-seeded Kurt Owen (former Weber State Wildcat) in the quarters and 17-year-old Kai Ruiz (BYU commit) in the semis.
Richards - a Sandy, Utah, native and a Jordan High School graduate - entered match play as the 35th seed where he went on to finish second out of 288 competitors.
Fellow Wolverine JT Timmons also advanced to the match play portion of the 2014 Utah State Am but was knocked out in the first round by Colton Dallimore (current Weber State Wildcat).
In the all-time history of the tournament, three golfers with ties to UVU have won the Utah State Amateur. Darrin Overson (1998), Clark Rustand (2004) and Nick Nelson (2007) are former State Am Champions who golfed and/or coached for the Wolverines.
James Warnick is an assistant sports information director at Utah Valley University. For more information about Wolverine athletics, visit WolverineGreen.com.