Who earned medalist honors at Utah Men’s State Am and who’s playing for the final three match-play spots

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Tyson Shelley chips on to the green during the Utah Championship, part of the PGA Korn Ferry Tour, at Oakridge Country Club in Farmington on Saturday, Aug. 5, 2023. | Spenser Heaps, Deseret News

OGDEN — For years, the most exciting part of the second round of stroke play at the Men’s State Amateur has been the sudden-death playoff at the end of the day to determine the final match-play spots.

Last year darkness prevented a Tuesday evening playoff because weather had delayed play earlier in the day at the Salt Lake Country Club and forced it to move to Wednesday morning. So for this year’s tourney, Utah Golf Association officials decided to make a Wednesday morning playoff a permanent fixture at the annual tournament that has been going on since 1899.

It turns out that 16 golfers will have to sweat it out overnight and come back to Ogden Golf & Country Club bright and early Wednesday to see if they can grab one of the three remaining slots and continue playing in the match-play portion of the tournament. It ties the mark for the largest playoff, matching the 2021 tournament at Alpine CC and the 2011 tourney at Soldier Hollow.

Earlier Tuesday, BYU golfer Tyson Shelley earned medalist honors by shooting a 65 for a two-day total of 132, one shot better than Cougar teammate Cole Ponich, who added a 68 to his first-day 65.

Shelley led for most of the back nine, but bogeyed No. 17 with a three-putt and needed a birdie at the last hole to win. He hit a clutch 9-iron from 181 yards six feet past the hole and calmly stroked in the winning putt.

The 21-year-old Shelley said he was happy to win medalist honors, but said he was “more excited for match play,” having not advanced past the round of 16 in previous State Am experiences.

Ponich, 24, who will be a senior at BYU, said he is also focusing on match play after never getting past the round of 32 in previous State Ams.

John Fox, a 23-year-old from Holladay, had the low round of the tournament with a 7-under 63 Tuesday, which left him at 134. Fox was a top prep golfer at Olympus High but has spent the last three summers away from golf as a salesman in different parts of the country.

David Liechty, who lost in last year’s final, finished stroke play in fourth place at 135, followed by defending champion Simon Kwon and Cooper Jones at 136.

Zac Jones, the 2022 champion, who was the co-leader after the first round, came in at 138.

Jones had been cruising along at 7-under for the tournament when he ran into trouble at the short par-4 13th hole where he hit two balls out of bounds and made a quadruple-bogey 8 to fall from contention.

Now the three golfers who survive Wednesday’s playoff will be among the 64 golfers who will head into match play Wednesday with the 64-man bracket being reduced to two finalists for a 36-hole final on Saturday morning. Winners will play two matches Thursday and two more on Friday.

STATE AM NOTES: Among those missing the cut were former champions Nick Nelson (149), Jordan Rodgers (151), Gregg Oliphant (152), Brad Sutterfield (152) and Steve Borget (164) . . . Martin Leon, the 2021 champion, withdrew when a spot in Trans-Mississippi tournament in Kansas opened up this week . . . The last time the State Am was played at Ogden in 2017, 15 players were to play off for the final 14 match-play spots. But when one golfer didn’t show up for the playoff, 14 golfers went home happy . . . Ogden has played host to eight State Amateur tournaments since 1970, second only to Alpine Country club, which has hosted nine.

Utah State Amateur

Scores after 36 holes of stroke play at par-70 Ogden Country Club.

Golfers at 148 will play off for final three spots in match play

132 – Tyson Shelley (67-65)

133 – Cole Ponich (65-68)

134 – John Fox (71-63)

135 – David Liechty (68-67)

136 – Simon Kwon (68-70), Cooper Jones (70-66)

137 – Bridger Holmes (70-67), Cooper Cannon (70-67)

138 – Zac Jones (65-73), Will Pederson (68-70), Jackson Rhees (72-66)

139 – Zach Felts (73-66), Cole Ogden (70-69)

140 – Noah Schone (68-72)

141 – Parker Bunn (73-68), Bowen Mauss (72-69), Noah Moody (71-70), Davis Johnson (70-71), Hayden Banz (68-73)

142 – Lincoln Markham (71-71), Cameron Crawford (71-71), Jake Griffin (73-69), Peyton Hastings (69-73), Kenny Palmer (69-73), Rex Wilson (73-69)

143 – Elijah Turner (70-73), Davis Heslington (75-68), Brendan Thomas (68-75), John Cook (71-72), Shane McMillan (72-71), Cole Enlow (71-72), Bode Salas (71-72), Ryker Dunkley (71-73)

144 – Dan Horner (72-72), Carsen Dopp (70-74), Matthew Seppanen (72-72), Leo Torres (69-75)

145 – Austin Rustand (74-71), Steele Dewald (73-72), Andrew Barton (72-73), Will Blanchard (74-71), Austin Geddings (73-72), Josh Howe (70-75), Jacob Marx (73-72), Darrin Overson (76-69)

146 – Oscar Maxfield (76-70), Devin Tovey (75-71), Preston Chaney (70-76), John Owen (76-70), Brogan Bennett (75-71), Sterling Peterson (76-71), Andrew Ahlstrom (73-73), Brock Porter (74-72), Tyler Ewell (70-76)

147 – Jack Summerhays (72-75), Dylan McDaniel (76-71), Blake Murray (71-76), Maddox Nielsen (75-72), Nicholas Taggart (76-71), Aidan Thain (74-73), Braylon Bingham (77-70)

148 – Ryan Barber (75-73), David Jennings (79-69), Jon Wright (75-73), Caleb Norton (78-70), KJ Ofahengaue (70-78), Michael Blackham (78-70), Corver Barnes (72-76), T.J. Telford (74-74), Dallin Wheatley (72-78), Seth Winterton (74-74), Austin Shelley (75-73), Will Pizza (74-74), Ty Brady (76-72), Devin Andrews (75-73), Gavin Hansen (75-73), Scottie Carn (73-76)

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