2024 Utah Junior PGA Championship Qualifiers

Utah Juniors headed to national Junior PGA Championship at Congressional CC

Kate Walker, Emma Lillywhite, Lincoln Markham and Brock Porter (photo above), four of Utah’s best junior golfers have qualified to play in the 48th Boys and Girls PGA Junior Championship at Congressional Country Club in Bethesda, MD later this summer. 

Utah Junior PGA Championship medalist Kate Walker (R) and runner-up Emma Lillywhite qualified for the national event later this summer with strong performances at Soldier Hollow Silver Course.

The Silver Course at Soldier Hollow was the host June 10-11th for Utah’s Junior PGA Championship qualifier in the boys and girls 16-18 age divisions of the Utah PGA’s Junior Series. Players also competed in the Boys and Girls 13-15 age divisions but were not competing for the national qualifier spots. 

Two-time 4A State individual champion Kate Walker of Crimson Cliffs earned medalist honors on the Silver Course with a 5-under 139 performance on rounds of 71-68. Battling throughout the day for the runner-up qualifier spot were Lone Peak’s Aadyn Long and Timpview’s Emma Lillywhite. Deadlocked at (-2) 142 after the final round, Long and Lillywhite played the par 5 9th playoff hole twice before Lillywhite won the hole with a par the second time through. 

Kate Walker watches her shot during the Utah Junior PGA Championship on her way to a win of the Girls 16-18 qualifier division. (Photo Fairways Media/Randy Dodson)

Five alternates for the national event were named as Long, Navy Hubbs (T4,+1), Kaylee Westfall (T4,+1), Alyssa Meadows (T6, +3) and Adley Nelson (T6, +3) as the next five on the final round leaderboard. 

With consecutive rounds of 65 Crimson Cliffs’ Lincoln Markham, a BYU commit, finished (-14) 130 to claim the top spot in the Boys 16-18 division, one shot better than runner-up qualifier Brock Porter of Desert Hills. Markham and Porter will head to the Junior PGA Championship July 30-August 2 at Congressional CC. 

Boys 16-18 Medalist, Lincoln Markham (Photo: Fairways Media/Randy Dodson

Rounding out the top five boys alternates were Max Landon (3rd place, -11), Noah Moody (T4, -10), Jaxon Erickson (T4, -10), Cayson VanBeekum (T6, -9) and Cole Taylor (T6, -9).

Fairways Media summer intern Arden Louchheim caught up with the qualifiers and Utah PGA Junior Golf Director Cassie Campos following play. Watch the video below for comments and highlights from the final round of the Utah Junior PGA Championship.

Utah Junior PGA Championship “The Qualifiers” video by Fairways Media/Garrit Johnson

Hazel Peters won the Girls 13-15 division with a (+7) 151. She was followed by Saylor Wagner at (+12) 156. In the Boys 13-15 division Corver Barnes earned the win with rounds of 76-64 – 140. A shot behind Barnes was Joseph Corcell at (-3) 141. Click here for the final round leaderboard for all flights.

Story, photos and video by Fairways Media/Randy Dodson and Garrit Johnson. For more information about the Junior PGA Championship at Congressional Country Club, click here.

Casey Fowles Devin Dehlin Trophy

Victory Lap Q & A with Match Play Champion Casey Fowles

On the road to capturing his second career Utah PGA Match Play Championship title, Sunset View GC Head PGA Professional Casey Fowles, who first won the event in 2020, had to get past three other former champions in Zach Johnson (Final Match, 5 & 4), Matt Baird (Semifinal Match, 2 & 1) and three-time champion Dustin Volk (Quarterfinal Match, 7 & 5).

Riding what Fowles called a “hot putter,” he made multiple birdies in each match on the way to engraving his name for a second time on one of the Utah PGA’s major trophies. 

With defending champion Jordan Gibbs move to Colorado earlier this year, Fowles was awarded the No. 1 seed and a bye in the opening round in the tournament of 64 Utah PGA Professionals at Hill Air Force Base’s Hubbard Memorial Golf Course. 

Utah Golf Radio host Paul Pugmire caught up with the champion for a victory lap Q & A.

Q: This is match play. But, let’s start with this; you are known for occasionally going stupid low, putting up really low numbers. Did you have any of those out there this week? 

A: Well, it’s funny, I haven’t really done that for the last couple years, so I don’t want to say I’ve been playing really well, but for some reason, this week, I hit the ball pretty well, and I made a lot of putts. And normally that’s a good combination. That’s a good formula. It doesn’t happen very often. But it was fun to play well all week. 

2024 Utah PGA Match Play Champion, Casey Fowles. (Photo: Fairways Media/Randy Dodson)

I got a bye in the first round which was huge coming from (home in) Delta, because that saved me a 4:00 a.m. wake up call to get up here. So that was really helpful. And honestly, every match I played was really competitive, and there wasn’t any match where I felt like, this is, you know, going to be a cakewalk. Everyone played well, and I just played really well. I made a lot of good putts, especially against Dustin Volk. 

Q: So yeah, Dustin has beat everybody in this tournament, on this course. 

Former three-time Match Play Champion and 2024 Quarterfinalist, Dustin Volk. (2023 photo: Fairways Media/Randy Dodson)

A: It’s like his own course where he grew up playing and stuff. His dad (Wayne Volk) was the Pro here for a long time. So yeah, he knows every nook and cranny. It’s interesting watching him play it, because he’s going to see where you want to hit it and which side of the hole you want to be on, and that type of stuff. He works his way around this place really well. I had to career-it it out there to beat him. I think I was like 9-under through 17 holes or something, to just barely beat him. 

Q: Dustin was the first of three consecutive former champs you had to go through to get to this thing. So you get through Volk, and that gives you Matt Baird, another tough lift. 

2022 Match Play Champion and 2024 Semifinalist, Matt Baird. (Photo: Fairways Media/Garrit Johnson)

A: Yes, sir. Matt’s a tough out. He’s very competitive, so you got to play well to beat Matt. There’s not going to be much given to you. And really, that’s kind of the same way with everybody out here, once you get past those first matches, those last three, four matches, you just have to play really well, because there’s not going to be much given to you. I played really well this morning (Semifinal Match) to beat him. 

Q: You did, and for your efforts, you get Zach Johnson. That puts an exclamation point on what you’re saying here. 

2019 Match Play Champion and 2024 runner-up, Zach Johnson. (Photo: Fairways Media/Randy Dodson)

A: Yeah, exactly. I mean, Zach is just uber-consistent. If he gets an iron in his hand, it’s going at or near the pin, and he’s a great putter too. We kind of went back and forth. I was fortunate this week, I got off to a great start in every match. I got up early, which always helps playing from that position where you don’t have to feel like you’re pressing and playing golf different than you would normally play. And that was kind of my focus. Was just trying to play the golf course, you know, play my own game, and just kind of let the chips fall. And so, yeah, we kind of went back and forth there for a little bit. And then I made a great birdie on a long, tough par three, (217-yard, No. 6). That kind of got me going a little bit. And then I just kind of went on a little run on him there in the middle of the round.

Q: Was that on hole six? One would expect that No.6 can be a beast. Tell me about making two on six. 

A: It was into the wind this morning, I smoked a five iron and then this afternoon, it was a little bit downwind, and I watched Zach hit his shot a little bit deep. So I hit a 7-iron, just launched it way up in the air with the wind, and it still went farther than I thought. I had about a 20-footer and just made a really good putt. It was one of those that I had to play a couple feet of break, because the greens out there are so, so quick, and they had some good pins out there. So it was just one of those putts that, you know, just got the right line, right speed, and went in. We were back to square at that point. Getting that one was huge, and gave me a little momentum. 

Teeing off on the par 4 9th hole at Hubbard Memorial GC, Casey Fowles had just a 1-up lead over Zach Johnson in the championship match. (Photo: Fairways Media/Randy Dodson)

Going into No.9, we both hit some close ones in there but he had a tougher putt than I did, and his just slipped by and I made mine. After that, I made a few more birdies. (Fowles made the turn 2-up.)

Q: So you closed him out on 14, 5 & 4. What was the turning point? 

A: If I’m looking back, we tied seven and eight … probably that putt on nine. I feel like when I made birdie and he made par…then he kind of got in some tree trouble on 10. So I think just a combination. He was right in there, 9-10, and then I made about a 20-footer on 11. So that was kind of boom, boom, boom. And then I made another birdie on 12. And so, yeah, it was just kind of right through there (middle of the round). I think after No.9, I just got on a run. 

“I hit the ball pretty well, and I made a lot of putts,” said 2024 Match Play Champion, Casey Fowles. “And normally that’s a good combination. That’s a good formula. It doesn’t happen very often. But it was fun to play well all week.” (Photo: Fairways Media/Randy Dodson) 

Q: That makes sense looking at the card, but one would expect Zach to cap your birdie on the par 5 12th. Were you surprised that (a birdie) four won the hole? 

A: He kind of got a bad break off the tee. We thought his drive was perfect, and it must of caught a tree and ended up in the fairway bunker. He had a terrible lie in the bunker, and then he actually had a great chip shot that took a bad bounce, so he had a couple tough breaks on the hole. He still almost made birdie, but yeah, that was one you don’t really expect to get with a birdie. Again, I kind of had the momentum on my side at that point, and he had a couple bad breaks on the hole so that was another big point in the match.

Q: Your name is already on this trophy, and on several others. It remains that this is one of the Section’s majors. This is one that all your colleagues in the Section talk about. What does it mean to you to win it again? 

A: That means a ton because it’s so hard. It’s so hard to win because it doesn’t matter how well you’re playing, you can run into a buzzsaw at any time. These guys can just go low at any point. To get all the way through it is awesome. It’s a great feeling to feel like you’ve played good and beat some really good players. So yeah, it means a ton, means a lot. 

Video highlights from the Utah PGA Match Play semifinals and championship match June 12th at Hubbard Memorial Golf Course by Fairways Media/Garrit Johnson.

Many thanks to tournament host Hubbard Memorial Golf Course and Utah PGA Tournament Director Aaron Goodman. For complete Match Play bracket scoring, click here. 

Noah Moody copy

Moody, Kraatz capture the first Junior Major of the year at Glenmoor GC

Noah Moody, a Northern Idaho College commit, and Avery Kraatz, who will play for Sonoma State University, captured the first Utah PGA Junior Series Junior Major of the year at Glenmoor Golf Club, June 5-6.

With the win both players were awarded an exemption into Utah’s AJGA event later this summer. Due to a conflict for Kraatz, Madalyn Hadley who finished tied for second place has accepted the exemption.

Boys Glenmoor Junior Major champion, Noah Moody.

Moody shot (-3) 73-68 – 141 at Glenmoor, a full six shots better than second place finisher Eastyn Ewell. Krew Saunders won the Boys 13-15 division at (+3) 76-71 – 147.

In the Girls 16-18 division, Kraatz finished (+20) 164 to best three players, Hadley, Reimi Bleyl and Katelin Bingham, who tied for second place with a (+23) 167. Mikaila Lieu finished on top of the Girls 13-15 division at (+15) 159.

Girls Glenmoor Junior Major champion, Avery Kraatz.

“Winning a Junior Major so early in the season is a true confidence builder,” said Kraatz. “I just came off a state championship (5A) win with my team and this was my next tournament back, so I’m happy to have these wins to fuel me through the inevitable highs and lows of the summer season.”

In the 2024 season the Majors Series will consist of one and two-day events throughout the summer for junior golfers ages 13-18. In order for players to gain a Junior Major Membership and be able to compete in the 2024 Major events, juniors had to qualify from one of two Q-School 18-hole tournaments or be exempt in through previous tournament experience listed on the UtahPGA.com website. 

In addition to the winner’s exemption into Utah’s AJGA event, the top three boys and top two girls in the 13-15 and 16-18 age groups qualify for the season ending Junior Major Championship July 29th at Hobble Creek GC.

Many thanks to Glenmoor Golf Club for hosting the Glenmoor Junior Major.

Click here to visit the final leaderboard. 

1A Boys Champs 2mb

Rich High School 1A Boys State Champs, Wendover’s Trejin Tangaro medalist

This season, Rich coach Kam Jarman said his players have practiced in every difficult condition imaginable — rain, snow, hail and wind.

Each of those practices strengthened the resolve of his players, something Jarman said made a big difference during the 1A state tournament this week.

Sitting in second place after Tuesday’s first round, Rich improved by four strokes in the second round on Wednesday as it slowly pulled away to capture its first 1A state championship since 2014.

The Rebels finished with a two-day total of 706, with Wayne in second with a 720 and Valley in third with a 725.

“The weather has just been poor up in Bear Lake. The kids have just battled the weather. I’m just proud of them ‘cause they’ve worked so dang hard,” said Jarman.

Rich had two players finish in the top 10, which was obviously important. Just as important, however, was how Rich’s No. 4 and No. 5 golfers alternated good rounds and poor rounds, which meant the Rebels never had to count a score over 100.

“It’s just the whole team working together. I’m just so happy for them and their hard work,” said Jarman.

Rich’s Noah Parry finished second with a two-day 165, while teammate Jaden Desch tied for seventh with a 172.

Medalist honors went to Wendover senior Trejin Tangaro, who shot an 81 on both days to finish with a 162 and a three-stroke advantage over Parry.

1A Boys medalist, Wendover senior Trejin Tangaro (Photo: Utah PGA/Cassie Campos)

Driver was key for Tangaro, who said he was consistently in the fairway in the second round.

“My driver was always straight and in the fairway. That was probably the best part of my game today. It kept me out of a lot of trouble,” said Tangaro.

He caught a break early in his round on No. 4 as his approach shot hit the flag stick on the fly and dropped down close to the hole, and he made par.

Without the favorable bounce, Tangaro would’ve gone well past the green and been in danger of double-bogeying.

“It was a good thing he hit the flag,” said Tangaro.

A year ago Tangaro finished tied for third at state, and it gave him the confidence that he could get over the hump as a senior.

“When I saw last year how good I did against the 2024 class I knew had a shot so I came into this year knowing I’m not going to let anybody else outwork me. I’m going to do the most I can to win,” said Tangaro.

Behind Tangaro in first and Parry in second, Valley’s Ivan Spencer and Piute’s Swade Olsen tied for third with 167s, followed by Monticello’s Traken Lee in fifth with a 169.

Written by Deseret News sportswriter, James Edward. Posted with permission. Please visit Desert News Sports online, click here.

1A Girls Champs Manila

Manila captures first 1A state championship in school history, Abby Schofield claims medalist crown

The Utah town with no golf course is now home to a state championship girls golf team.

Manila High captured the 1A state championship at Lakeside Golf Course in Bountiful on Wednesday as it shot a 392 to edge Monticello by 16 strokes for its first state title in school history.

The Mustangs placed four golfers in the top 10, including medalist Abby Schofield, who won it as a sophomore and finished second a year ago.

But the team title is what Schofield was most pleased with on Wednesday.

Manila sophomore Abby Schofield earned medalist honors while leading the team to the 1A State Championship title. (Photo: Utah PGA/Cassie Campos)

“I’m gonna be honest, the team title means the most to me just because all my friends, the support I’ve had through them has been amazing. If I didn’t have them I couldn’t do it, and I really have to thank all my junior friends because they really helped me through the season just keeping me positive and never let me down,” said Schofield.

Without a golf course nearby, Manila’s golfers practice mostly on a golf simulator unless they drive the hour and a half to a nearest golf course in Green River, Wyoming or Vernal.

Schofield said the simulator is good driver and longer irons, but nothing replicates the touch around the green like a real course.

Manila did it better than anyone else on Wednesday. Last year’s state champ Monticello finished runner-up with a 408, while Valley finished third with a 417.

Manila coach Jay Schofield had a hunch his team would be in the hunt for the title if Schofield shot in the low 80s and all of his other golfers broke 110. He also reminded them to have fun.

Manila junior Kallie Bair shot a 101 to finish tied for fifth, while junior Sadie Davis and sophomore Janie Christensen tied for eighth. The other two golfers whose scores didn’t count toward the team title both shot right around where their coach hoped they’d be, with Reagan Brown shooting a 107 and Kate Bambrough a 112.

“The six girls, the time, the dedication, they work hard every single day,” said Schofield.

He added that his daughter in particular was extra motivated this year after finishing second at state last season, two strokes behind the leader.

“She put in the time and effort to make sure that she was going to be competitive. It’s really on her, all the time she put into it,” said coach Schofield.

Medalist Abby Schofield (Photo: Utah PGA/Cassie Campos)

Abby Schofield made the most of the par 5s on Wednesday as she made two birdies and an eagle to finish with an 83. She drained a long putt for eagle on No. 6 after a great approach shot.

Monticello’s Elise Lewis finished runner up with a 94, while teammate Cambree Chamberlain finished third with a 97. Valley’s Rachel Cox was the other golfer to break 100 as she shot a 99 for fourth place.

Tournament recap written by Deseret News sportswriter, James Edward. Posted with permission. Click here for Deseret News Sports online.

Beaver Team

Beaver repeats as 2A champs, Waterford’s Evelyn Azares birdies No. 18 to win individual title

Waterford’s Evelyn Azares knew she’d hit a great approach shot, but even she was stunned when she walked onto the No. 18 green at Glendale Golf Course and saw that she only had a four-foot putt for birdie.

In that moment, Azares wasn’t even thinking about winning, but rather she had a shot to make birdie on her final high school hole in a career that included a 131 her freshman year.

“I hit that shot, and I knew I could not have made it go any better than that. Stepping onto the green and seeing how close that shot was, I was like, ‘Oh my gosh, if I make this putt and end with a birdie, that would be amazing.’ I wasn’t even thinking about winning,” said Azares.

2A State Individual Champ, Evelyn Azares of Waterford. (Photo: Deseret News/Scott Winterton)

Tied with American Heritage’s Bethany Braddy heading into that final hole of the 2A state tournament on Tuesday, Azares rolled the birdie putt straight into the heart of the cup to capture 2A medalist honors and put the finishing touches on a remarkable career of perseverance.

“I came from shooting a 131, so now that I’m winning this it sums up all the hard work. This is so surreal for me,” said Azares, who finished fourth at state as a junior.

Azares shot a 42 on the front nine at Glendale but then settled down with a 39 on the back nine to shoot a nine-over 81.

Braddy shot an 11-over 83 to finish in second place, with Beaver’s Heidi Harris and Millard’s Lindsay Starley tying for third with 85s.

For Harris, her 85 was a season-best round, according to coach Chanda Gardner, and was one of the catalysts to Beaver’s repeat state championship.

Beaver’s depth allowed it to shoot a team score of 371, a 10-stroke improvement upon last year, when it narrowly beat Rowland Hall 381 to 383.

Beaver High girls celebrate a back-to-back 2A title run.

This year’s team title was nearly as tight, as it wasn’t until the final groups started to come in that Beaver narrowly pulled away from second-year program American Heritage, which made a 56-stroke improvement from a year ago to finish second with a 379.

Read the complete tournament recap by Desert News sportswriter James Edward, Click Here.

4A Girls State Champs Cedar HS

Cedar wins first 4A Girls State Championship

Heading into the second and final day of the girls 4A state golf tournament at Talons Cove Golf Club, Crimson Cliffs and Green Canyon appeared ready to battle it out for the team title.

The Cedar Reds apparently didn’t get the memo.

Overcoming a 13-stroke deficit, Cedar played what coach Laycee Johnson called “elite level golf” on Thursday in wet, blustery conditions and won the first girls golf state championship in school history.

4A Girls Golf State Champion: Cedar High

Cedar came in at 106-over 682, while Green Canyon placed second at 110-over 686; Crimson Cliffs, which led after the first day, took third at 111-over 687.

Cedar, of course, is one of the oldest high schools in the state; Crimson Cliffs, from the St. George area, and Green Canyon, near Logan, are two of the newest.

Crimson Cliffs, one of Cedar’s Region 9 rivals, didn’t go home empty handed, however, after having a six-shot lead when Thursday began.

Crimson Cliffs sophomore Kate Walker repeated as 4A medalist, firing a closing-round 77 Thursday after Wednesday’s sparkling 65 had given her a commanding lead in the individual championship.

4A individual champion, Kate Walker of Crimson Cliffs. (Photo: Fairways Media Garrit Johnson)

“It took so much hard work and time and dedication to accomplish my goal,” Walker said. “Every year, that is my goal — to win state, because I know that I can.”

Conditions were considerably more difficult Thursday, with wind, rain and even hail battering the golfers at the course in Saratoga Springs on the west shores of Utah Lake.

“The first day my goal was to go low, and I did,” said Walker, who is also an accomplished swimmer, having placed fourth in the 100 butterfly at the 4A state swim meet.

“The second day, keeping the lead was my goal, and I did that. It didn’t go as planned, but it was good.”

Crimson Cliffs’ Kate Walker opened the tournament with a (-7) 65 at TalonsCove Golf Club.
(Photo: Fairways Media Garrit Johnson)

Last year, Walker won the solo title with a 9-over 151 at Logan River Golf Course in another dominating performance, so the goal now, she said, is to collect two more gold medals before she moves on to college golf.

“I definitely think it is possible,” she said.

That 7-under 65 is going to draw the attention of more college coaches, who can begin contacting her on June 15, per NCAA rules. She said she wants to commit relatively early and just focus on improving her already stellar game.

“BYU would be awesome,” she said.

Walker calls herself “self-motivated” and “driven” and noted that St. George-area pros Reed McArthur and Doug Roberts have helped her a lot with her game, along with her father, Jason Walker, whom she claims she can “beat pretty easily.”

Orem’s Kaylee Westfall placed second at 9-over 153, while Pine View’s Alyssa Butterfus was third at +11.

Individual runner-up, Orem High’s Kaylee Westfall. (Photo: Fairways Media Garrit Johnson)

Pine View dropped to seventh in the team race after having won the last three 4A state team titles.

For Cedar, which won its first region championship last week, it was the culmination of a lot of hard work that began years ago, its coach said.

“These girls set high goals this year and they did everything I asked them to do,” said Johnson. “Our team motto was ‘be elite,’ and that was to be positive, believe and be confident in every swing, and that is exactly what those girls did today.”

Cedar’s top finisher was Taylyn Wilson, who came in fifth at 18-over 162. RaeLee Johnson, the coach’s daughter, tied for seventh, while Breelle Evans was 12th, Denym John was 29th and Rachel Blodgett was 52nd.

“They are the best of friends. They cheered everybody on. If you wanted a dream team to coach, that was those girls,” Johnson said. “They are amazing. They are great in school, academically. They are the nicest girls you will ever meet.”

And now they are state champions.

Story by Deseret News sportswriter, Jay Drew. Republished with permission.

3A Champs Richfield 2024

Richfield dominates to reclaim 3A Girls State Champion title.

Richfield High School is proud of its golf legacy, and its girls team added more hardware to the trophy case.

The Wildcats dominated the 3A state tournament at Meadow Brook Golf Course this week, placing five individual golfers in the top 10 and finishing 30 strokes clear of runner-up Juan Diego as they claimed the seventh state title in school history.

Along with the 15 titles for the boys program, Richfield is the winningest golf program in the entire state.

“Richfield High School is Utah’s winningest golf high school,” said Richfield girls coach Troy Jones. “There’s been a tradition for a long time. There’s a legacy at that golf course in that town of championship golfers.”

For Richfield’s Hallie Janes, Abbee Albrecht, Brielle Jolley and Mya Malcolm, Thursday’s state title was their second in 2024 as they were all part of Richfield’s girls basketball state championship team.

While Richfield placed five golfers in the top 10, medalist honors went to Juan Diego’s Grayson Gagnon.

3A Girls State Championship medalist, Grayson Gagnon of Juan Diego High celebrates with coaches and parents following her tap-par at Meadow Brook Golf Course.
(Photo: Fairways Media Randy Dodson)

With a one-stroke lead heading into the final hole, the senior made par with a tap-in putt to win the 3A individual with a two-day score of 159.

Richfield’s Hallie Janes and Shelby Gardner finished tied, just one stroke back at 160.

For Gagnon, she had no idea her par putt clinched the win until a few seconds after and her coaches started hollering and congratulating her. It culminated a positive approach throughout the day — when things could’ve gotten away from her on the front nine.

“Two days ago I had a lesson from my coach, and he just said keep your head high. You want to enjoy everything, look around and see all the people with you, so the whole time I was keeping my head high, smile, look up. That was the only thing I was thinking, look up,” said Gagnon

Gagnon shot an 81 on Thursday after shooting a 78 on Wednesday, but it was her consistency on the back 9 on Thursday that made all the difference. On the front nine, she carded a triple-bogey on No. 5 and finished with 43.

Following her win Juan Diego’s Grayson Gagnon said, “…the whole time I was keeping my head high, smile, look up. That was the only thing I was thinking, look up.” (Photo: Fairways Media Randy Dodson)

Despite the front nine, as she went from a four-stroke lead after Day 1 to trailing by two, Gagnon knew she was still very much in the hunt.

She ended up shooting a 38 on the back to clinch the title, and she credits her friends for helping her settle down.

“I had a rough front nine. I had a rough three holes in row, but my friends came on the back nine, and I think it actually made me play better, just everyone watching me and seeing all the support I had. I think that’s the only thing that changed my game,” said Gagnon, who won the first individual title in school history for Juan Diego.

Juan Diego’s other top 10 finisher was freshman Sabrina Macias, who finished in sixth with a 166.

For Richfield, along with Janes and Gardner tying for second, its other top 10 finishers were Albrecht in a tie for fourth, Jolley in eighth and Mia Lewis tied for ninth.

Top 10 on the leaderboard from the 3A High School Girls State Championship.

Region 13 medalist Jane Poll of Morgan birdied her final hole to finished tied for fourth with Albrecht.

As a team, four of Richfield’s top five golfers shot better in Round 2 than they did in Round 1 as they tried not to put too much pressure on themselves.

“When we walked away yesterday, I said ‘You know what, you guys are ahead by five and we didn’t have our best stuff,’” recalled Jones, “and our less than best is still good enough with these guys if they just compete and keep their head in it. So today going into it, we just said have fun. If you go out there and do what you do, we’ll be fine.”

That’s precisely what they did in leading Richfield to its fifth 3A state title in the past seven years.

Story by Deseret News prep sports journalist James Edward. Republished with permission.

2024 Utah PGA Secretary's Cup PGA HOPE St George Team

PGA HOPE St. George, Utah sends team to national PGA of America Secretary’s Cup

The PGA HOPE program in St. George, Utah began servicing Active Military service personnel and Veterans in 2020. PGA HOPE (Helping Our Patriots Everywhere) is the flagship military program of PGA REACH, the charitable foundation of the PGA of America. PGA HOPE introduces golf to Veterans and Active Duty Military to enhance their physical, mental, social and emotional well-being.

Since 2020, PGA HOPE St. Gorge has impacted over 100 Veterans and plan to serve 40-50 Veterans each year. Utah’s PGA HOPE Ambassador, Jayme Turner, is a graduate of the St. George program. 

For the first time, PGA HOPE St. George has been selected to participate in the PGA of America’s annual Secretary’s Cup golf tournament. The Utah team will head to Louisville, Kentucky May 11-13 for a welcome reception at Churchill Downs, practice rounds, and a 9-hole scramble tournament at the University of Louisville Golf Club.

The Secretary’s Cup is named after the Secretary of Veterans Affairs, recognizing the Department of Veterans Affairs and the PGA of America’s PGA REACH program assisting Veterans in need. The Secretary’s Cup celebrates teams of Veterans and their local PGA Professional playing together in a 9-hole golf tournament of 12 teams competing from around the country. The Secretary’s Cup coincides with the 2024 PGA Championship at Valhalla Golf Club in Louisville, Kentucky, May 16-19. 

The PGA HOPE St. George team members:

Tom Brown, a Veteran with over 25-years of military service, now is heavily involved with the Junior ROTC program in St. George. Tom is a 2023 graduate of the PGA HOPE program.

Tom Brown, an Air Force Veteran. Tom has 20 years of active duty and 25 total years in the military. According to his wife he found it very hard to return to civilian life. For the last eight years, he has worked with St. George area youth, running Junior ROTC programs at the High School level. The program provides leadership training to youth, serving 220-315 kids per year. Both he and his son, soon to be an officer in the Army, went through the PGA HOPE program in fall of 2023. His wife was grateful that this program came about for Tom and the fact he could do it with his son was priceless. It helped him further connect with his family as well as recover from recent hip surgery due to an injury caused during his service. PGA HOPE has been instrumental in his leadership of young recruits and has helped him mentally and physically as he has returned to civilian life. Being able to play in the Secretary’s Cup with his son prior to his son’s deployment will be an amazing experience.

Dallin Brown (Tom’s son) is currently enlisted and recently graduated from the Southern Utah University’s ROTC program and is active in the Army as a 2nd Lieutenant. He will be heading to Virginia immediately after the Secretary’s Cup for service. He never played golf before entering the PGA HOPE program but his athletic background, like his father’s, allowed him to quickly make huge strides toward improvement and playing. Over the course of his military career, he will have the opportunity to use the game of golf to not only play and improve but also to build relationships throughout his service and after. Tom and Dallin now have a great bond of not only the military, but also, the game of golf. Golf will be very instrumental as an officer in the Army and his entire military career. For PGA HOPE to have a young officer be able to share his experience in the program and understand what the game has done for himself and can do for other servicemen and Veteran’s that struggle, will be quite impactful long term.  

Brett Gibson, now a St. George police officer, completed two tours of duty in Iraq and another one in Afghanistan.

Brett Gibson is an Air Force Veteran of over four years with two tours in Iraq and one in Afghanistan as part of the security forces. He is now a local police officer in the St. George community. He was also able to go through PGA HOPE with his father Craig. It provided time together that they were not getting and  playing together gives them both time together and an outlet. Brett uses golf as a channel to get away from the crime he faces daily as part of the police force. The Secretary’s Cup is an amazing opportunity for him that he never thought was possible being a part of the military and most importantly spending quality time with his dad, and playing a game he loves, golf.

Jayme Turner, a decorated war Veteran, completed the PGA Hope program in 2022 and now serves as Utah’s PGA HOPE Ambassador.

Utah PGA HOPE Ambassador Jayme Turner never played golf before and has now been playing for just a year and a half. Jayme graduated from the PGA HOPE St. George program in the Fall of 2022. Hooked on the game, Jayme is actively recruiting Veterans to the HOPE program. He has served both in the Navy and in the Army, re-enlisting after 9/11terrorist attacks. He has served in Operation Iraqi Freedom and Operation New Dawn. Serving as a Senior Line Medic and medical operations staff to the operations command center in Iraq. He has been awarded the ARMY Combat Medical Badge, the ARMY Combat Action Badge, the Bronze Star, and the prestigious John R. Teal Leadership Award. After retiring from the service in 2012, he has worked in the medical field, as a Care Technician for the VA helping Veterans daily with their medical issues.

Rob Krieger is a Member of the PGA of America since 1996 and a native of Cleveland, Ohio. He transplanted in the west in 2009 to open a golf facility for a golf management company and now makes his home in St. George. Rob is a Utah PGA Section Player Development award winner and multiple year nominee for his instruction and player development. He began the first PGA HOPE Program in Utah and it continues to grow annually, locally, and statewide. 

Tom, Brett, Jayme and Dallin (not pictured) will compete in the 2024 Secretary’s Cup with Utah PGA Professional Rob Kreiger, the PGA HOPE program administrator at Southgate Golf Course in St. George, Utah.

“PGA HOPE is one of the most rewarding experiences of my life.” Krieger said. 

He feels deeply that he has a duty to give back to those that have sacrificed, because he didn’t have too. Thrilled that the PGA HOPE St. George, Utah was selected to participate in the Secretary’s Cup, believes the tournament will be a “life-changing event and a once in a lifetime experience.” He is looking forward to meeting other Lead Coaches and Veteran’s from other programs while competing in Kentucky. 

“Having our small program selected and recognized for the accomplishments is both very fulfilling and rewarding personally and professionally.  These experiences will help make PGA HOPE an even more important part of the Southern Utah Community,” said Kreiger. “It is the right thing to be doing for those that have done so much for us.”

Story provided by Rob Krieger, PGA. Photos by Fairways Media/Randy Dodson.

Tracy Zobell H copy

Round of 16 teams are set for Utah PGA Four-Ball Championship

Davis County golf courses Valley View and Davis Park played host to the annual Spring Pro-Pro  and opening rounds of the season-long Four-Ball Championship this week. 

Monday’s Spring Pro-Pro at Valley View also served as the seeding tournament for the Round of 64 of the Four-Ball Championship with local favorites Zach Johnson and Caiden Jones taking the top spot on the leaderboard with a (-9) 63. 

The Davis Park team of Head Professional Zach Johnson (photo) and Assistant Professional Caiden Jones repeated as champs of the annual Spring Pro-Pro tournament. (Photo: Fairways Media/Garrit Johnson)

One shot back in the 36-team field were the teams of Jordan Gibbs/Ana Ross, Mark Owen/Dustin Pimm and Dustin Volk/Pete Stone. Team Summerhays, Bruce and Joe, rounded out the top 5 teams at 7-under par. 

With the win at Valley View, Johnson and Jones were seeded second in the following day’s Four-Ball Round of 64 matches. The defending champion team of Tracy Zobell and Ryan Rhees received the No.1 seed and a bye into the Round of 32. 

Jones said, “I’m super happy to be advancing to the next round. This is our second time winning the Spring Pro-Pro but only our first time advancing out of the Four-Ball second round together. Hopefully we can keep playing well and make a deep run”

Four-Ball Championship defending champs Tracy Zobell and Ryan Rhees will face Stonebridge Professionals Paul Phillips and Clark Garso in the Round of 16, May 22nd at Thanksgiving Point Golf Club. (Photo: Fairways Media/Garrit Johnson)

In the 3-team Women’s Spring Pro-Pro division, Colleen Walsh/Lynsey Myers carded a round of even par 72, 1-stroke better than Darci Olsen and Cassie Campos.

Looking ahead to the Round of 16 which will be played May 22nd at Thanksgiving Point Golf Club, Zobell/Rhees will face the Stonebridge GC Professionals team of Paul Phillips and Clark Garso while Johnson/Jones will take on No. 18 seed team of Ryan Colemere and Jordan Bloxham (photos below). 

Spring Pro-Pro top 5 teams of Volk/Stone and Summerhays/Summerhays also have advanced to the Round of 16.

The Four-Ball Quarterfinal matches will also be played May 22 at Thanksgiving Point. Semifinal matches and the championship match will be played June 26th, hosted by Jeremy Ranch Golf and Country Club near Park City, UT. 

The Spring Pro-Pro and Four-Ball Round of 64 and 32 leaderboards are available on the website, Click Here. 50-teams entered the Four-Ball Championship this year. Click here to see the Four-Ball Qualifier team list. To follow the Four-Ball Championship match play results online, Click Here.

Many thanks to tournament sponsor Charley Carlson and host Professionals Pete Stone and Zach Johnson.