Another day in the battle of the survival of the fittest at the 90th annual Men's State Amateur golf tournament has left us with this - three golfers who played for BYU this year, two who played for the University of Utah, a 16-year-old son of one of Utah's top professionals, a guy who sells golf equipment for a living and a marathon man who played an incredible 45 holes of golf in his two matches.
Just eight golfers are left out of the 150 who started the tournament Wednesday and they'll tee it up again bright and early Saturday morning in quarterfinal matches. Two semifinal matches in the afternoon will determine the two finalists for Sunday's 36-hole final.The elite eight are:
- Bruce Brockbank, the 24-year-old defending champion, who won the medal portion of this year's tourney.
- Doug Roberts, a 22-year-old native of Richfield who will be a junior for the University of Utah golf team.
- Rafael Ponce, a 25-year-old from Ecuador, who will be a senior at BYU in the fall. This is his first State Am.
- Brad Sutterfield, a 19-year-old who just completed a successful freshman year at BYU. He made the semifinals last year in his first State Am appearance.
- Rick McGarry, a 31-year-old who works as a salesman for Uinta Golf. After making it into match play seven times in nine years, he finally made it to the quarterfinals.
- Devin Dehlin, a 21-year-old from South Jordan, who will be a senior at the University of Utah. It is his second appearance in the quarterfinals.
- Tod Budge, a 26-year-old from Logan, who played briefly on the Utah State golf team. He's the guy who played 45 holes in winning two matches.
- Joseph Summerhays, the 16-year-old son of Wasatch Mountain pro and former State Am champ Bruce Summerhays.
In today's matchups it will be Brockbank vs. Roberts at 8 a.m., Ponce vs. Sutterfield at 8:08 a.m., McGarry vs. Dehlin at 8:16 a.m. and Budge vs. Summerhays at 8:24 a.m.
Perhaps the most interesting match of the day could be the last one between Budge and Summerhays. They are certainly the two most unlikely quarterfinalists. Young Summerhays is playing in his first-ever State Amateur and he is believed to be the youngest quarterfinalist since Jimmy Blair in the early 1970s.
After making it into match play with a 144 total, Summerhays defeated St. George's John McArthur 3 and 2 in the morning, before coming from behind to beat Ogden's Shayne Henry in the afternoon in 19 holes.
"It's pretty amazing, I don't know if it has sunk in yet," said Summerhays, who said his pre-tournament goal was to make it to the quarterfinals.
Coincidentally, his father won his only State Am title on the same Oakridge course in 1966. Did Bruce have any advice for his son? "He just told me to play my own game and not worry about the other guy," said young Summerhays.
Budge, who was playing match play for the first time Friday, went an incredible 27 holes to defeat Oakridge regular and WAC individual champion Matt Johnson in the morning. Then after a short break, he took on Ogden's Rob Despain and won on the 18th hole, 1 up.
"I'm glad it's over," said the weary Budge.
After topping the field with his 136 total in medal play Wedneday and Thursday, Brockbank increased his lifetime record in State Am play to 15-3 with a pair of 4 and 2 victories, over Spence Ahrend and Jack Kennally Friday.
"I didn't putt as well today, but I hit the ball really well," said Brockbank, who modestly added, "Either match could have gone the other way."
Brockbank was tied after 10 holes in the morning before going birdie-eagle at 11 and 12 and again at 15 and 16. In the afternoon, he was just 1-up after 10 when he again won 11 and 12 before sewing it up with a birdie at 16.
Roberts, who was a regular for the WAC champion Utes this year, knocked off Mitch Hyer, who won the State Am when it was last at Oakridge in 1979, 4 and 3 in the morning. In the afternoon he had to struggle with Kurt Nielson, who had upset Todd Barker in the morning.
After tying the match at 17, Roberts halved the 18th and then won on the first playoff hole by chipping in for eagle from 25 feet.
"That's the most pressure I've felt in a long time," said Roberts. "Match play is so different from stroke play. Today was the first time I've won a match."
Ponce had the most decisive victory of the day with a 7 and 6 thrashing of Chris Jones in the morning, when he was 5-under-par. He was more inconsistent in the afternoon when he couldn't shake 1980 finalist Jerry Rose until the 17th when Rose three-putted.
"I like match play," said Ponce. "The South American tournaments are all match play, so it gives me a lot of confidence."
Sutterfield had his driver working well all day as he missed just one fairway in 31 holes. He's a little wary of playing his college teammate, who he has played with on numerous occasions.
"If you lose, you feel bad, but if you win, you feel bad," he said.
After defeating David Cassidy 3 and 2 in the first round, McGarry found himself quickly down by 3 to Kury Reynolds after just 5 holes. But he won 6, 10, 11, 12, 14 and 15 for a comeback win.
The only problem with winning two matches was that McGarry has to postpone his trip to Jackson Hole for the U.S. Publinks tournament. It starts Monday and he was going to drive up Friday night to get in some practice rounds before it starts.
"I'm really excited for the Publinks, but I can't look past this tournament," he said.
Dehlin had a pair of 3 and 2 victories, over Jeff Hansen in the morning and over Mike Borich in the afternoon. The key to his afternoon win was a 40-foot putt he sank at No. 9, which he followed with two more birdies. Besides Barker, other notables who were eliminated early were Kurt Bosen by Henry 2 and 1, Jon Baker by Kury Reynolds 3 and 2 and Brett Taylor by Borich 3 and 1.