Southern Virginia golfer Nathan Ouimette leads State Am after opening-round 65 at Soldier Hollow’s Silver Course

(Jesse Dodson | Fairways Media/) Preston Summerhays, shown here competing in 2018, fired a 5-under-par 67 on Monday, July 8, 2019, in the opening round of stroke-play qualifying at the Utah State Amateur golf tournament.

After a minor rule change a few years ago, defending champions are no longer exempted into match play at the Utah State Amateur golf tournament and have to survive stroke-play qualifying just like everyone else.

That should be no problem for 2018 champion Preston Summerhays this year, because the teenager from Scottsdale, Ariz., posted a 5-under-par 67 on Monday in the first of two rounds of stroke play at Soldier Hollow Golf Club in Midway. Summerhays posted his score on the Silver Course — considered a bit easier — and will play the Gold Course on Tuesday.

Former Lone Peak High golfer Nathan Ouimette, who just completed his freshman season at Southern Virginia University, fired a 65 on the Silver Course to take a two-shot lead over Summerhays and Park City’s Colton Tanner in the race for medalist honors. Ouimette, from Highland, made eight birdies and a bogey after teeing off at 7:25 a.m. on Monday.

Conditions were fairly benign early, but the wind picked up in the middle of the day and scores rose accordingly.

The field will be cut to 64 for match play after Tuesday’s rounds.

Summerhays, 16, teed off at 9:05 a.m. with fellow favorites Cole Ponich (BYU) and Mitchell Schow (Utah) and made six birdies and a bogey. Ponich and Schow shot 73s.

Summerhays’ 14-year-old sister, Grace, shot a 74 on the Silver Course. She’s the youngest female to ever play in the State Amateur, and fourth female overall.

Salt Lake City’s Brigham Gibbs, the 2018 Senior Player of the Year, shot a 68 on the Gold Course and is tied for fourth with University of Utah golfer Peyton Hastings, who played the Silver Course.

Salt Lake City Amateur champion Kurt Owen is at 69.

Several of the state’s top amateurs are in danger of missing the cut, including South Jordan’s Jeff Jolley (75), Provo’s Clay Bingham (75), Herriman’s Ryan Brimley (75), Pleasant Grove’s Randy Hicken (76), Farr West’s Braydon Swapp (76), SLC’s Brandon Hargett (76), Layton’s David Jennings (77) and past champions Nick Nelson (78) and Jon Wright (78).