Tommy Sharp has already won the biggest amateur tournament in Utah, the Men's State Amateur in 2003, but he always wanted to add the second-biggest amateur tournament, the Richard C. Kramer Salt Lake City Amateur, to his collection.
It finally happened Sunday at Bonneville Golf Course, as Sharp survived a three-hole sudden-death playoff with Dan Horner, just before the sun disappeared in the West.
"I never thought I would win this one," Sharp said. "I played here every single day of the week (when I was younger) and I shot 67 on average and then came out here in the tournament and couldn't break par. Bonneville guys never had good luck in this tournament."
However, Sharp had some good fortune on Sunday as first-day leader Carl Jensen blew his four-stroke lead and finished with a 76 and then Horner missed a 4-foot putt on the third playoff hole to hand the victory to Sharp.
"This is definitely the one I wanted to win,"said Sharp, a 27-year-old personal banker from Salt Lake. "I hit the ball real good through 12 holes and then just hung on."
Sharp grew up in Salt Lake and prepped at Rowland Hall before playing college golf at Colorado State. He turned professional soon after college and winning the State Am, but didn't like it and regained his amateur status last summer.
Horner, a 30-year-old New Jersey transplant who played for Rutgers his bag read "Scarlet Knights" forced a playoff by hitting a great approach at the 18th hole and sinking an 8-foot birdie putt.
Both Sharp and Horner finished at 137 after shooting 67 and 68, respectively.
On the first playoff hole (par-5 No. 1), both players just missed eagle putts and each made great shots on the second playoff hole (No. 18) as Sharp got out of trouble with a second shot over the trees in the gully and Horner made a superb greenside chip shot from heavy rough.
At the third hole (No. 10), Horner's approach shot from 100 yards away in the rough, came up 10 feet short of the green, while Sharp put his approach within 10 feet of the hole. Horner hit a nice chip within four feet, but couldn't extend the playoff when his putt slid by on the right.
"I just kind of pushed it," Horner said.
Sharp said he thought he had made his birdie try, but it went right, which is what happened to Horner's putt.
"That's a tough putt late in the day," he said. "It breaks hard left to right."
For Jensen, who had lost to Sharp in the 2003 State Am finals, it was a tough day. He said he was pleasantly surprised to shoot 65 on Saturday after shooting a 90 last week. He started off with birdies on two of the first three holes, but then the wheels fell off on the back side.
He bogeyed No. 9 and lost the lead with back-to-back double bogeys at 14 and 15 and also bogeyed 17. He finished with a 76 and a 141 total in a tie for fifth place with Jeff Kitches.
"I couldn't ever get it going," said Jensen. "I just got nervous. I haven't played a whole lot of golf this year. Yesterday was a lot of fun but today I just started doubting myself and couldn't correct it. I was just hanging by a thread and then my shots just kept getting worse and worse."
Tyson Lund finished a stroke back at 138 after shooing a 68 Sunday. He also had a chance to get in the playoff, but his 25-footer on the final hole came up short. Two-time winner Kirk Siddens was fourth at 140.Patrick Waldram won A Flight with a 146 total, while Detlef Schwurack won B Flight at 152.
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