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Sharp Low Pro at Southern Utah Open

As the year winds down, local tournament playing opportunities become far and in-between, which is why the 2019 Southern Utah Open, hosted by SunRiver Golf Club and Head Professional Larry Ricketts, saw a large amount of Utah Section professionals taking advantage of the opportunity to play and make it a long weekend before the Pro-Assistant Championship began the following day.

Golf Lab Teaching Professional Tommy Sharp won the Professional Division and the first-place check with a (-4) 70-68, outlasting Joe Summerhays and defending champion Justin Keiley by one stroke.  Sharp birdied his last-three holes to make it happen.

Sharp shot a (-1) 70 in the first round and was trailing Summerhays and Keiley by one stroke. A one-stroke lead isn’t much going into the final round, but a slow start in the final round wasn’t helping.

“Overall, I really hit the ball well and actually was getting very frustrated in the middle of my round that I couldn’t make any putts,” Sharp explained.

“With eight holes to play, I set a goal of playing my final-eight holes in four-under to have any chance of winning and luckily I did it… I birdied my final-three holes and got some help from them (Summerhays and Keiley).

“It felt great to win the pro side of the Southern Utah Open as it was my first victory in the calendar year, even though the points go for next season,” Sharp continued.  “On a funny note, my six-year-old son had been giving me a hard time recently by saying ‘Dad, you haven’t won a tournament in so long’ with extra emphasis on ‘so long.’ After the round, I called him first to tell him and he was quite excited.”

This may be Sharp’s first win in the 2019 season, but with consistent, steady play in his 14-events played, including a second-place finish in the Section Sidebar of the 2019 Siegfried & Jensen Utah Open, Sharp will finish fourth in the Omega Player of the Year race.

Bloomington Country Club’s Scott Brandt held a one-stroke lead in the Pro Senior Division over The Oaks Head Pro Ryan Rhees after the first round with a (-2) 69. Brandt would go on to a five-stroke win with a second-round 69, with birdies on his final-two holes for good measure.

Quintin Sasser claimed the Super Senior Division after trailing first-round leader Henry White by one stroke. Sasser’s 72 in the final round was steady enough to finish one-over and win by two strokes.

A first-round 64 propelled St. George’s Hayden Christensen (a) to a two-stroke lead over close friend Caden Hamill (a) in the first round. but it was an eagle on the par-five 17th hole in the final round that proved just enough to win the whole thing. Christensen shot rounds of (-8) 64-70 to claim the 2019 title.

Full Results.

Fisher and Sturgeon

Fisher and Sturgeon Win the 2019 Utah Section PGA Pro-Assistant Championship

There is a first time for everything, and for The Country Club’s Wayne Fisher and Haley Dunn-Sturgeon it was the theme for their 2019 Utah Section PGA Pro-Assistant Championship victory on November 18-19 at Bloomington Country Club and Sunbrook Golf Club.

“I am ecstatic,” Fisher said about the win. “I’ve heard so much about how she (Sturgeon) plays. This is actually our first time playing together. We came down not knowing how each of us played. I got to watch her and play Bloomington for the very-first time ever, so it’s been a couple days of firsts.”

Fisher and Sturgeon got off to a quick start at Bloomington in the first round with a (-12) 60. At one point, starting on the 13th hole in the shotgun start, The Country Club duo birdied seven holes in-a-row.

Sturgeon shot a career-low (-9) 63 on her own ball in the Fourball format, maintaining her good play from the Utah Section Women’s Match Play Championship.

“Putting, I made putts from everywhere,” Sturgeon said. “I was striking the ball well, putting well and to shoot 63, it was incredible. Career low, first bogey-free round, a lot of firsts down here.”

“I think the country club is going to be ecstatic,” Fisher continued. “This is above and beyond, we’ve talked about coming down. I used to come down with Mr. Branca, but it’s been quite a few years so it’s nice to represent TaylorMade because TaylorMade has been fantastic to me over the years so I’m thrilled that I get to represent this.”

Fisher and Sturgeon shot a second-round (-4) 68 for a 128-tournament total, which barely outlasted the charging Bloomington team of Scott Brandt and Jed Wright, who shot a final round (-10) 62 to finish one-stroke back at 129.

St. George Golf Club’s James Hood and Cameron Hamill, a new associate in the Utah Section, won the Net Division with a (-20) 62-62 – 124 to win by one-stroke over three other teams tied at 125.

“We just ham-and-egged it,” said Hamill. “James made a couple of good putts on our last few holes and got it done.”

“We didn’t make too many mistakes at the same time,” Hood added “We saved ourselves on a couple of holes and took advantage of some good shots.”

We owe Phil Deimling of TaylorMade and Jeff Smith of Adidas a huge thank you for supporting the Section in being sponsors of this year’s Pro-Assistant Championship. They treat our membership well and we’re lucky to have them.

Another thank you goes to Bloomington Country Club and Sunbrook Golf Club for allowing us to use their facilities and play their courses. It was a fitting end to a great year of tournaments.

Full Results

Photos

PORT ST. LUCIE, FL - OCTOBER 3: Zach Johnson hits out of a bunker on the fourth hole during the first round for the 43rd National Car Rental Assistant PGA Professional Championship held at the PGA Golf Club on November 14, 2019 in Port St. Lucie, Florida. (Photo by Hailey Garrett/PGA of America)

Zach Johnson Leads at the National Car Rental Assistant PGA Professional Championship

By Pat Kravitz, PGA of America

Farmington, Utah’s Zach Johnson carded a bogey-free, 5-under 67 to gain a one-stroke lead after 18 holes of the National Car Rental Assistant PGA Professional Championship.

University of Minnesota Assistant Golf Coach Matt Rachey is alone in second place after posting a 4-under 68. PGA Golf Club is playing host to the 43rd edition of the national championship, which concludes Sunday.

Johnson, who began his round on the back nine of the Wanamaker Course, kicked off his day with a 30-foot birdie from the fringe on No. 10. He rattled off three more birdies on 12, 15 and 16 to reach 4-under through his first seven holes.

“The putt on 10 was a nice way to start the tournament,” said Johnson, a 36-year-old PGA Assistant Professional at Davis Park Golf Course in Fruit Heights, Utah. “With the weather and the wind, it wasn’t easy out there. Pars were a good score. Luckily, I drove it really well today.

“I haven’t been playing much. Yesterday, I played a practice round with some friends from Utah and really played like a dog. I spent some time working on things in the mirror last night. I came out and hit it pretty well, so it was encouraging to find something that works.”

Johnson added a fifth birdie on No. 8 and maintained a clean card by knocking in a 10-foot par putt on No. 9 (his 18th).

This week’s champion, if eligible, will earn a berth in the 2020 PGA Professional Championship, which is slated for April 26-29 at the Omni Barton Creek Resort & Spa in Austin, Texas. The winner will also receive $12,000 of the $150,000 purse. The top-four finishers, if eligible, will earn a berth in next year’s National Car Rental Assistant PGA Professional Championship, to be held November 12-15 at PGA Golf Club.

Leaderboard: https://tinyurl.com/yjs3wwle

Photo by Hailey Garrett/PGA of America

Jon DeBoer

2019 Utah PGA Award Winner Highlight: Jon DeBoer

The Utah Section PGA Assistant of the Year Award was given to Talisker Club at Tuhaye Assistant Golf Professional Jon DeBoer, and for good reasons.

DeBoer focuses on people first, business second. He realizes the game we all love is filled with people that love the game. If those people are taken care of, then his job is done correctly.

When asked what he focused on professionally this year he said, “This season was a transition. Our club went through several significant changes… I focused on continuing the traditions of service while helping to communicate to our membership the new story of our development group. I helped more on the business side of the transition and I think that added value to what golf professionals do for their clubs. Also, I tried to step out from behind the counter to greet people. When I was focused last year on the business I spent way too much time looking at the computer instead of the people who are in front of me. Pro tip of the day: Always make sure your documents are on “auto-save” so you can step away at a moment’s notice.”

It is this mindset of a people-first focus that makes DeBoer the PGA professional he is today and just one of many reasons it is no surprise that he won the Assistant of the Year award for all he’s done in 2019.

“The award reflects an acknowledgment of all assistant professionals within our section,” DeBoer said. “I’ve worked for some amazing head golf professionals throughout my years and hope they know this is a product of their influences.

“Going forward this is just a benchmark in my progression and I hope to improve on the quality and consistency of my efforts,” he continued. “I know the level of professionalism in the other award recipients and other candidates; I feel I need to earn the award more now than ever going forward for them.”

DeBoer has been in the business since 1994, elected to PGA Membership in January of 2018 and at Tuhaye for the past-five seasons.

“I might still be an associate if I hadn’t recently married in 2015 and found a wife who told me to ‘get it done!’” he said.

“Many remember the travel to PGA schools. My first school occurred in Portland, Oregon. One hundred apprentices in the Downtown Hilton were greeted by the administrator. He set the rules for the week, the expectations and the consequences. He then straightened his bowtie and said, ‘Anyone who wants to make it through this week should probably stay away from Jon… Jon, would you stand up?’ Thanks Doug Vilven, I got 93 business cards before the end of the day.”

DeBoer, like many, worked for Vilven and was influenced by his happy demeanor, work ethic and professionalism that a PGA professional should have.

“I enjoy the sense of community that exists within the membership.  If I needed support in anything—professional or personal—the group of PGA professionals that were there for me is humbling.  I am proud of how PGA members look to enrich the game, the business and the people who are part of golf.  I am part of other professional groups but the Utah PGA Section has grown to becoming a family over my career.”

Jake Wyatt

2019 Utah PGA Award Winner Highlight: Jake Wyatt

Gladstan Golf Course Assistant Golf Professional Jake Wyatt, who’s been a member of The PGA of America since October 2017, has been selected to receive the 2019 Utah Section PGA Youth Player Development Award.

“It’s a tremendous honor,” Wyatt said. “I am extremely humbled and grateful to win this award. Junior golf development has always been a passion of mine since entering the PGA.”

Every golfer can agree that growing the game is important to keep one of the world’s oldest sports alive and thriving, but it requires honorable characteristics to focus their career on helping youth learn the game and reap from the benefits of the life lessons the game teaches.

“Introducing the game to the next generation is a big motivation,” Wyatt continued. “I want our game to be accessible to anyone and everyone. Focusing on junior golf and making a less-intimidating, more-fun oriented program has always been a goal of mine. The more friendly and fun we make it up here, the more students we have seen come back and enjoy our practice facilities and the golf course. I want to make Gladstan a place where all the kids in Payson and the surrounding areas love to come, enjoy and spend their time learning the game that we already know and love.”

Gladstan Golf Course offers a yearly junior golf program with several classes, lessons and fun competitions. In addition to their own program Wyatt has lead the creation of and coaches the Gladstan PGA Jr. League team.

“Starting the PGA Jr. League in Utah County has been tremendous,” Wyatt said. “Seeing how the kids react in the team environment and the friends they make has been amazing. I look forward to seeing how we can keep growing and improving the league in the coming years.”

In addition to his responsibilities at Gladstan, Wyatt volunteers his time with the local high school golf team and loves to play golf with his family.

The game offers many things to those who dedicate their time and effort to sharing it with others. For Wyatt, it’s what his career is centered on and he’s influencing the game in Utah because of it.

“It has been the most fulfilling part of my PGA membership experience. Seeing the joy and excitement when a student hits a great shot or comes into the shop to tell me how they played or how much fun junior camp is. It’s been very rewarding.”

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2019 Utah PGA Award Winner Highlight: Bryant Boshard

Golf often has a stereotype of being a private game, or a game that’s hard to begin because of price, location and intimidation. For The Ridge Golf Club Head Professional Bryant Boshard, winner of the 2019 Utah PGA Player Development Award, it’s exactly opposite.

“Everyone needs a chance to excel in something they enjoy doing,” Boshard said. “Each person that walks through our doors is another opportunity for us to share the great game with. Our program selection makes it easy to cater to every type of golfer, from young to old and beginner to advanced. We want you at The Ridge and we are here to help develop your game and enhance your experience on and off the course.”

Boshard has been in the golf business for 20 years, received his PGA Membership in 2014, has been at The Ridge for seven years and the head golf professional for two.

Inclusion is a main focus for Boshard and his staff. Developing programs for juniors, seniors and veterans has shaped the day-to-day life at The Ridge in West Valley City.

“I became a PGA professional because of my love and passion for the game,” Boshard explained. “Over the past few years working with juniors, seniors and veterans has shown me the value and joy it brings to not only their lives, but my own as well. My new reason for being a PGA professional is to continue to spread the game to as many people as possible and share the joy and love it brings to my life.”

Because of this inclusion-centered belief, The Ridge has won several awards including the Utah Parks & Rec Outstanding Adaptive Program in 2018 because of their focus on veterans and the Utah Best of State Golf Programs in 2019.

The Ridge offers leagues for men, women, juniors and veterans. In the first year of The Ridge Veterans League it ran for three months, the next year doubled and ran for six months and they are expecting it to continue to grow for next year.

“I’m grateful and humbled that I have been selected for this prestigious award and I will take pride in receiving it,” Boshard said. “This award would not have been possible without our amazing assistant golf professionals and the entire staff at The Ridge. Since we re-opened our doors in 2013 our goal has always been the same: Make The Ridge Golf Club a place where people of all ages and skill levels can call home. A place they feel comfortable and a place where they know that our staff is always here to help.”

PGA High School All-State Teams Social Media

2019-2020 Boys High School All-State Teams Selected

The quality of high school golfers has improved so much over the past few years, the difference between making an All-State team or not comes down to one stroke or even less throughout the season. The Utah Section PGA extends the honor of First Team All-State to the top 10 golfers in each classification, the next 10 are selected to the Second Team, and the next 10 after that are selected to Honorable Mention.

The Utah Section of the PGA of America has been actively supporting high school golf for over 25 years. Twenty years ago they developed the Utah High School All-State Golf Program. The All-State Golf selection process is unique among all-state honors programs in that it is all by the numbers. Thirty-five percent of a players best region scores and sixty-five percent of their state championship scores are used to rank each player. No arbitrary or influenced decisions, it’s all by the numbers. The players skills and scores earn the recognition.

All First Team All-State players will be invited to the All-State Banquet at the end of May 2020. This is just one of many community-based programs that the PGA operates each year to benefit our Utah golf community. Congratulations to all of these players on a fantastic year in golf.

Team selections below, or CLICK HERE.

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Dehlin-Olsen Seeks to Strengthen Playing Opportunities for Section’s Women Members

Glenmoor Head Golf Professional Darci Dehlin-Olsen was elected to the Utah Section PGA Board on October 11th and is the first-ever female to be elected to the board in Utah Section history.

“I’m honored to do it,” Dehlin-Olsen said. “I think it’s awesome and I think I will be able to be an asset to the section and continue to help grow for more opportunities for women to see that there is an avenue for them in the PGA.”

Dehlin-Olsen has been a member of the PGA for eight years and is currently the head golf professional at Glenmoor Golf Course in South Jordan, Utah. At one point the course was in danger of being shut down and the land sold for development purposes, but Dehlin-Olsen lead a “Save Glenmoor” campaign that garnered the communities’ support to help preserve the course.

In addition to being elected to the Utah Section Board, she has been asked to serve a two-year term on a national women’s leadership committee within The PGA of America.

“I’m very excited about that because I can take some of that and bring it back to our section and try to help not only in Utah, but everywhere to help grow women’s golf and help more women join the PGA.”

One of Dehlin-Olsen’s goals in helping serve the Utah Section is to strengthen the playing opportunities for women members of the PGA in Utah.

“I’m already so thrilled that we have playing opportunities in the section, I’ve missed it,” she said. “It’s fun to go play with the guys and stuff but I can’t fully compete there and there isn’t the camaraderie I feel when playing with the other women in our section. I for sure want to keep growing it and getting more women to join and play.

“Hopefully as female PGA members in Utah we can keep growing high school girls golf and girls golf in the state in general. I just want to be a good example and show that there is a place for you in the golf world and the PGA.”

The Utah Section PGA seeks to be a strong and prominent organization within the golf community by providing quality programs and services to both PGA members and others. With Dehlin-Olsen being a new addition to the board, that goal will only become more of a reality.

“We are excited to have Darci join the board,” Utah Section PGA Executive Director Devin Dehlin said. “We look forward to having a woman’s perspective as we continually look for ways to better serve our membership and grow the game of golf in Utah.

“We want to be more inclusive to all women in our section and having Darci share her ideas on increasing the participation of our women will be a great asset as we grow their involvement.”

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Sturgeon Cruises through Women’s Match Play Championship

In the 2019 Utah Section PGA Women’s Match Play Championship, it was The Country Club Assistant Professional Haley Sturgeon who got off to a hot start and never looked back as she went a total of 10-under par in her semi and final round matches to become the Utah Section PGA Women’s Match Play champion on October 16th at Riverside Country Club in Provo.

“It feels great,” Sturgeon said about the win. “My golf game has come around and it was fun competing with the ladies. It was a great match and it was fun being out here.”

Sturgeon faced Promontory Assistant Professional Sadie Palmer in the morning semifinal match where she quickly got to a 5-up lead through six holes with four birdies.

Palmer cut the lead down, being 3-down through 12 holes, but Sturgeon’s steady play proved to be too much as she would go on to win the semifinal match with a 4 & 3 win.

Defending champion Emily Jones, 12-weeks from of having her first baby, faced Glenmoor Head Golf Professional Darci Dehlin-Olsen in the semifinals.

The match felt tight the entire round with the biggest lead going to Jones when she was 3-up through 11 holes. But it was Dehlin-Olsen who steadily chipped away at the lead with birdies on the 15th and 16th holes, causing the match to be tied with two holes left.

Dehlin-Olsen won the 17th hole with a par but then struggled on her approach into the 18th hole, with Jones forcing extra holes and winning the semifinal match on the first extra hole.

With enough excitement in the semifinals to end the season, Sturgeon wasn’t about to let her hot start come to an end.

Going head-to-head against the defending Women’s Match Play champion, Sturgeon made a steady climb to a 7-up lead through 9 holes with three birdies and a conceded eagle on the par-five 5th hole.

With a birdie on 10 and a sand save for par on the 11th, making 10-foot putts look like gimmies, Sturgeon won the 2019 Utah Section PGA Women’s Match Play Championship with a 9 & 7 victory.

“I was just focusing on having a good start and focusing hole-by-hole; on to the next hole, boring golf, like we all dream to play every round,” Sturgeon said.

“The opportunity to play here, in October, it’s awesome,” she continued. “And the women’s program that it’s building, it’s great competition. It’s a tight-knit group and it’s fun to be out here playing with the ladies.”

Sturgeon is a Utah junior golf product, she especially gives credit to the girl’s high school golf program where she played for Layton High School and then would go on to play a year of college golf at Utah Valley University and then would transfer to Dixie State and compete until she graduated in 2016.

As for her plans moving forward:

“Right now I’m the assistant golf pro at The Country Club and they are letting me go down to the Cactus Tour in January to play three months down there, then I’ll probably play in the US Open qualifier and then Q school again next year.”

With the way Sturgeon competed in this year’s Women’s Match Play Championship, it would be no surprise to see her find success in her upcoming schedule.

For semifinal and final round photos CLICK HERE.

Zach Johnson

Back-Nine Rally Secures Section Championship for Johnson

The Utah Section PGA Professional Championship, held at Toana Vista Golf Course in Wendover every year, continually provides a platform for great tournament golf and an opportunity to spend two-and-a-half days with fellow Section members.

Davis Park Assistant Professional Zach Johnson certainly took care of the great golf aspect September 16-17 in Wendover, winning his second-consecutive Section Championship with scores of (-9) 66-69, finishing with a six-stroke lead over runner-up Joe Summerhays of Eagle Lake Golf Course.

“It was a lot closer than the final results show, for sure,” Johnson said.

After starting on hole 10, making the turn to the par-four first hole, Johnson and Summerhays were only two-strokes apart when Summerhays proceeded to birdie holes one and three, while Johnson bogeyed two and eagled the par-five third hole.

“The turning point for me was probably I missed a short one on two and made bogey and on three, which that hole tends to get the best of me, I hit an 8 iron there to about 20 feet, hole high and made it for eagle to get it back to even par. Then I made a good par on five and finally started hitting some good shots coming down the stretch.”

Johnson birdied three of the last four holes to separate himself from the field, earning back-to-back Section Championships and punching his ticket to the PGA Professional Championship at Omni Barton Creek Resort & Spa in Austin, Texas. Johnson will have another opportunity to compete in a major with a chance to qualifying for the 2020 PGA Championship April 26-29.

“The second time is a lot harder, that’s for sure,” Johnson said. “The first time, Joe and I were kind of battling it out and we both kind of had control of our game. Today was the complete opposite, just trying to avoid a train wreck and get in the clubhouse. It was a challenge.”

Not only did he win two Section Championships in as many years, this win also solidified earning his second-consecutive Omega Utah section Player of the Year.

“Again, to do it back-to-back, you don’t think about it the first time it just kind of happens and then this time it’s in the back of your head and you’re kind of aware of what’s going on. And to my own fault it just puts more pressure on you and makes things tougher than usual.

“To do it back-to-back and to win two Section Championships, I’m pretty happy about it.”

Even though regulation play was through, there were still two qualifying spots to fill for the PGA Professional Championship. Summerhays, Tracy Zobell, Tommy Sharp and Matt Baird secured their spots finishing in the top five, but Todd Tanner, Ryan Rhees, Tele Whightman, Chris Moody, Shawn Edwards and Jimmy Blair proceeded to play off for the remaining spots.

Rhees grabbed a spot with a birdie on the second playoff hole while Tanner secured his on the 7th playoff hole, essentially making birdie on the final four playoff holes. Moody and Wightman were matching birdies on each hole until the very end when Tanner hit his approach to three feet on the 18th hole.

The Utah Section PGA will be well represented in the 2020 PGA Professional Championship.

In the Senior and Super Senior Divisions, Henry White started the final round three-strokes behind first-round leader Scott Brandt. However, with a steady (-2) 70, he came from behind to claim both trophies by one stroke.

We owe a big thank you to Matt Nadeau, Thomas Frank and Mel Duke of Toana Vista for playing host every year and providing a championship-worthy venue for the Section to enjoy. Another thank you to our local sponsors Rainbow, Peppermill, Montego Bay Hotels and Casinos.

Full Results

Tournament Photos