The Siegfried & Jensen Utah Open exists mainly to support Special Olympics Utah and give Utah Section PGA members a high-level playing opportunity, amid their regular jobs of teaching golf and operating courses in the state.
Thanks to the annual presence of mini-tour players from the West, though, the competition is tough at Riverside Country Club. The latest evidence of the quality of play in this tournament came in July, when Nate Lashley won a PGA Tour event only four years after winning in Provo.
Utah's top club pros and many amateurs, including former Jazz star Deron Williams, will tee off Friday in the 54-hole event that's being staged at Riverside for a sixth straight year.
Williams, whose family spends the summers in Park City, played in the Utah Open at Oakridge Country Club during his Jazz days. He entered the Provo Open last year, playing respectably but missing the 36-hole cut.
Southern Utah resident Dusty Fielding is the Utah Open’s defending champion. He earned the $20,000 first prize last August with a 16-under-par total, finishing three strokes ahead of three players, including 2016 winner Zahkai Brown of Colorado. Other recent winners in the field include Davis Park assistant pro Zach Johnson (2013) and Cottonwood Heights resident B.J. Staten (2014). Patrick Fishburn, the 2017 winner as a BYU golfer, is playing the Mackenzie Tour-Canada this season in hopes of advancing to the Korn Ferry Tour.
Chris Moody, recently promoted to head professional at Riverside, remains one of the Utah Section PGA's best players. Craig Hocknull, Glenwild Golf Club's director of instruction, has qualified for the past two PGA Championships.
State Amateur semifinalists Spencer Dunaway and Elijah Turner are among the current BYU golfers who are playing on the Cougars’ home course. Jordan Rodgers, who finished second to Lashley in 2015, joins former PGA Tour players Keith Clearwater and Dean Wilson among BYU alumni competing this week.