Todd Barker is back.
Longtime followers of Utah golf surely remember Barker, the superintendent at Fore Lakes Golf Course in Taylorsville who dominated the state's amateur circuit a couple of decades ago and won the 1997 State Amateur at Alpine Country Club to end a long stretch of futility in the state's premier amateur event.
Now 59, Barker has played his way into the Round of 32 in the State Am at Soldier Hollow Golf Club, defeating another seasoned veteran, 56-year-old Steve Poulson, 1 up, on Wednesday as match play began with a field of 64 for the first time in the 115-year history of the event.
It was Barker's first match-play win at the State Am since he downed Todd Tanner in the championship match at Alpine. His only other appearance since 1999 in match play was in 2003 at Thanksgiving Point, a first-round loss to Stephen Newren.
The tournament resumes Thursday with the Champions Breakfast in the morning, followed by Round of 32 matches. The Round of 16 matches will be played Thursday afternoon.
When Thursday's play is over, weather permitting, only eight golfers will remain in the quest to be the 2013 State Amateur champion.
Wednesday was a good day for former champions at Soldier Hollow. Jon Wright, the defending champion, ousted playoff survivor Brandon Hargett 4 and 3, while 2011 champion Jeff Evans of Cedar City defeated Colton Dallimore, 3 and 2.
Evans is clearly comfortable at Soldier Hollow: He defeated Vernal's Stratton Schulz 8 and 7 the last time the State Am was here, in 2011.
BYU golfer Joe Parkinson, who wasn't able to defend the title he won in 2010 at Alpine Country Club until now because he left on an LDS Church mission, also won easily, defeating Brady Stanger, 4 and 3.
The 2008 champion, Dan Horner, also advanced, beating University of Utah golfer Joe Webber, 1 up. However, 2004 champ Clark Rustand was defeated, falling 1 up to Kai Ruiz.
In the match of the day, Richfield's Mike Jorgensen held off former BYU golfer Devon Purser, who is transferring to Weber State. Jorgensen won the match on the first extra hole. Tuesday's medalist after two rounds of stroke-play qualifying, Farmington's Cole Ogden, a BYU golfer, fell behind early but rallied to defeat playoff survivor Craig Wilson, 1 up.
State Amateur results
Wednesday's match play, round of 64
Jon Wright def. Brandon Hargett, 4 and 3
Preston Richards def. Carey Shinkle, 4 and 3
Mike Jorgensen def. Devon Purser, 19 holes
Nathan Nyman def. Nicholas Smart, 2 and 1
Sammy Cole def. Kenny You, 2 up
Jordan Hammer def. Connor Van Gilder, 3 and 1
Dan Horner def. Joe Webber, 1 up
Ryan Brimley def. Dave Poggi, 5 and 4
Joe Parkinson def. Brady Stanger, 4 and 3
Todd Barker def. Steve Poulson, 1 up
Jordan Rodgers def. Todd Francis, 7 and 5
John Owen def. Noah Cook, 21 holes
Joey Olsen def. Jeffrey Jolley, 2 and 1
Eric Rustand def. Casey Halliday, 3 and 1
Jeff Evans def. Colton Dallmore, 3 and 2
Clark Jones def. David Jennings, 1 up
Cole Ogden def. Craig Wilson, 1 up
Jonathan Oettli def. Gentry Hicks, 3 and 1
Kai Ruiz def. Clark Rustand, 1 up
Jacob Wagstaff def. Hayden Christensen, 5 and 4
Tanner Higham def. Dana Nelson, 5 and 4
Kirk Siddens def. Cody Wass, 6 and 4
Brett Sampson def. Kalin Peterson, 3 and 2
Jeff Powars def. Steven Croft, 4 and 3
Christian Jensen def. Tyler Miner, 3 and 2
Jacob Holt def. Rafe Johnson, 2 and 1
Kelton Hirsch def. Tommy Higham, 19 holes
Stratton Schulz def. Bjorn Trejo, 4 and 3
JT Timmons def. Chris Hermansen, 2 up
Conner Jones def. Tommy Forsman, 20 holes
Seokwon Jeon def. Matthew Bushman, 1 up
Charlie Duensing def. Reed Nielsen, 2 and 1
O At Soldier Hollow Golf Club
Round of 32 • 9 a.m.
Round of 16 • 1 p.m.