This is an archived article that was published on sltrib.com in 2016, and information in the article may be outdated. It is provided only for personal research purposes and may not be reprinted.
Provo • BYU product Jordan Rodgers flirted with history last summer, and almost became the first golfer since Ed Kingsley in 1934 to win both the State Amateur and the Utah Open in the same year.
But it wasn't to be, as Rodgers was overtaken down the stretch of the 2015 Siegfried & Jensen Utah Open at Riverside Country Club the BYU golf team's home course by Arizona pro Nathan Lashley and finished second.
"I kinda let that one get away," said Rodgers, not to be confused with the recent Bachelorette winner with the exact same name, the brother of Green Bay Packers quarterback Aaron Rodgers.
Salt Lake City's Jordan Rodgers who also recently became engaged turned pro two weeks after he downed Darrin Overson for the 2015 State Am title and won the pro division and the $3,000 first-place check a few weeks later at the Burton Lumber Salt Lake City Open.
He didn't get the trophy that day, though, because he lost in a playoff to 17-year-old amateur Rhett Rasmussen of Draper, a BYU signee.
Still, the back-to-back second-place finishes were a fantastic start to a pro career for the former three-time all-stater at Skyline High, and Rodgers headed to the 2015 Web.com Tour Qualifying Tournament (Q School) brimming with confidence.
He made it though pre-qualifying in September, but "played terribly" in the first stage and had to shelve his PGA Tour dreams for a year.
Unfazed, Rodgers likes his chances in the Utah Open this year. The 54-hole tournament begins Friday, with golfers starting at the No. 1 and No. 10 tees at 7:30 a.m., and is in the final year of a contracted three-year run at Riverside.
"I expect to win, yeah," he said. "I expect to win by a couple of shots. That's honestly how I feel. No added pressure or anything. I know if I go play my game, I should make a lot of birdies and shoulder be right there."
A strong field that includes past champions Clay Ogden (2007, 2011), Pete Stone (2006), Kim Thompson (2001), James Drew (2012) and Zach Johnson (2013) might have other ideas. Lashley, who also won the event in 2009, is now on the Web.com Tour, as is Utah transplant B.J. Staten of Cottonwood Heights, the 2014 winner at Riverside in a playoff over Lashley.
As for Rodgers, who just missed qualifying for the Canadian and Latinoamerica tours last winter, he has learned how to balance golf with the rest of his life the past six months, thanks to advice from his fiancee Keeshia, who is a pharmacist, and golfing friends such as seasoned amateur Dan Horner, his caddy in the Web.com Tour's Utah Championship at Thanksgiving Point last month.
"I enjoy golf and I enjoy the competition, but I've learned I need to balance my life," he said. "I can't just play golf, and so if I have a better lifestyle on and off the course, my game does better.
"So that's what I am really trying to focus on, is be myself whether I shoot 65 or 75, and know that if I put in the work, I will get out there [on PGA Tour]," Rodgers continued. "I know with my abilities and my talents, I can get there. I just can't get discouraged when things don't go my way."
Siegfried & Jensen Utah Open
Where • Riverside Country Club, Provo
When • Friday through Sunday
Local favorites • Jordan Rodgers, Nick Killpack, Chris Moody, Tommy Sharp, Zach Johnson, Joe Summerhays, Clay Ogden, Matt Baird, Pete Stone
First-place check • $21,000