SALT LAKE CITY — Putting turned out to be the deciding factor in Sunday’s Richard Kramer Salt Lake City Amateur golf tournament at Bonneville Golf Course.
Mason Casper made his putts coming down the stretch, while his top competitors missed theirs, allowing Casper to walk away with the trophy in one of Utah’s most prestigious amateur golf events.
Casper, who recently finished up a successful collegiate career at Utah Valley University, sank a huge 25-foot birdie putt at the 16th hole and a clutch 3-foot knee-knocker at the final hole to finish with his second-straight 69 and a two-day total of 138.
That was a stroke better than former State Amateur champion and 2010 City Am champion Zac Blair and two shots better than three other golfers. Six other golfers, including first-day leader Jon Wright, were bunched at 141.
For the 25-year-old Casper, a grandson of golfing great Billy Casper, it was the first time he had played in the City Am, but not because he never wanted to.
“I always wanted to play in it, but I always sign up too late,’’ Casper said. “It feels great — it’s one of the bigger (amateurs) in the state, so it’s nice to win it.’’
Casper had started strong with an eagle-3 at the first hole and was 4-under through five holes. But a double bogey at No. 6 dropped him back and when he came to the 16th hole, he was still 2-under on the day and 5-under for the tournament.
That put him in a tie with his playing partner Wright and a shot behind Blair, who recently concluded a successful career at BYU. Blair had been in control of the tournament, but bogeyed No. 15 and didn’t make birdie at the par-5 16th hole. He also bogeyed No. 18.
After a “flubbed” chip at 16, Casper had 25 feet for birdie, while Wright had 5 feet. However, Casper rolled his in while Wright lipped his out, giving Casper the edge.
Up ahead at 18, Blair hit his 35-footer 5 feet short and then missed that one to fall back a stroke. All Casper had to do, after parring 17, was to par 18. He hit his approach shot pin high 30 feet away. He left his next shot about 3 1/2 feet short, but calmly rolled it in for the win.
“I made it a little more difficult than it should have been,’’ he said.
BYU golfer Justin Keiley, Mike Jurca and 15-year-old Rhett Rasmussen all tied for third at 140.
Wright, who was leading much of the day, lamented one of his “worst putting days ever” that included 10 missed putts under 10 feet and seven under 5 feet, including each of the last four holes.
“It was comical,’’ said Wright, the reigning State Am champion and 2009 City Am winner. “It’s frustrating to finish like that.”
The A Flight winner was Troy Creer at 146, while Daemon Wathen won B Flight at 159.
Richard Kramer Salt Lake City Amateur
Par-72 Bonneville Golf Course
138 -- Mason Casper (69-69)
139 – Zac Blair (70-69)
140 – Justin Keiley (68-72), Mike Jurca (72-68), Rhett Rasmussen (70-70)
141 -- Jeff Jolley (70-71), Jon Wright (68-73), Kenny You (68-73), Scott Clark (71-70), Carl Jensen (72-69), Matthew Speppanen (72-69)
142 -- Conner Jones (71-71)Comment on this story
143 -- Dana Nelson (71-72), Thomas Forsman (70-73), Jonathon Thomas (72-71), Kirk Siddens (73-70), Mike Branca (74-69), Brecken Varah (71-72)
144 – Gentry Hicks (74-70), Andrew Barton (71-73), Casey Halliday (70-74)
146 – Troy Creer (76-70)
150 – Brady Watkins (75-75)
151 – Jeff Campbell (74-77), Pat Waldram (74-77)
152 — Warren Schroer (74-78), Jim Vannyhuis (75-77), Jim Soto (75-77)
159 – Daemon Wathen (82-77)
163 – Mitch Creer (79-84)
165 – Dalton Driggers (81-84)
166 – Richard Love (81-85), Brett Wilson (77-89)
168 – Todd Albiston (86-82)