PGA High School All-State Teams Social Media 2021-2022

Fall High School All-State Teams Selected

The 2021-2022 Fall High School All-State Teams have been selected. Congratulations to those who earned a spot on the First-Team, Second-Team or Honorable Mention teams!

The quality of high school golfers these days is phenomenal and the difference between making an All-State team or not often comes down to one stroke or 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 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-two years ago the Utah High School All-State Golf Program was developed. 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 65 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.

This is just one of many community-based programs the Utah PGA operates each year to benefit our Utah Golf Community. Congratulations to all of these players on a fantastic year in golf.

Click here for the All-State Team selections.

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Nyhus Wins Utah PGA Women’s Match Play Championship

In the same season Sue Nyhus became a Class A Member of the PGA of America, she clinched her first Utah Section PGA victory, winning the 2021 Utah PGA Women’s Match Play Championship at Alpine Country Club November 2nd.

Nyhus defeated 2019 Women’s Match Play Champion and Salt Lake Country Club Assistant Pro Haley Sturgeon in the championship match 1-up on the 18th hole.

Nyhus started the day with a semifinal match against Glenmoor Assistant Pro Sirene Blair. By the end of the day, her two matches had a lot in common.

Being 2-down through 8 holes in her match with Blair, Nyhus started her comeback. It wasn’t until winning holes 14 and 15 that she found her first lead of the match. A lead she would hang onto to, winning on the 18th hole and advancing to the championship.

In the final match, Nyhus found herself 3-down through 7, after Sturgeon birdied holes 5, 6 and 7. But with Sturgeon finding trouble off the tee, Nyhus started climbing back with wins on 8 and 9 – and once again winning holes 14 and 15 to gain a 1-up lead. A lead she held onto until the finish.

“I know how good they are, they are amazing players, both of them,” she said of Blair and Sturgeon. “I just kept hanging in there, and I think the fact I kept hanging in there long enough, started to get to them.

“I didn’t make any birdies,” Nyhus said about the final match, “but I made a lot of pars.”

After a 9-hole seeding round, Nyhus claimed the 6th seed and went on to defeat Utah PGA Jr. Golf Lead Intern Cassie Campos, Blair and then Sturgeon.

The win comes days after her induction into the Utah Golf Hall of Fame, adding another win to her storied career.

“After having to review all that stuff for my Hall of Fame speech and think about that 1999 Public Links, losing one-down on the last hole, that came up in my head several times today. I kept saying, ‘you’ve grown, you’re smarter, you’re more mature, you can stay in the moment, hit the shot that’s required. You don’t have to do anything more than do what you do.’”

Those thoughts worked in the end, as she went home with a new trophy.

Thank you to Neil Maurer, Brock Padilla, Kent Easton and their Alpine Country Club staff for hosting our championship this year.

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Nyhus, Schneiter, Vilven, Whittaker Inducted into Utah Golf Hall of Fame

In the Ninth Induction Ceremony of the Utah Golf Hall of Fame, four current and past members of the Utah Section PGA were celebrated and honored on October 29th for a lifetime of achievements in golf, making lasting impacts nationally and locally.

Honorees include Sue Nyhus, Steve Schneiter, Doug Vilven and Scott Whittaker.

Sue Nyhus

Nyhus’ achievements in qualifying and competing in every USGA championship available to her is, and forever will be, unparalleled. Her career consists of not only competing at a high level, but collegiate coaching at Brigham Young University and Utah Valley University. She was elected to membership in the PGA of America in 2021.

Steve Schneiter

Schneiter is very likely the most accomplished Utah professional who never became a member of the PGA Tour or Senior PGA Tour. Highlighting his estimated 100 professional wins are the 1995 PGA Professional Championship and the 2016 Senior PGA Professional Championship. He joins family members George Henry Schneiter, Ernie Schneiter Sr. and Ernie Schneiter Jr. in the Hall of Fame.

Doug Vilven’s family: Mike, DeDe, Denise

The Utah Section of the PGA exists thanks to the efforts of Doug Vilven, who passed away in 2018. Vilven’s impact on golf in Utah is immeasurable, but even more so in the lives he touched along the way. His creation of the Utah Section PGA and the Golf in the Round facility are just some of the accomplishments of his PGA career. He’ll be remembered more for who he was and the way he treated everyone he crossed paths with.

His son Mike said at the induction: “My dad loved the sport of golf and didn’t just see it as competition or a past time. Instead he saw it as a lifestyle, an outlet for both kids and adults to learn discipline and resiliency.”  

Schott Whittaker

A founding father of the Utah Section PGA, and long-time Executive Director Scott Whittaker’s love for golf started as a young caddie at Oakridge Country Club. That love for the game inspired a career as a PGA head professional for almost 30 years, an executive director for 13 years, a member of the PGA of America board and countless awards in-between. Among his many achievements includes the remarkable growth of girls’ high school golf and the rebirth of the Utah Open. His induction into the Utah Golf Hall of Fame was an easy decision.

Thank you to the Utah Golf Association and the Utah Golf Hall of Fame Committee for recognizing the achievements of these four Utah PGA Professionals.

Others inducted include Lou North, Florence Halloran, Jeannie Goddard, Marion Dunn, Joe Watts and Riley Stottern. Congratulations to them and their families.

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Utah PGA Pros to Compete in 2021 Senior PGA Professional Championship

The 2021 Senior PGA Professional Championship is set to begin Thursday October 21st at PGA Golf Club, in which six Utah PGA Professionals will compete.

Best of luck to Bloomington and Sun River’s Scott Brandt, Park City’s Jeff Brehaut, 2020 Utah PGA Player of the Year and rookie senior Joe Summerhays, 2016 Senior PPC Champion Steve Schneiter, Utah PGA Senior Section Champion Mark Owen and Stonebridge Golf Club’s Paul Phillips.

The Utah Section is well represented in Port St. Lucie, Florida, as they compete in a full field of 246 senior PGA Professionals from across the country.

Other than the $26,000 first-place winner’s check to play for, several exemptions are on the line:

  • The low 35 scorers earn a berth into the 2022 KitchenAid Senior PGA Championship at Harbor Shores Golf Club in Benton Harbor, Michigan, May 26-29.
  • The Senior PGA Professional Championship’s top five finishers also garner an exemption into the final stage of the 2021 PGA Tour Champions Qualifying School – Final Stage.
  • Those who finish in the top eight, including ties, will automatically qualify for next year’s Championship at Twin Warriors Golf Club at Hyatt Regency Tamaya Resort and Spa and Santa Ana Golf Club, both in Santa Ana Pueblo, New Mexico, October 13-16, 2022.

Wishing for fairways, greens and birdies for our Utah pros! Follow live scoring here.

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Team Utah Wins the 2021 National Car Rental PGA Jr. League Championship

By Anthony Witrado, PGA of America

Ryder Huish stood over his ball in the 18th fairway, half of his Team Utah (Lehi) teammates waiting for him near the green with the 2021 National Car Rental PGA Jr. League Championship waiting to be secured.

Adding to the pressure, Huish’s teammate’s ball had found the water near the green seconds before. So Huish grabbed his 5-iron from 180 yards, landed the ball on the front of the green and watched it roll out … and roll out … and roll out, until it came to rest inside 10 feet from the hole, putting Huish and teammate Austin Shelley, 13, from Salt Lake City – and their six other teammates – in position to lock down the title.

After two-putting the par 5 for birdie minutes later, the Championship belonged to the team from Utah with a 7.5-4.5 win over Team Connecticut (Torrington) at Grayhawk Golf Club on Sunday afternoon, which aired live on ESPN2.

“When I saw Austin’s ball in the water, I cried inside,” Huish, 11, from Highland, joked. “I said, ‘I have to hit a good shot here or it’s over.’ I pulled out my 5-iron, I felt confident, and I executed well.”

To read the complete feature from Fairways Photo Journal CLICK HERE:  https://tinyurl.com/5en9h4cm

Photo courtesy of the PGA Of America

Matt Baird

Matt Baird Wins Utah PGA Professional Championship

By Kurt Kragthorpe

Joshua Leddy may not have followed through on his victory in the Utah Assistant PGA Championship as well as he hoped, but he certainly assisted Matt Baird on the way to a third title in the Utah Section PGA Championship.

In one of those breaks that champions sometimes need, Baird luckily learned to play enough break on what became the winning putt Thursday at Toana Vista Golf Club in West Wendover, Nevada. Baird benefited from Leddy’s having putted on a similar line on No. 9, their 18th hole of the final round. Baird knocked in a 20-footer for a birdie that gave him an 8-under-par total and a one-stroke victory over Pete Stone and Tommy Sharp.

That’s how the Riverside Country Club teaching pro concluded his round of 7-under 65, bouncing back from what he labeled a “chili-dipped” tee shot on the previous hole, leading to his only bogey of the day.

If not for Leddy’s coincidental lesson, who knows what may have happened in a playoff involving Baird? “Honestly,” Baird said, “when he hit the putt, it broke more than I thought.”

Baird adjusted his aim, made the putt and was proud of his final round. In that moment, though, Baird was thrilled just to have qualified for the PGA Professional Championship. As three more groups finished, it became apparent that there was much more in store for him.

Having earned the $5,000 first prize, Baird celebrated by pouring Mountain Dew into the crystal trophy that will join Section Championship awards from 2010 and ‘15 on his shelf.

Every win is rewarding, but this one meant the 46-year-old Baird had succeeded in overcoming the putting problems that held him back during an opening-round 71, He stood four strokes behind Chris Moody, Riverside’s head professional, and three shots back of Stone.

“I just had this feeling of, ‘You can get the job done,’” Baird said. “That was my main thought all day.”

He needed some reminding after failing to birdie his first hole, the par-5 No. 10. “Oh, great,” he wryly told himself, but that’s how the day turned out: Great.

He birdied seven of the first 15 holes and moved into the lead, only to make one of the worst swings of his pro career with a short iron. His shot on No. 8, a hole measuring 174 yards, left him with a 96-yard second shot after he tried to finesse that 8-iron.

“I just laughed,” Baird said.

After that bogey, Tele Wightman, another member of Baird’s foursome, told him, “You’re hitting it good, just make birdie here.”

With the help of seeing Leddy’s line, Baird made it happen. And then he waited, as Sharp and Stone tried to catch him. Sharp, the 2017 winner, birdied No. 6 to reach 5-under for the day and 7-under for the tournament, before parring the last three holes. Stone, a perennial contender in this event, birdied No. 7 to tie Baird. But then Stone endured his own misadventures on No. 8, with a tee shot that sailed way right and resulted in a bogey.

On No. 9, Sharp and Stone had longer birdie putts than Baird, on similar lines. Each missed on the low side and walked off the green disappointed to have tied for second place.

As consolation, they also advanced to the PGA Professional Championship in April at Austin, Texas. So did Moody (67-71), Todd Tanner (69-70) and Casey Fowles (70-71), whose birdie on the last hole enabled him to avoid a six-way playoff for the last spot. Defending champion Joe Summerhays (70-71), who tied for sixth place with Fowles, is exempt after a top-20 finish in the 2021 event in Florida and Steve Schneiter has a lifetime invitation as the 1995 champion.

Bruce Summerhays Jr. became the first alternate after a playoff that involved Tracy Zobell, the Senior division champion. Zobell (74-68) played from the back tees in order to compete for the national berth, as did Mark Owen, who tied with Clark Garso for second place, one stroke behind.

Terry Outzen (76-69) and Scott Brandt (71-74) shared first place in the Super Senior (60-over) division. Don Branca (75-74) took the Legend (70-over) title, 46 years after posting his second consecutive victory in the State Amateur.

Full Results

Tournament Photos

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Josh Leddy Wins National Car Rental Utah Assistant Championship

Promontory Assistant Professional Josh Leddy wins the 2021 National Car Rental Utah Assistant Championship with rounds of (-7) 70-65 at Logan River and Eagle Mountain Golf Courses on August 30-31, claiming his first professional victory.

Not only was it his first victory as a pro, but the win earned him a ticket into the Assistant PGA Professional Championship on November 11-14 at PGA Golf Club’s Wanamaker Course in Port St. Lucie, Florida.

Josh Leddy

“I just had a good feeling with my putter today, didn’t really try to change anything mechanically and visualize the putts. I had the speed down so I just trusted it all day,” Leddy said

“I’ve played the course before in college,” Leddy said about PGA Golf Club, “so I’ll just try to go out and put some good numbers up and compete with the best.”

Leddy finished one-stroke ahead of Red Ledges Pro Aaron Purviance, who earned exemption into the 2021 Assistant Championship based on his play in last year’s event in Florida, so the other qualifiers include Eagle Mountain Assistant Pro Chase Hansen and Clint Godfrey, who earned his spot in a playoff against defending champion Thomas Cook.

Best of luck to our Utah Section assistant professionals as they compete on the national stage.

Thank you to Jeff John and his staff at Logan River and Chris Marx and his staff at Eagle Mountain for hosting our championships this week.

Results

Photos

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Mark Owen Wins Utah Senior Professional Championship

Mountain View Golf Course Head Professional Mark Owen added another win to his 2021 season by capturing the 2021 Utah Senior PGA Professional Championship August 30-31 at Logan River and Eagle Mountain Golf Courses.

With rounds of (-9) 67-66, Owen’s victory qualifies him for the 2021 Senior PGA Professional Championship, which will be played at PGA Golf Club October 21-24 on the Wannamaker Course.

Mark Owen

“I didn’t do anything crazy,” Owen said of his final round. “I made zero fives on the card, so I took care of the par fives. It was a stress-free round: just hit it, go get it and putt it. Playing with Joe (Summerhays) the last couple of days and watching a really good putting stroke was really fun. That guy putts the ball like you should putt the ball. Every putt seems to have a chance to go in.

“This is the first time qualifying for me, just looking forward to playing as good as I have the last few weeks. The courses are a lot different than home, but a little practice and we’ll see what happens.”

Other qualifiers for the Senior PGA Professional Championship include Summerhays, who actually had the low score of the tournament at (-12) 63-67 but is still 49-years old for a couple more weeks, making him ineligible for the Senior Section Championship, but able to qualify for the national event in October.

Joe Summerhays

Park City’s Jeff Brehaut qualified and Bloomington’s Scott Brandt earned the last spot by one stroke over Paul Phillips, who lead the first round, and Ryan Rhees.

Thank you to Jeff John and his staff at Logan River and Chris Marx and his staff at Eagle Mountain for hosting our championship this year.

Full Results

Photos

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Fribbs Wins Utah Open with Double Eagle

By Kurt Kragthorpe

One swing with a 7-iron Sunday afternoon radically altered Derek Fribbs’ story of the 2021 golf season.

Internet search engines may forever distinguish himself as the witness of a fight in his threesome in the middle of a golf course in Kansas in June, but Fribbs created his own lasting impression of the year with a double eagle on Riverside Country Club’s 15th hole. The shot from 215 yards completed his 4-3-2 sequence (par is 5-4-5) in the northwest corner of the property and powered the Colorado pro to a victory in the Siegfried & Jensen Utah Open.

“Just hit a perfect shot,” Fribbs said.

Fribbs posted 66-63-64 for a total of 23 under par, three shots better than Idaho pro T.K. Kim, earning a $20,000 check and a nice 31st birthday (Monday) present for himself a year that otherwise was memorable for the wrong reasons.

“At least, I’m the good guy in the story,” he said good-naturedly, when the fight during a Korn Ferry Tour qualifying event came up during the winner’s news conference. “I wasn’t beat up or arrested.”

The double eagle will have its own place in Utah pro golf lore as a highlight of a weekend when BYU golfer Kerstin Fotu of Alpine became the first woman to play the final round of the Utah Open, an event first staged in 1926.

Kerstin Fotu

“Honestly, I’m pretty proud of myself,” said Fotu, who received an exemption into the tournament as the Utah Women’s Open champion and shot 1 under par for two rounds before adding a 76. “I wanted to make the cut, and that’s what I did. It’s super motivating to see some things pay off that I’ve been working on and also to see what I need to work and sharpen up going into the fall season.”

After all he has achieved in Utah amateur golf and as a PGA Tour player, Daniel Summerhays of Fruit Heights also made a strong showing with a closing 65. In his first Utah Open appearance, Summerhays tied for third at 17 under with Matt Marshall, who settled for an even-par 72 after a 62-65 start.

Daniel Summerhays

“The second round killed me.” said Summerhays, who shot 63-71-65. “I knew I was going to have to be in the 20s [under par] to have a chance. … I was definitely frustrated [Saturday]. I mean, it would be pretty cool to have my name on the Utah Open trophy.”

BYU’s Cole Ponich of Farmington rode a 65-67 weekend to low-amateur honors at 13 under, tying for ninth place overall. Host pro Chris Moody tied with Tommy Sharp as the top-performing Utah Section PGA member at 10 under, earning $1,400 bonuses as they tied for 14th.

CBS Sports football analyst Tony Romo, the former Dallas Cowboys quarterback, tied for 42nd place at 4 under, finishing 11th among the amateurs with a 73 on Sunday. Romo earned a $180 merchandise credit in the Riverside golf shop to supplement his $17 million broadcasting salary.

Tony Romo

Fribbs was thrilled to pack his oversized, cardboard check into the back of Zahkai Brown’s vehicle for the ride home to the Denver area. Brown, the Utah Open’s winner in 2016 and the low pro in ‘17, has turned this event into steady income. He tied for fifth Sunday, earning $5,500.

Picking places to play for golfers without any PGA Tour-brand status is a matter of “convenience,” Fribbs said, along with economics: “You don’t want to spend a lot of money to win a little bit of money.”

Fribbs’ money shot was timely, considering how Kim had just holed a 42-yard pitch shot for an eagle on the par-4 No. 14 to get within one stroke.

“I thought it was ‘Game on,’ ” Kim said. “I felt confident, until he made that albatross.”

Yeah, that “2” changed everybody’s outlook. “I was just telling myself to keep doing what I’m doing,” Fribbs said. “It worked for 50 holes, so I might as well keep doing it.”

That 51st hole will be the one he remembers for a long, long time.

During the post-tournament ceremony on the 18th green, a moment of silence was observed for Mike Stanger, a former Utah State golfer in the mid 1980s and a longtime golf manufacturer’s representative, working with Utah Section PGA professionals. Stanger’s sons, Brock and Dalton, were playing together in Friday’s first round when they were informed of their father’s death.

Devin Dehlin, the Section’s executive director, became emotional as he spoke of a “melancholy day” framing the tournament. Dehlin also cited the observation of Dean Wilson, a former BYU golfer and PGA Tour player, who returns annually to Riverside and was this year’s low senior, tying for 11th place. Wilson labeled the event “a celebration of Utah golf.”

Results

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A Home Course Win for Kerstin Fotu

By Kurt Kragthorpe

BYU golfer Kerstin Fotu hardly played like a former champion in this summer’s Women’s State Amateur, barely advancing to match play after posting an 83 and then losing convincingly to teammate Lila Galea’i in the first round in Farmington.

Fotu’s performance in the fifth annual Siegfried & Jensen Utah Women’s Open was an entirely different story. She became the third collegiate winner in a row, covering the event’s Thanksgiving Point Golf Club era. Fotu overtook California pro Gabrielle Gibson on the back nine Tuesday, posting 69-68 for a 7-under-par total and a one-stroke victory.

Kerstin Fotu’s tee shot on the 36th hole of the Utah Women’s Open.

Gibson, a former University of Wyoming golfer, earned $1,500 as the low pro. Bingham High School graduate Tess Blair, a Sacramento State golfer, birdied Nos. 16 and 17 to finish third, another shot back. Haley Sturgeon, a pro from Bountiful, tied for fourth with Juli Erekson, the Utah Valley University women’s golf coach and a sister of Thanksgiving Point Director of Golf Tele Wightman. Galea’i, the State Am winner, finished sixth.

Gabrielle Gibson

Fotu quickly overcame her State Am showing by going to California and shooting a 66 to qualify for the U.S. Women’s Amateur. She failed to reach match play at Westchester Country Club in New York (where Blair won a first-round match), but Fotu looked good at Thanksgiving Point, the course she primarily grew up playing.

Her iron game was especially sharp this week, with solid ball-striking and improved distance control. “That was something that really killed me at the State Am,” she said, “just [not] being able to score.”

Fotu thrived on Thanksgiving Point’s back nine, playing those holes in 5 under par for two days, while the rest of the field struggled with the wind. “I just tried to learn from last year,” she said, “because last year the wind kind of got in my head and I didn’t play as well. I just tried to club up and swing easy, and that helped my ball flight.”

Gibson’s one-stroke lead remained intact through Tuesday’s front nine, but then she made her first bogey of the tournament on the par-4 No. 10. Fotu birdied that hole to move ahead, and added another birdie on the par-4 No. 12.

In what became a two-woman duel, Fotu’s lead was cut to one stroke when she bogeyed the par-5 No. 14, but she recovered with a birdie on the par-3 No. 15. Gibson birdied the par-4 No. 16, only to have her tee shot barely clear the Jordan River on the par-3 No. 17, leading to a bogey.

With her two-stroke lead restored, Fotu was able to absorb Gibson’s birdie on the par-4 No. 18 – not that she was sure where she stood in relation to players in the groups ahead of them, even with on-line scoring updates available.

“Honestly, I didn’t pay attention at all,” she said. “I had no idea.”

She liked how it all turned out, though. Fotu followed San Francisco’s Annika Borrelli and UNLV’s Veronica Joels as amateur winners of the Utah Women’s Open, after current BYU assistant golf Lea Garner took the first two titles in Provo. Garner also was the low pro in 2020; Gibson is the first out-of-state pro to claim the tournament’s biggest check.

And while Garner came close to winning the State Am, Fotu has a place in history as the first champion of both tournaments.

Full Results

Tournament Photos