Midway • While changes to this year’s Utah State Amateur Championship allowed more golfers to compete, it’s the old guard that’s dominating the field at Soldier Hollow Golf Club.
The top half of Friday’s quarterfinal bracket looks like this: 2012 defending champion Jon Wright will tee off against 2008 champion Dan Horner; 2011 champion Jeff Evans will play 2010 champion Joe Parkinson.
Evans, who won the tournament two years ago when it was contested here at Soldier Hollow, looked to have the easiest path to the quarterfinals when he drew No. 60 seed Joey Olson. But Olson was the only golfer to put up much of a fight against one of the four past champions and took the match all the way until the 17th hole.
“I definitely had confidence in my ball striking today, but I’m struggling with the greens a little,” Evans said after defeating Olson 3 and 1. “Both guys I played today played well; I just was able to do it a little bit longer than they were.”
Evans, who is from Cedar City and played golf at Southern Utah University, said he plays at Soldier Hollow only about once a year, but it seems to suit him well. Besides advancing to the quarterfinals this year and winning in 2011, he said he had advanced to a national tournament through qualifying at this course.
“It’s just full of good memories,” Evans said.
As for Highland’s Olson, he made it much further than expected as the No. 60 seed and was the lowest-seeded golfer left in the Round of 16.
“I’m kind of a nobody with Utah golf,” Olson said, “But I feel like I can compete with anybody, so I wasn’t intimidated. I felt like it was a good chance for me to show people that I can play.”
Defending champion Wright won his match 3 and 2 against the other Round of 16 surprise participant, 48th-seeded Nathan Nyman.
On the bottom half of the bracket, BYU golfer Cole Ogden easily advanced 5 and 4 past Kai Ruiz. In the quarterfinals he’ll tee off against the lowest-seeded golfer left in the tournament, 42nd-seeded Jeff Powars. Playing against No. 7 seed Tanner Higham in the Round of 16, Powars trailed for the entire match before coming from behind to get to all square on 17. After halving 18, Powars won the extra hole to advance to the quarterfinals.
Connor Jones needed 20 holes to beat Charlie Duensing. Jones, the No. 27 seed, will tee off against No. 30 seed Jacob Holt on Friday.
Round of 16 results
Utah State Amateur
• Jon Wright def. Nathan Nyman, 3 and 2
• Dan Horner def. Jordan Hammer, 8 and 6
• Joe Parkinson def. John Owen, 5 and 4
• Jeff Evans def. Joey Olson, 3 and 1
• Cole Ogden def. Kai Ruiz, 5 and 4
• Jeff Powars def. Tanner Higham, 19 holes
• Jacob Holt def. Kelton Hirsch, 2 up
• Connor Jones def. Charlie Duensing, 20 holes