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Stuart Johnson, Deseret News
Denny Job watches his ball after hitting from the rough along the second fairway on the Gold Course at Soldier Hollow Golf Course during the opening day of the Utah State Am golf tournament.

MIDWAY — They say records are made to be broken, but they probably didn't mean in rapid succession.

At the 110th Utah Men's State Amateur golf tournament at Soldier Hollow on Wednesday, the course record on the more difficult Gold Course took a tumble not once, but twice.

First, Dixie State's Andrew Barton broke Michael McRae's 2-year-old record 67 when he posted an afternoon 6-under 66 — a round that featured five birdies, an eagle and one bogey. The former Alta star even missed a 5-foot birdie putt on No. 18.

"I had a good look at a 65," Barton said. "I played almost flawless golf ... "

But even before Barton could get off the interview hot seat and enjoy his new course record, Utah State senior Devin Daniels established a new best with an 8-under 64. Daniels, who grew up playing Birch Creek golf course in Smithfield, had six birdies, two eagles and two bogeys. After turning the back side, his first nine, at 3-under 33, made eagle on the par-5 No. 2 by rolling in a 20-foot putt and then added an eagle on the par-5 seventh with another bomb from about 25 feet. To get into that position Daniels had to hit a 260-yard shot from a fairway bunker.

"My wedges were on and I had the putter going," Daniels said. "But the thing that really helped was I hit it well off the tee and put the ball in the fairway."

Heading into today's final 18 holes of medal play, Daniels leads Barton and BYU junior Robbie Fillmore by two. Fillmore's morning round of 6-under 66 featured six birdies, an eagle and two bogeys.

"I've worked hard. So it's nice to post a good round," Fillmore said.

Four back, after firing first-round 68s, are former Timpanogos High star Jeff Holmes, South Summit High sophomore Taylor Haws, Christian Jensen and relatively unknown Phil Kalivas.

Three golfers shot 69 — Zach Blair, John Owen and Steve Borget. Former champions Doug Bybee (70), Michael McRae (70), Darrin Overson (71) and defending champion Nick Nelson (72) each turned in a respectable score.

In total under ideal scoring conditions, 47 players shot even-par 72 or better Wednesday. Twenty-one more shot a 1-over par 73 and 18 more posted a 2-over 74. Following the completion of today's second medal round, the low 31 and Nelson (by virtue of last year's title) will advance to match play.

"I think the tournament really starts with match play," Fillmore said.

Early Wednesday most were predicting that today's cut will come at 1-over par 145. As low scores were consistently posted the prediction changed to even-par 144. Some, with so many players bunched at the top, think it will take at least a 36-hole score of 1-under 143 to advance to match play. Only once has the tournament had an under-par cut, and that came in 2001 at Wasatch State Park. In 2006, when the event was held at Soldier Hollow, the cut was 2-over 146.

All three of the leaders say their first goal is to make the match-play cut, which all three are in good position to do. However, if they remain in position to challenge for the medalist title they're not going to back down.

"I'm just going to play the golf course and try to pick it apart the best I can," Daniels said.

But every golfer atop the leaderboard says if they get too caught up in going for the medalist crown, they just might find themselves on the outside looking in come Friday.

"Right now I don't want to change the way I'm playing. I have to try to keep the same mindset," Barton said.

Fillmore advanced to the semifinals at Thanksgiving Point last year. Daniels and Barton are both seeking their first match-play appearance.


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