It feels really good. This is one I’ve wanted to win for quite a long time, to be honest. —CJ Lee
SALT LAKE CITY — CJ Lee had just found out on the 18th tee that he was tied for the lead in the Richard C. Kramer Salt Lake City Amateur at Bonneville Golf Course. So Lee knew he needed to birdie at the final hole and hope two of his playing partners didn’t do the same if he wanted to go home with the trophy he had pursued the last four years.
With nobody close on the 18th green, it looked like the City Am was headed for a four-way playoff. But Lee stepped up to his 30-foot putt and watched as it broke slightly to the right before settling into the middle of the cup for the winning birdie.
That gave the 22-year-old senior-to-be at BYU the victory by one shot over first-day leader Carl Jensen, Ryan Brimley and Ariel Elftman-Hanson with a two-day total of 140.
“It feels really good,” said Lee as he sat in the Bonneville clubhouse with his trophy. “This is one I’ve wanted to win for quite a long time, to be honest. This is one of the majors in amateur golf in Utah. Yesterday I saw the names on the trophy and it’s pretty cool to be in that company.”
Lee was referring to players like Zac Blair, another former BYU golfer who is now on the PGA Tour, and Patrick Fishburn, a teammate at BYU who won the City Am last year.
Fishburn couldn’t play in the City Amateur seeing how he was busy Saturday — getting married. Last year, Lee finished in third place, two shots behind Fishburn, thanks to a triple bogey on the second hole. The two texted back and forth earlier this week about this weekend’s tournament.
“I was joking around and saying, ‘Hey man, I’ll defend your title this year’ and he was like ‘yeah, I hope you do.’”
On his winning putt, Lee said he first thought the putt would break left because of the big hill to his right.
“I knew everything breaks toward the valley. Initially you think it’s going to break left. I just trusted my instinct and was like, ‘you know what, as this dies it’s going to sneak toward the valley. My initial read was right cup and I switched to the left cup at the last second. It went in center cup thankfully.”
The 37-year-old Jensen had started the day with a two-shot lead and after bogeying the first hole, he made three birdies to extend his lead. However, he made a couple of double-bogeys, including a four-putt green and shot a 40 on the front, before rallying with a 34 on the back to get back in contention.
Elftman-Hanson is a native of Hawaii who plays for Utah Valley, while Brimley is a 28-year-old former basketball player for Southern Utah.
Zackary Neff finished fifth at 142, while Boston Watts was another shot back at 143.
Clark Jones won the A Flight with a 145 total, while 14-year-old Tyson Shelly captured the B Flight with a 155 total.
RICHARD C. KRAMER SALT LAKE CITY AMATEUR
Bonneville Golf Course Par-72
140 – CJ Lee (69-71)
141 – Ariel Elftman-Hanson (70-71), Carl Jensen (67-74), Ryan Brimley (70-71)
142 – Zachary Neff (70-72)
143 – Boston Watts (69-74)
144 – Devin Tovey (72-72), Peyton Hastings (70-74)
145 – Dan Horner (71-74), Kenny You (77-68), Preston Alder (71-74)
145 – Clark Jones (73-72)
151 – Ryan Kelly (74-77)
152 – Jason Struck (79-73)
153 – Tom Jones (80-73)
154 – Nathan Johnson (78-76)
155 – Tyson Shelley (74-81)
156 – Gary Witzel (82-74)
159 – Joel Furness (80-79)
161 – Scott Smith (77-84)
162 – Travis Howick (79-83)