Another edition of the Utah Senior Open has been completed, this year celebrating the long-time PGA Professional and retired Timpanogos Golf Club Head Pro Kean Ridd as the event’s honoree at Toana Vista Golf Course in Wendover July 28-29th.
A year after senior division sophomore Mark Owen finished as low pro, the Mountain View Head Pro returned to Wendover and left with not only low pro honors, but overall champion as well.
Owen finished the first round with a (-5) 67, tied at the top with Gladstan Head Pro Tracy Zobell. But a (-2) 70 in the final round separated Owen from the pack to win the championship, finishing at (-7) 67-70 – 137 total.
“This was an important one,” Owen said of winning the event. “One of my really good friends Joey Bonsignore passed away a few years ago, he was really good friends with the Ridds. When Kean was named honoree for this this tournament, I thought this would be a good one to win. I always look forward to this one, I seem to play well here and I look forward to the competition.”
Bloomington Director of Golf Scott Brandt won the super senior division with consistent play of (-4) 70-70 – 144 and tied for second overall with Zobell.
Roy Christensen won the legend division with a (+4) 71-77 showing and Brigham Gibbs was the low-am finishing fourth with rounds of (E) 74-70.
Thank you to Kean Ridd for a special career in golf and the Utah Section PGA, specifically. Thank you to the Utah Golf Association, Toana Vista Golf Course Head Pro Charles Clinton and Superintendent Mel Duke.
And thank you to Gary Lewis, Jacky Price and Brian Ray from the Wendover Casino Group for making this event possible every year.
The culmination of the 2021 Utah PGA Junior Series Major season came down to the Promontory Major Championship, played July 26th on the Dye Canyon Course in Park City, with two entries into the Siegfried & Jensen Utah Open and Utah Women’s Open on the line.
Spots were awarded to the champion of the boys and girls 15-18 divisions at Promontory and the season-long points leader as the Majors Player of the Year
KJ Ofahengaue’s highest score in the 2021 Majors was a 70. With such stellar play, it is to no surprise that he won the boys Majors Player of the Year and entry into the Utah Open at Riverside Country Club August 20-22nd.
“I know it’s very competitive,” Ofahengaue said about the Utah Open. “My goal is to go into it and try to prove myself and show that I can compete with the best golfers in Utah.”
To go along with Major Player of the Year, Ofahengaue shot (-2) 70 to win the boys 15-16 division at Promontory and finish runner-up in the boys 15-18 division.
It was Willard Richards’ (-3) 69 that won the boys Promontory Major Championship and the other exemption into the Utah Open.
A strong finish for Richards proved to be the difference, finishing two-under the last three holes to win by one and claim his first Utah PGA Junior Series Major victory.
“I just gave myself a lot of chances for birdies and was in play pretty much on every hole,” Richards said.
“Anytime you can play in a big tournament, it’s a lot of fun,” he said about his Utah Open exemption. “it gives you something to focus on and a chance to play with the best and show off your skills.”
Ellie DeMond’s game has proved consistent throughout 2021 and it shows by taking home the girls Major Player of the Year trophy and an exemption into the Siegfried & Jensen Utah Women’s Open, played August 9-10 at Thanksgiving Point Golf Club.
DeMond won by a mere 15 points over Cheyenne Hansen, who qualified for the Utah Women’s Open in 2020.
“I feel like I accomplished a lot,” DeMond said about earning a spot in the Utah Women’s Open. “It feels really good to win Player of the Year, I felt like overall I played good this year. I came into every tournament with the mentality to win.”
Staying true to the narrative of the Majors this year, the girls 15-18 Promontory Champion decision came down to a playoff between Navy Wood and Jacklyn Gonzalez, who both finished at (+5) 77.
Gonzalez found some trouble off the tee which proved to be the difference has Wood found the fairway.
Wood proceeded to find the greenside bunker on the par-five 10th hole, and successfully got up-and-down for par – forcing Gonzalez to make a 20-foot putt, which barely missed.
“I was nervous, so nervous,” Wood said about the playoff. “I was shaky, just trying to breathe.”
Wood looks forward to the experience of playing in the Utah Women’s Open as she prepares for college golf in Idaho.
Winning the girls 15-16 division with a (+6) 78 is Pati Uluave, earning her first Major championship victory.
“I’m so excited, this is my first win in a major championship,” Uluave said. “My putting helped a lot today, I was able to drop a lot of 15-footers.”
Rounding out the younger divisions was Jack Summerhays, who won the boys 13-14 division with an even-par 72 to earn his first Utah PGA Junior Series Major victory.
“It feels amazing to win, it’s really awesome to be here. It’s an awesome opportunity,” Summerhays said. “I putted lights out on the first 15 holes. Started off a little rough with a bogey on the first hole, but then the putter was really good.”
The winner of the girls 13-14 division is no stranger of first place – going for a clean sweep in all four Utah PGA Junior Series Majors, Kate Walker wins once again with a (+4) 76 at Promontory.
“I’ve improved a lot since last year,” Walker said. “It was awesome playing Promontory today.”
A big thank you to Ryan Kartchner, A.J. Fetsko and Drew Kouns at Promontory for hosting our Major Championship, providing an excellent venue to the close of the 2021 Major season.
The 2021 Utah County Rumble Major, played July 19-20 at Timpanogos Golf Club in Provo and The Oaks in Spanish Fork, not only sent juniors to the season-ending Utah PGA Junior Series Promontory Major Championship, but also to the Faldo Hurricane Series Grand Final, which will be aired on CBS.
The top two finishers of the boys and girls 15-18 divisions earned the spots to play The Dye Course at Barefoot Resort on October 18-19 in North Myrtle Beach, South Carolina – hosted by Nick Faldo.
It’s no surprise that in the boys 15-18 qualifying division, a playoff was needed to determine the champion, even when Perry, Utah’s Dyson Lish commanded the first round at Timpanogos with a (-8) 64.
Lish held his ground the second day, finishing tied with KJ Ofahengaue at 6-under for the event. Both earned the qualifying spots for the Faldo Series, but a three-hole playoff was needed to determine the overall and Boys 15-16 Utah County Rumble champion.
With pars on the first playoff hole, Lish drained a 35-foot par putt to stay alive with Ofahengaue in tap-in range on the second playoff hole. To close it out, he made another significant putt for birdie to win from about 15 feet.
“I’m pretty pumped right now,” Lish said about qualifying for the Faldo Hurricane Final.
“I was pretty relieved,” he said about the winning putt dropping, “I didn’t want to keep playing more playoff holes.”
No playoff was needed for the girls qualifying division with 2021 Drive, Chip & Putt champion Ali Mulhall going wire-to-wire to qualify and to win the girls 15-16 Utah County Rumble Major.
Mulhall had rounds of 73-74 to finish two-over for the event.
“It’s exciting, it’s going to be a fun tournament,” Mulhall said about the Grand Final. “It’s at a really nice golf course so I’m excited to go play. Anytime you get to play on TV, you know it’s pretty good.”
Mulhall will leave Saturday for Kentucky to compete in the Girls Junior PGA Championship, which she qualified for by winning the Utah Junior PGA Championship at Solider Hollow.
The second qualifying spot for the girls goes to Jacklyn Gonzalez, a Utah Valley University women’s golf commit from San Antonio, Texas.
With rounds of (+8) 78-75 she also won the girls 17-18 Utah County Rumble Major and redeemed herself after losing in a playoff in the same event in 2020.
“It felt great to win this year, I loved getting a second run at this course,” Gonzalez said.
“I’m so excited to qualify, I’ve heard so many good things about the course and the opportunities that come after playing the event,” she said about the Hurricane Grand Final.
Jack Kuemmel narrowly missed out on a qualifying spot because of a double on his 72nd hole, but with rounds of (-5) 69-70, he won the boys 17-18 division and now has his sights on winning the Promontory Major Championship to qualify for the Siegfried & Jensen Utah Open.
“It was my first Major of the year, so it’s nice to get a one-and-done to get into Promontory,” Kuemmel said. “I haven’t been up there, so I’m excited to go. The new goal is to win and get into the Utah Open.”
In the girls and boys 13-14 divisions, getting into Promontory was the end-goal of the Utah Country Rumble Major, as this was the last chance to qualify.
Kate Walker of St. George, earned a hat trick in the Majors this year, winning her third Major with rounds of (+6) 76-75.
“I’ve worked hard for it,” Walker said about her three Utah PGA Junior Series Major victories. And with plans to play at Promontory, we’ll see if she can go for a clean sweep in Majors.
To round out the event it was Tyse Boman who earned his first Major victory with rounds of (+3) 75-72 to win the boys 13-14 division.
“It feels good, I’m happy,” Boman said about his win.
The Promontory Major Championship will be played Monday, July 26th in Park City with exemptions into the Utah Open and Utah Women’s Open on the line for the Majors points winners and the champions at Promontory in the boys and girls 15-18 divisions.
Best of luck to Lish, Ofahengaue, Mulhall and Gonzalez in the Faldo Hurricane Series Grand Final, Utah will be well represented.
Finally, thank you to Timpanogos Head Pro Brett Watson and The Oaks Head Pro Ryan Rhees for hosting and allowing our juniors to play great courses!
With the second Utah PGA Junior Series Majors in the bag, as the 36-hole Valley View/Davis Park Major concluded on July 1st, several juniors punched their tickets to the season-ending Promontory Major Championship, and a few are that much closer to the exemptions awarded into the 2021 Siegfried & Jensen Utah Open and Utah Women’s Open.
Tanner Telford and Willard Richards were neck-and-neck after the first round at Valley View, both carding a (-4) 68. It would remain a tight race until the end.
Telford’s (-7) 64 at Davis Park was just one-shot better than Richard’s 65. One shot is all it takes as Telford finished birdie, par, birdie his last three holes.
“It was a lot of fun out there, being close with Willard. It was fun to compete with him. I knew we were right there together until the last hole, it was close.”
With a T4 finish in the Glenmoor Major and the victory at Valley View & Davis Park, Telford is in first place in the Majors’ points race. Finishing first in points at the end of the season would provide a ticket into the Utah Open. Another way in is to win the Promontory Major Championship.
There’s certainly never a bad time to win a golf tournament, but Carly Belliston certainly picked a good time to notch her first win.
With rounds of (+3) 85-74 Belliston played her way into a playoff with first-round leader, and Glenmoor Major winner, Millie Terrion. A par on the first playoff hole, Davis Park’s 9th hole, was all it took for Belliston to become a Utah PGA Junior Series Major champion.
“It feels really good, this is a personal record for me today, so it’s a good day.” Belliston said. “I was feeling really nervous (in the playoff). Millie is such a good player, so it’s fun to have that high competition.”
Extra holes would become a theme of the final round at Davis Park, as half of the divisions ended in playoffs, including KJ Ofahengaue and Carter Papke as they finished 5-under after 36 holes.
Ofahengaue, who won the Glenmoor Major, finished regulation with a pitch-in eagle on the 17th hole and a birdie on 18. He would continue his strong play into the playoff by driving the green on Davis Park’s first hole and two putting for birdie.
“I knew I was tied going into the last hole and I knew I needed a birdie on 18. He drove the green (and birdied) so I was just trying to build on my momentum,” Ofahengaue said. “My game is in a good spot right now.”
Madalyn Hadley started the Major off strong at Valley View with a (+1) 73 and never looked back.
With a final-round 75 at Davis, she won the Girls 15-16 division by four strokes over Ellie DeMond (+9) and by six over third-place finisher Ashley Lam (+11).
“It feels really good,” Hadley said about her win, “my game has been struggling lately a little bit, but I played well the last two days so I’m proud of myself.
“I love playing Promontory, it’s a great course to play and a great opportunity.”
Starting the final-round two shots behind leader Max Landon, Cayson VanBeekum posted a (-5) 66 to climb his way into a playoff with Landon, who shot a final-round 68. Both made lengthy, clutch birdies on the 36th hole to force an extra hole.
It was the approach shots in the playoff that made the difference on the dogleg-left 9th hole. VanBeekum knocked it close while Landon flew the pin to the back of the green.
A two-putt par was all that was needed for VanBeekum to claim the Major.
“It was pretty nerve-wracking making the 15-footer on 18 for birdie to tie Max, but then in the playoff, that was probably the most nerve-wracking par putt I’ve ever had to make,” VanBeekum said.
Kate Walker from St. George has a unique opportunity to make a clean sweep of wins in the Girls 13-14 Majors this year, collecting another win at the Valley View/Davis Park Major, following her win at Glenmoor in June.
With rounds of (+24) 90-77, Walker took another trophy home and continued to accumulate the Major Player of the Year points.
“I had a bad first day, but it’s all about coming back, which I did today,” Walker said.
Campbell Kato (+38) was runner-up while Natalie Mclane (+39) was 3rd and Remi Rawlings (+51) 4th.
The next Utah PGA Junior Series Major will be the Utah County Rumble played at The Oaks at Spanish Fork and Tmpanogos Golf Club on July 19-20. The Promontory Major Championship will be played July 26th.
Thank you to Valley View, Davis Park, Davis County Directory of Golf Dustin Volk and Head Professionals Pete Stone and Zach Johnson for being gracious hosts and providing their excellent golf courses for our event.