Golf: Ex-BYU stars return to Riverside in Utah Open
Provo • Returning to Riverside Country Club for the first time since 1975, the Siegfried & Jensen Utah Open will have an old-time BYU flavor.
Riverside is the Cougars’ home course, and the familiar venue is among the reasons PGA Tour veterans Dean Wilson and Keith Clearwater from BYU will compete in the 54-hole event that runs Friday through Sunday. Clay Ogden, another former BYU golfer, was a two-time winner during the Utah Open’s recent seven-year run at Oakridge Country Club in Farmington and is a perennial contender in the event.
Davis Park Golf Course assistant pro Zach Johnson is the defending champion, having edged Arizona pro Jesse Mueller by one stroke with a 15-under-par total at Oakridge to claim the $21,000 first prize. Wilson won the 1999 tournament at South Mountain Golf Club in Draper, before Utah Section PGA administrators took over operation of the event and re-established a rotation of country clubs as host sites. Wilson went on to have a successful PGA Tour career that included one victory, but he now has limited access to tournaments. Clearwater is a part-time Champions Tour player.
The late Michael Brannan won the ’75 Utah Open in the middle of his BYU career. Only once since then has another amateur won the title, but some current and former Cougars could contend this weekend as Riverside begins a two-year host’s role.
Two of Riverside’s staff members, assistant pro Chris Moody and teaching pro Matt Baird, are among the Utah Section PGA’s top players.
The Utah Open, offering free admission, benefits Special Olympics Utah via sponsorhips of eight pro-am events this week. Riverside is part of Special Olympics history. Clinics staged by the Utah Section PGA when it operated a Web.com Tour event in the early 1990s were instrumental in golf becoming an international sport in Special Olympics.