Farmington • If he can play his way onto a very short list of golfers who have won both the Utah Amateur and the Utah Open, BYU sophomore Joe Parkinson will claim his own distinction.
Nobody has won those titles three years apart with a two-year LDS Church mission to Florida in between.
Having posted consecutive 6-under-par 66s at Oakridge Country Club, Parkinson holds a one-stroke lead over Salt Lake City's Zach Johnson, recent Colorado Open winner Zahkai Brown and Arizona pro Jesse Mueller in the 54-hole Siegfried & Jensen Utah Open. Each of those pursuers also shot a 66 on Saturday, with Johnson, a Davis Park Golf Course assistant pro, birdieing the 18th hole.
Provo's Matt Baird is among three players trailing Parkinson by two strokes. The final threesome will tee off just before noon Sunday, with the pros competing for a $21,000 first prize.
Parkinson won the 2010 State Am at Alpine Country Club, his home course. He made a goal of winning the Utah Open before turning pro, and he's giving himself a good chance this weekend.
"I feel really comfortable," he said. "I feel confident. I love this tournament."
Parkinson has made 15 birdies in two rounds, while posting no score higher than 4 on any hole Saturday. Those birdies have stemmed mostly from outstanding iron play, with no putts longer than 20 feet. Driving troubles hurt Parkinson in the recent U.S. Amateur, but a brief lesson from Bruce Summerhays (his mission president) after Friday's round straightened him out.
In 2008, Summerhays became the latest golfer to add a Utah Open trophy to his State Amateur title 42 years apart.