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Ogden • A quick glance at the stroke-play leaderboard after the first day of the 116th State Amateur golf tournament makes it abundantly clear: Utah's best amateur golfers had their way with one golf course, but mostly struggled on the other.
In other words, Layton's Valley View Golf Course took a pretty good beating, while the Ogden Golf & Country Club yielded only one subpar round in hot, slightly windy conditions on Monday.
Actually, that's a little misleading, because Ogden G&CC is a par-70 course this week, instead of the par-72 layout members are familiar with. The 100-year-old venue's first and 16th holes, in the 480-yard range, are par-4s, instead of par-5s.
"With the way these guys hit the ball nowadays [extremely long], we decided to make the course a little longer," said Jacob Miller, director of rules and competitions for the Utah Golf Association. "Really, they are like par-4s for these guys."
Miller said the UGA made the determination to change the holes to par-4s and received no pressure from the club to do so.
Tuesday, the 144 golfers who tested Valley View on Monday will play at Ogden, and vice-versa, as the field of 288 is whittled to 64 (low 63 qualifiers and defending champion Cole Ogden) for match play.
The six best scores were at Valley View, including a sparkling 8-under-par 64 by Tooele's Jake Holt, a 22-year-old who recently completed his eligibility at Southern Utah University. A two-time all-Big Sky Conference performer, Holt said he hit every green in regulation but one and made nine birdies.
He made a bogey on the 170-yard No. 4 because he three-putted.
"I had a lot of close putts today, which helps," Holt said.
Holt tied for first place with Ogden and David Jennings at the Valley View Amateur in May, but knows Ogden G&CC will offer a better challenge on Tuesday.
"A lot of the tees were up [forward] and there were only a few tough pin placements at Valley View," Holt said. "The pins were pretty accessible."
Not so at Ogden, where the low round was a 1-under 69 turned in by Park City's Justin Shluker, who just completed his first season of college golf at Sonoma State University in California. Shluker posted the only under-par round at Ogden despite making a pair of double-bogeys, on No. 4 and No. 7.
Cole Ogden, playing just for fun until match play starts, was seemingly headed for a low number at 3-under-par through 12 holes, but made a triple-bogey on the 13th.
Most of the favorites are in good shape to make the 63-player cut.
But accomplished players such as Robert McRae (75 at Valley View), Kenny You (75 at Ogden), former champion Darrin Overson (75 at Valley View), Dave Poggi (76 at Valley View) ex-BYU golfer Daniel Reid (76 at Valley View) and Richfield's Mike Jorgensen (76 at Ogden) will have to recover quickly to make match play.
Monday's top scores
At par-72 Valley View Golf Course, Layton
64 • Jacob Holt
67 • Devon Purser
68 • Jason Hargett, Tanner Alder, Tommy Higham, Kalin Peterson
70 • Dane Rosa, Kyle Beard, Clark Jones, Benson Rhees, Reed Nielsen, Andrew Sellers
71 • Jonathon Thomas, Nic Booth, George Williams, Riley Morgan, Kevin Owen, Brandon Hargett, Christian Jensen, Jeffrey Jolley, Mike Jurca, John Lindsay
72 • Kurt Owen, Aaron Yeates, Jason Struck, Jon Wright, Chris Hermansen, Matthew Loosle, Bob Mitchell
73 • Justin Labrum, Glen Spencer, Adam Tebbs, Brady Stanger, Rhett Rasmussen, Jason Gates, Stewart Rutter, Ryan Sarlo,, Dan Horner, Kai Ruiz, Ryan Sarlo
At par-70 Ogden Golf & Country Club
69 • Justin Shluker
70 • David Jennings, Jeon Seokwon, Bryant Anderson
71 • David Booth, Dana Nelson, Joshua Lillywhite, Cole Ogden, Mitchell Schow, Austin Banz, Marty Jacks
72 • Dane Nelson, Bubba Hall, Cody Wass, Carson Park, Austin Van Orden
73 • JT Timmons, Jaece Stokes, Hayden Christensen, John Tagge, Rigo Jimenez, Danny Hafen, Colton Dallimore, Mark Mortensen, Jeff Powars, Nick Nelson, Kirk Siddens, Nick Griego, John Tagge, Gentry Hicks, Hayden Christensen, Zane Stanger, Todd Francis, Wyatt Burton, Mike Holm