Jeremy Ranch • Holding the State Amateur’s traveling trophy as he stood on the No. 16 green Saturday, University of Utah golfer Mitchell Schow understood what he accomplished at Jeremy Ranch Golf & Country Club. Exactly how he did it, though? That’s another story.
Schow’s blitzing of Ute teammate Blake Tomlinson in a five-hole stretch on the back nine of the morning round will give the 122nd State Am its own place in tournament history. That stunning stretch powered Schow to a 3-and-2 victory in the scheduled 36-hole final match.
Asked if he could have imagined either player doing something like that in such a setting, Schow sounded surprised by the question. “Did I win five straight holes? If I did, that’s crazy.”
• Mitchell Schow becomes the first active University of Utah golfer to win the State Amateur since the late Eric Hogg in 1981, defeating Ute teammate Blake Tomlinson 3 and 2 in the 36-hole final Saturday at Jeremy Ranch Golf & Country Club.
• After being 5 down, Tomlinson makes up three holes as of No. 8 in the afternoon round, but Schow regains control with a birdie on No. 10.
• The 2021 State Am is booked for Alpine Country Club, with Thanksgiving Point GC also used in stroke-play qualifying.
He did, and it was both remarkable and necessary — considering that run accounted for half of the 10 holes Schow won (to Tomlinson’s seven) in the 34-hole duel. Playing a course that hosted his first tryout round as a Park City High School freshman eight years ago, Schow went on a historic roll.
The burst of birdie, par, birdie, birdie and eagle from Nos. 12-16 sent him from 1 down to 4 up, then he went 5 up by winning No. 18 before the break between rounds.
The teammates ate lunch together, extending the friendly theme of the match, and then Tomlinson managed to make things interesting.
“I just knew I had to keep cool,” said Tomlinson, a Skyline High alumnus.
He won four of the next eight holes (with one loss) to get within 2 down and liked his chances to complete an amazing comeback. “I had a little bit of momentum, [but] I knew Mitch was still playing great golf. I was going to have to beat him; he wasn’t going to beat himself,” Tomlinson said.
That theory remained true to the end. Even when Tomlinson launched an epic drive on the par-5 No. 9, Schow matched his birdie. And after Tomlinson’s approach shot stopped closer to the hole on No. 10, Schow still beat him with a birdie to go 3 up.
That drive on No. 9 demands further discussion, though. The hole plays 500 yards from the back tee and Tomlinson had only 75 yards remaining. The math is somewhat deceiving on the dogleg-right hole, as Tomlinson took his ball over some houses with a bit of an unintentional fade. Schow had 185 yards for his approach after a good drive of his own, and played it almost as well.
That sequence illustrated an obvious theme of this match. “He didn’t really have that intimidation factor against me, because I’ve played against him for so long,” Schow said, admiringly. “It’s crazy how far he hits it. … He’s one of the greatest players Utah’s ever seen, so to beat him, I think it really caps off playing well and beating a high-quality competitor.”
Even so, Schow’s win was not unexpected and his performance featured some memorable shots, like his 4-iron from 225 yards on the par-5 No. 13 in the afternoon, leading to a conceded eagle. He set a school scoring-average record in the seven tournaments of Utah’s pandemic-shortened 2019-20 season and has qualified for PGA Tour LatinoAmerica. Schow intends to play another senior year for the Utes as the NCAA is allowing, although if the international tour gets going, he may alter those plans quickly.
Wherever he goes from here, he’ll be remembered for winning the all-Ute final match at Jeremy Ranch, where former teammate Kyler Dunkle (the 2018 State Am runner-up) caddied for Schow. The bigger-than-usual gallery included coaches Garrett Clegg and Chance Cain, several Ute golfers and athletes from other sports.
The caddies carried matching Ute golf bags. Staying true to his offbeat nature, though, Schow modeled a tan cap that he ordered from Brownsboro, Texas. So a golfer who once won the Salt Lake City Amateur in a fishing hat and T-shirt claimed the State Am with a Whiskey Ranch cap. Mitchell Schow played his own way at Jeremy Ranch, and it worked for him.