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Garrit Johnson | courtesy photo Cole Ogden competes in the Utah State Amateur Round of 16 matches at Ogden Golf and Country.
Golf: Ex-Ute still in hunt at Utah State Amateur
Utah State Amateur » Wright in final eight along with 4 Cougars.
First Published Jul 10 2014 08:24 pm • Last Updated Jul 10 2014 11:28 pm

Ogden • You just can’t make this stuff up.

How else to describe Thursday at the Utah State Amateur golfer tournament, as the field was cut from 32 to eight at Ogden Golf and Country Club and tales abounded about how this match, or that match, ended in absolutely crazy fashion?

At a glance

Friday’s quarterfinals

O 7:30 a.m. » Cole Ogden, 21, vs. Jon Wright, 43

7:45 a.m. » Tommy Higham, 24, vs. CJ Lee, 19

8 a.m. » Kai Ruiz, 17, vs. Thomas Young, 34

8:15 a.m. » Preston Richards, 24, vs. Kurt Owen, 28

Thursday’s results

Utah State AmateurRound of 32 results

At Ogden Golf and Country Club

Cole Ogden def. Kirk Siddens, 1 up

Austin Banz def. Carl Jensen, 1 up

Jon Wright def. Jeffrey Jolley, 3 and 1

Mike Jurca def. John Owen, 5 and 4

Tommy Higham def. Brady Stanger, 4 and 3

Colton Dallimore def. Jason Hargett, 8 and 7

Tanner Alder def. Shon Woodland, 3 and 1

CJ Lee def. Kalin Peterson, 2 and 1

Jake Holt def. Dana Nelson, 5 and 4

Kai Ruiz def. Dane Rosa, 1 up

Thomas Young def. Mitchell Schow, 4 and 3

Jesse Clark def. Dan Horner, 3 and 2

Preston Richards def. Devon Purser, 2 and 1

Marty Jacks def. Chris Hermansen, 4 and 3

Kurt Owen def. Aaron Yeates, 5 and 4

David Jennings def. John Harris, 4 and 2

Thursday’s Round of 16 Results

Ogden def. Banz, 5 and 4

Wright def. Jurca, 2 and 1

Higham def. Dallimore, 4 and 2

Lee def. Alder, 2 and 1

Ruiz def. Holt, 1 up

Young def. Clark, 4 and 2

Richards def. Jacks, 19 holes

Owen def. Jennings, 4 and 2

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"It was like getting pulled over by a cop— your heart just skips a beat," said Jon Wright, the 2012 champion.

The ex-University of Utah golfer, 43, was describing the ending to his Round of 16 win over BYU golfer Mike Jurca, but he could have been talking about the day as a whole, especially for those guys who tasted defeat.

Jurca’s short chip on No. 17 that would have prolonged the match struck the center of the flag stick, but somehow stayed out of the cup. If the St. George native had won the match, current BYU golfers would have owned the entire left side of the bracket.

Now, the Cougars will just have to settle for having four in the final eight.

"That was absolutely [at] the center of the hole," Wright said. "If the flag is not in, that goes right in. .. I thought it was right in the middle."

Jurca threw his cap off in disgust, and couldn’t even manage to walk to the hole to pick up his ball after Wright conceded the next putt. His swing coach eventually retrieved the ball and literally had to drop it in Jurca’s pocket because he wouldn’t take it.

But if you think Jurca felt badly, consider the plight of Jake Holt. Remember the former Southern Utah University golfer from Tooele who won medalist honors Tuesday for a good State Am memory after falling victim to defending champion Cole Ogden’s tap-in eagle on No. 18 in last year’s semifinals?

Well, it happened again.

story continues below
story continues below

On No. 18, with his match against 17-year-old Kai Ruiz all square, Holt knocked his tee shot on the par-3 hole inside Ruiz’s shot, then watched as the BYU commit who will be a senior at Maple Mountain High this fall rolled in a 45-foot bomb. Holt then just missed his 25-footer, and the match he had led by two holes with four to play was over. So was his quest to return to the semifinals.

All Holt could do was sit in his cart and shrug his shoulders as Ruiz celebrated the come-from-behind win.

"My heart probably did skip a beat," Ruiz said after crediting his caddy, John Taylor, for convincing him it was a dead-straight putt. "It was awesome. I usually never fist pump, but I did there."

Storylines like that kept coming and coming, but the only Round of 16 match that went extra holes was staged by Marty Jacks, a 36-year-old Kaysville businessman, and Preston Richards, a 24-year-old Utah Valley University golfer. Richards won the 19th hole with a par to delight his strong contingent of supporters after Jacks found tree trouble with his tee shot.

Thursday afternoon’s first match was contested by BYU lefty Tommy Higham and Colton Dallimore, a Weber State golfer from nearby Syracuse. Higham birdied the first three holes to go three up and never trailed, but did see Dallimore trim his lead to one at the turn.

Higham will face another BYU golfer, sophomore CJ Lee, in today’s quarterfinals. Lee held off Rogers State (Okla.) golfer Tanner Alder 2 and 1 as the Cougars’ domination was marred only by Wright’s win over Jurca.

"We usually get the best in the state to come to BYU," said Higham, who is actually from Shelley, Idaho. "I don’t think it is any surprise" that BYU golfers are taking control.

Ogden held off Senior Amateur champ Kirk Siddens 1 up in the morning, then topped another incoming Cougar, West High grad Austin Banz, 5 and 4, in the afternoon.

Want more storylines?

One of Friday’s quarterfinals will pit the past two champions, Ogden and Wright, a former pro who has made an (amateur) career out of ousting BYU golfers at the State Am but always, always expresses his respect for the program coach Bruce Brockbank runs at Utah’s rival school.

"Are you serious?" Wright said when told he’d face Ogden. "…I gotta figure out something. I am not hitting it very well. I gotta figure it out, because Cole is way too good to hit a lot of loose shots [against]."

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