BYU golfer Kelton Hirsch is not eligible to claim the $20,000 first prize in the Siegfried & Jensen Utah Open and former PGA Tour player Dean Wilson doesn't need the money.
That helps explain why each of them played so well in Saturday's second round at Riverside Country Club in Provo.
Hirsch moved into the lead with a 7-under-par 65, good for a 12-under total and a two-stroke advantage over New Mexico pro Samuel Saunders and Blake Cannon, a former Colorado State golfer who has played PGA Tour Latino America in 2019.
Hirsch can give the BYU golf program a second Utah Open win in three years, after Patrick Fishburn blitzed the field in 2017. Fishburn is now playing the Mackenzie Tour-Canada.
Former BYU golfer Jordan Rodgers is tied for fourth, another shot back. The group tied for seventh includes Wilson, 2013 champion Zach Johnson of Farmington, BYU golfer Carson Lundell and Riverside teaching pro Matt Baird. Wilson posted a 64, the low round of the tournament, making six birdies and an eagle on the par-5 No. 5.
Hirsch birdied four of his last five holes in Friday's first round. Starting the second round on the back nine, he birdied three of the first four holes, although he bogeyed the par-4 No. 14. He responded with five more birdies on his last 13 holes.
“This tournament's always been about just enjoying yourself and seeing how your game stacks up against the pros,” Hirsch told Fairways Media.
Hirsch, a Viewmont High School alumnus and the 2017 State Amateur champion, is the son-in-law of Devin Dehlin, the Utah Open tournament director as a Utah Section PGA administrator.
Rodgers won the 2015 State Am and then nearly added the Utah Open title after turning pro that year. He finished second to Nate Lashley, who’s now a PGA Tour winner.
Wilson, 49, retired from the PGA Tour in 2012, having won one tournament and earned nearly $9 million. He plans to enter the PGA Tour Champions Qualifying Tournament in December, just to give himself the option of playing in some tournaments. But “when I think about full-time touring,” he said, “I don't want to do it.”
Having developed strong friendships at Riverside during his BYU career, Wilson has played regularly in the Utah Open since the event moved to Provo in 2014. “I can't ask for anything more,” he said. “It's nice to come out and play like this and not worry about it.”
The 36-hole cut came at 2 over par. Female professionals Sirene Blair and Sadie Palmer failed to advance, although Blair posted a second-round 71. Former Jazz star Deron Williams, playing with Hirsch, shot 80-74 and Hirsch was complimentary of the pairing. “We had a lot of good energy and a lot of good shots,” he said.
132 – a-Kelton Hirsch (67-65).
134 – Samuel Saunders (65-69), Blake Cannon (69-65).
135 – Jordan Rodgers (67-68), Neil Johnson (66-69), Ty Chambers (67-68).
136 – Dean Wilson (72-64), Zach Johnson (69-67), a-Carson Lundell (69-67), Matt Baird (70-66).
137 – Mitch Carlson (68-69), Justin Keiley (68-69).
138 – Joe Summerhays (70-68), Dalton Stanger (69-69), Mark Baldwin (68-70).
139 – Steele DeWald (70-69), Zahkai Brown (70-69), Chris Moody (69-70), Dustin Volk (70-69).
140 – Phillip Reedy (71-69), B.J. Staten (71-69), Dusty Fielding (72-68), a-Brock Stanger (71-69), a-Rhett Rasmussen (71-69).
141 – Derek Butts (71-70), Nick Mason (69-72), Josh Anderson (70-71), Seokwon Jeon (72-69), Tommy Sharp (69-72), Russell Grove (68-73), Brandon Kida (70-71), Chris Dompier (69-72).
142 – John Greco (71-71), Luke Vivolo (71-71), a-Elijah Turner (69-73), Zachary Primavera (72-70), Mark Owen (69-73), George Markham (66-76).
143 – Jacob Holt (69-74), CJ Lee (69-74), Clay Ogden (73-70), Jere Pelletier (70-73), a-Kirk Siddens (69-74).
144 – Craig Hocknull (72-72), Shawn Edwards (70-74), Brian Thompson (71-73), a-Ryan Brimley (74-70), Ben Bryson (72-72), Nick Norton (72-72).
145 – Glenn Workman (76-69), a-Mitchell Schow (74-71), Eddie Stewart (73-72), a-Tyson Shelley (72-73), a-Blake Tomlinson (76-69), Tele Wightman (73-72), a-Cannon Robinson (75-70).
146 – a-Dan Horner (73-73), Joel Skarbo (71-75), a-Spencer Dunaway (75-71), Aaron Purviance (74-72), Pete Stone (72-74), Thomas Cook (76-70), a-Thomas Forsman (74-72), Tyler Fullerton (69-77), Andrew Garner (75-71).
Failed to qualify
147 – Tracy Zobell (72-75), a-Braxton Watts (75-72), a-Randy Hicken (74-73), Isaac Merry (74-73), Travis Hofland (67-80).