By Jay Drew, Deseret News
BYU golfer Kerstin Fotu wasn’t able to successfully defend her 2019 Utah Women’s State Amateur title last month, losing in the semifinals to eventual champion Grace Summerhays at Soldier Hollow Golf Club in Midway.
Seemingly unfazed, Fotu jumped out to the lead on Monday in the fourth annual Siegfried & Jensen Utah Women’s Open at Thanksgiving Point Golf Club. Fotu, a Lone Peak High product who will be a sophomore at BYU this fall, fired a 2-under-par 70 and leads fellow amateur Tess Blair by a stroke heading into Tuesday’s final round.
Blair, a Bingham High product who was the Big Sky Conference Player of the Year and Freshman of the Year at Sacramento State last season, is at 71. She’s followed by professionals Lea Garner and Sadie Palmer, and amateurs Lila Galea’i and Ali Mulhall at 72.
Garner, the two-time winner of the event, is a former BYU and Bonneville High golfer who plays mini-tour events throughout the West.
University of San Francisco golfer Annika Borrelli, the 2019 champion, is not entered this year.
Five golfers shot 1-over-par 73 and are tied for seventh. That group is made up of Salt Lake City pro Haley Sturgeon, Ogden pro Xena Motes, BYU golfer Naomi Soifua, Las Vegas amateur Veronica Joels and Orem amateur Kiselya Plewe, a Weber State standout.
Fotu, from Highland, made a bogey on her first hole but birdied hole Nos. 5 and 7 to gain some momentum. She bogeyed No. 9, then got back under par with a birdie on No. 14 and finished with a birdie on the difficult par-3 17th hole to take the first-round lead.
Photos by Utah Section PGA/Jesse Dodson.