Utah PGA Professionals Win Governor’s Cup; UGA Ladies Secure Goddard Cup in Annual Ryder Cup Style Events

Every year the top Utah Section PGA Professionals and Utah Golf Association amateurs compete in the Governor’s Cup and Goddard Cup, a Ryder Cup styled event at TalonsCove Golf Course in Saratoga Springs, Utah.

For the first time since 2019, Team Utah PGA secured the Governor’s Cup earning 20.5 points to the UGA’s 10.5, earning one point per match Sept. 27th.

“I feel ecstatic about it,” Team Utah PGA Captain and Sunset View Head Pro Casey Fowles said. “It was fun to play like we did, it’s been a hard event for us, playing against the young kids, college kids and the others that are amazing players.”

The morning consisted of Foursome matches where the PGA Pros picked up a big lead, winning five matches out right and earning half-points it two other matches – earning a 6-2 lead going into afternoon Four-Ball and Singles matches.

The Utah PGA seniors Tracy Zobell, Ryan Rhees, Henry White and Paul Phillips took care of business, winning each of the Foursome and Four-Ball matches and only losing one Singles match.

Of the 24 points available in the afternoon matches, Utah PGA earned 15.5, leading to the 20.5 to 10.5 victory.

Highlighting the Four-Ball matches were Fowles and Bonneville Head Pro Jordan Gibbs, who defeated Utah State Amateur champion Zach Jones and top Utah junior golfer Cooper Jones 4&3.

Davis County Golf Professionals Zach Johnson and Dustin Volk also won their match against Brody Childs and Devin Tovey 4&3.

Gibbs won his Singles match against Cooper 5&4 while Rhees and Phillips also claimed 5&4 victories.

In the Goddard Cup, Team UGA essentially had control of the lead the whole day from the opening tee shots.

Team UGA had a clean sweep of the morning Foursome matches, earning a 3-0 lead. BYU freshman Sunbin Seo and Berlin Long won their morning match 6&5 over Golftec’s Xena Motes and Utah PGA’s Cassie Campos.

The Utah Section professionals made a surge in the afternoon Four-Ball and Singles matches with Motes and Utah Golf Hall of Fame member Sue Nyhus earning a point with a 4&3 victory over Seo and TalonsCove General Manager Kareen Larson, while Carly Dehlin-Hirsch, Motes, Nyhus and Campos all won their singles matches, earning another 4 points.

However, the UGA ladies earned key victories with BYU’s Adeline Anderson and Long winning their Four-Ball match and Sarah Salvo and Annette Gaiotti securing their Four-Ball point as well.

Anderson and Salvo’s afternoon play helped carry the UGA to a 7-5 victory over Team Utah PGA, their third win in four years.

“The Goddard and Governor’s Cups are such a fun day of camaraderie between the UGA and PGA,” said UGA Operations Manager Colin Clawson. “While we were disappointed that our three-peat bid fell short in the Governor’s Cup, we are thrilled to be able to bring the Goddard Cup back to the UGA. The ladies were disappointed last year so it was fun to see their excitement as they came out victorious.”

Governor’s Cup Results

Goddard Cup Results

Photo Gallery

Lanny Nielsen

Lanny Nielsen, 86, Passes Away

Thoughts and prayers from the Utah Section PGA to the Nielsen family during the passing of Lanny Nielsen, a PGA member sine 1963.

His obituary and Celebration of Life information is below:

Even at the ripe old age of 86, Lanny Nielsen’s passing on September 17, 2022 came much too soon. He was a charming, funny, sweet and immensely talented man who made friends with everyone he met. No one had more stories to tell, or enjoyed telling them more. And the countless people who loved him all have stories about him that will continue to be told for many years.

Lanny was born in Preston, Idaho and raised in Blackfoot, where he was a star athlete in most every sport. Golf, however, was his passion, first as a player at BYU, then as a professional and PGA Tour player, then as assistant pro at Hidden Valley, head professional at Wasatch Mountain State Park and the first director of golf at Jeremy Ranch. And starting in 1991, he even began contributing to the development of golf video games for Access Software and then Microsoft.

Lanny’s contributions to Jeremy Ranch were a source of great pride. He developed close relationships with Gerald Bagley, the course’s founder, as well as architects Arnold Palmer and Ed Seay, while the course was in the development stages. Through the 1980’s, he was the tournament director of The Shootout, a PGA Tour event hosted at Jeremy.

The other love of Lanny’s life was Claudia Cummings, who he married in 1984 and always said was “out of his league.” Claudia shared Lanny’s passion for both golf and having a good time. They bought a home on Jeremy Ranch and turned it into a beautiful, magical gathering place for friends, and both of them making sure everyone was having fun. As Lee Benson, their long-time friend once said, “Lanny’s real talent is kicking back. His greatest achievement was collecting friends. He had a gift of putting everyone at ease and making them feel important. He lived a life of tranquility.”

Anyone who had the pleasure of knowing Lanny would say he was one-of a-kind and there will never be another like him.

Lanny’s Celebration of Life will be at Jeremy Ranch Country Club Tues., Sept. 27th from 3:00 pm – 7:00 pm. Casual golf attire.

Easton Folster UGA

Easton Folster Named Utah Golf Association Executive Director

The Utah Section PGA congratulates Easton Folster on being named the new Utah Golf Association executive director. We are excited to work with him and continue our solid relationship with the UGA.

Sept. 20, 2022, Salt Lake City, Utah: Utah Golf Association (UGA) President Brian Hulse has announced Utah native Easton Folster as the new executive director effective immediately.  

Folster fills the executive director position left vacant with Jacob Miller’s move earlier this year to the United States Golf Association as a regional director. 

Hulse said, “The Utah Golf Association has a long history of excellence maintained by the commitment and dedication of its board members, volunteers and many talented executive directors. We are pleased to have Easton Folster continue that tradition as our new executive director. Our board and executive committee are excited about the future possibilities that Easton promises to bring to the UGA. His relationships with other stakeholders in Utah golf are an invaluable asset as we strive to meet the challenges faced by our organization and the game of golf in the coming years.”

Folster joined the UGA in February of 2018 as the director of rules and competitions, a position he held until 2022 when he became the assistant executive director under Miller. 

Miller said, “Easton has been a great addition to the UGA team since he started in 2018. He has a passion for the game and the Utah golf community.  It is wonderful to see him get the opportunity and he will be an excellent leader for the UGA for many years to come.“

Born and raised in Mapleton, Utah, Folster is a graduate of Springville High School. Prior to joining the UGA, Folster spent three years as the director of rules and competitions for the Sun Country Amateur Golf Association in Rio Rancho, New Mexico.

Prior to his golf industry career Folster attended Brigham Young University before earning a Bachelor of Arts Degree in Spanish from Campbell University in North Carolina. Less than two years later, Folster earned a Master of Professional Studies Degree in Sports Industry Management from Georgetown University in Washington D.C.. During his time in graduate school, Easton worked in the athletic departments at both Georgetown University and George Washington University. 

Folster discovered his passion for the golf business while working at the Virginia State Golf Association as a USGA Boatwright intern before accepting a full-time position with the Sun Country Amateur Golf Association.

Folster said, “I am honored to be selected as executive director of the Utah Golf Association. When I look at those that have come before me, I am humbled to follow the legacy they have established. The Utah golf community is strong and enjoys a cohesion not seen in many states. I look forward to collaborating with Utah’s allied golf organizations’ leadership to build upon important established traditions, while creating new ones. It will be important to me that the game remains accessible to the greater population of Utah, while looking for ways to introduce the game to new golfers. It is my hope that my time as executive director is remembered for expansion, inclusion, and community outreach.  

ABOUT THE UTAH GOLF ASSOCIATION: The Utah Golf Association is dedicated to growing and protecting amateur golf in Utah. The UGA provides its membership with official United States Golf Association handicapping services and conducts Utah’s amateur golf championships. The UGA is a 501(c)(7) not-for-profit organization whose objective is to promote interest in amateur golf without regard to race, color, or creed and to engage in educational and good will activities that grow the game. The UGA is recognized as a regional golf association of the USGA and as such conducts all local USGA qualifiers.


Owen Claims Utah PGA Professional Championship

Mountain View Head Professional Mark Owen won the 2022 Utah Section PGA Professional Championship at Toana Vista Golf Course in West Wendover, Nevada, with rounds of (-11) 68-65.

The victory, however, didn’t come without some dramatics on the final hole from the last two groups.

By the turn of the second round, Owen had caught first-round leader and current Rolex Utah Section PGA Player of the Year leader Casey Fowles. Fast forward to Owen’s 36th hole and he had the lead by one.

Hitting the green in regulation, Owen’s second putt slid by the hole, resulting in a bogey – finishing his second round in 7-under, 11-under total.

Fowles, playing in the final group came to his 36th hole needing a birdie to win and a par to tie. However, the Toana Vista 9th green also got to Fowles, forcing another three putt – resulting in a second-place finish for the Sunset View Golf Course head professional.

“I’m fortunate, that’s for sure,” Owen said.

Owen’s final round included an eagle, seven birdies and two bogies. He attributes the win to his putter after receiving a putting tip from his son a few weeks earlier. “As usual my putter (was working), I made putts. I didn’t hit it bad and I did keep it in play.”

Despite an unfortunate event of his bag falling off his cart, snapping his driver in two on the first tee box of round one, Owen kept the ball out of the Wendover desert off the tee and made a lot of putts to win his third Section Championship – his first coming in 2009 and his second coming 10 years prior in 2012.

“It’s fun to win, and win as a regular player and not as a senior. Although there are some many good senior players, I love winning as a senior, too.”

Owen also claimed the senior division and currently leads the Senior Rolex Player of the Year race with the victory.

Alongside the win, Owen qualifies for the 2023 PGA Professional Championship played in the spring at Twin Warriors & Santa Ana Pueblo Golf Clubs in New Mexico – the same location he’ll be competing in the Senior PGA Professional Championship later this fall.

Also qualifying for the PPC is Fowles, Matt Baird, Jordan Gibbs, Tommy Sharp and Zach Johnson. Steve Schneiter is also exempt to play as a past champion.

Scott Brandt won the super senior division with rounds of (-3) 69-72 and Ron Branca won the legend division with a (+4) 76-72.

As one of our favorite weeks of the year concludes, we owe a big thank you to the West Wendover Casino Group, which includes the Rainbow, Peppermill and Montego Bay hotels and casinos and the Peppermill Concert Hall for their accommodations and support of the Utah Section. Thank you to the staff of Toana Vista Golf Course as well for hosting every year.