Golf: Utah Valley's Nicholas Smart leads State Am
Midway • Nicholas Smart, a Utah Valley University golfer from Draper who played high school golf at Juan Diego, shot the lowest round of the day as the 115th State Amateur got under way Monday at Soldier Hollow Golf Club.
Playing on the seemingly tougher Gold Course, Smart shot a 4-under-par 68 in the first of two rounds of stroke-play qualifying.
After Tuesday's second round, the lowest 63 golfers will join defending champion Jon Wright in Wednesday's first round of match play.
Four golfers are a shot back at 69: Utah golfer Casey Halliday, Dixie State's Cody Wass, Southern Utah University's Connor Van Gilder and seasoned amateur Jeffrey Jolley.
A pair of former champions, 1997 winner Todd Barker, 59, and 2010 winner Joe Parkinson, 21, shot 2-under par 70s, along with 2012 runner-up Christian Jensen, 2011 runner-up Stratton Schulz, Dixie State's Kenny You and David Cunningham, and BYU golfer Jordan Rodgers.
Wright overcame a triple-bogey to shoot a 1-over-par 73 on the Silver Course.
Only 34 golfers in the field of 287 shot par or lower on Monday.
Among the pretournament favorites in danger of missing the cut for match play: former champions Dan Horner (75), Darrin Overson (79) and Clark Rustand (75), BYU golfer Mike Jurca (75), SUU star Nic Booth (75), Utah golfers Gentry Hicks (76) and Brandon Kida (79), former Utah golfer Mike Branca (77) and Art City Amateur champion Brandon Hargett (78).
115th UtahState Amateur
Nicholas Smart -4
Casey Halliday -3
Jeffrey Jolley -3
Connor Van Gilder -3
Cody Wass -3
Seven tied -2