Struggles Abound at State Am
July 11, 2008
It wasn’t quite the Utah State Am Steele DeWald had envisioned.
After being named as one of the top players to watch at the event by media and golf experts alike, the Park City native seemed like a sure bet to at least make it into match play on Friday. Unfortunately, DeWald shot himself right out contention scoring a 78 on the Gold Course at Soldier Hollow the first day.
DeWald, who golfs for Arizona State, struggled on the front nine in his first round before recovering for the rest of the round. After starting on hole 10 on the Gold Course, DeWald had troubles on holes 13 and 16 where his ball landed off of the green.
"I got off to a horrible start," DeWald said. "After that, the next 28 were even and I was able to get it together."
He could have made up the difference on the Silver Course on Thursday, but an even-par score of 72 didn’t give him a low enough combined total score to make it to match play. DeWald shot a 150. Players with a combined 144 or lower made the 31-man cut.
"I don’t think I’ve ever hit the ball so good and played so poorly," he said.
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DeWald did drive the ball well, hitting 30 out of 36 greens, but then had difficulties in his short game with 75 putts.
"It was one of the worst putting tournaments I’ve had in a long time," hee said.
DeWald said the greens at Soldier Hollow must the toughest in the state. Numerous times he had birdie putts inside of 15 feet but the fast greens made it difficult to sink the ball.
"You don’t find greens that fast in Utah," he said. "It’s tough to read them."
DeWald was golfing alongside Brigham Young University standout Devin Daniels, who set a Gold Course record on the first day by shooting an eight-under-par 64, but DeWald said that didn’t faze him.
"I didn’t care what he did," DeWald said. "He’s a great player, but he didn’t intimidate me. People get hot. I don’t let it bother me."
He is also taking the disappointment in stride and chalking it up to a part of the game.
"I had a great shot at this coming in," he said. "I didn’t expect to be hanging out this weekend sleeping in. I hit the ball great. It just wasn’t my tournament. It goes to show you never fully have it down."
Things went a little better for fellow Park City golfer Todd Francis. The self-described "weekend warrior golfer," who manages a software company in Salt Lake full-time, managed to once again parlay his recreational hobby into a notable amateur performance. Francis scored a one-over 73 on the Silver Course on Wednesday and a 74 on Thursday. Last year, Francis earned his way into match play at Thanksgiving Point. His combined score of 147 wasn’t low enough to receive a return trip, but Francis was still pleased with his two-day efforts.
"I had trouble on just a few big holes. Overall, I did pretty good," Francis said. "It was a lot of fun."
Francis struggled at the end of both courses, bogeying holes 17 and 18 on the Silver Course and double bogeying the 16th hole on the Gold Course. Francis also said that the greens were more than challenging.
"The greens were super fast," Francis said. "I couldn’t make my putts. If I had finished the last two holes, it could have put me into match play."
Danny Clark, another Parkite, also fared well at the Utah State Amateur. He scored a 79 on the first day on the Silver Course and an 76 on the Gold Course Thursday.
The Utah State Amateur will continue through this weekend. The championship round will be held on the Silver Course on Sunday morning. Head pro Chris Newson said the Silver Course is very spectator friendly because it is walkable and there are great views of the course from the clubhouse.
The event is free to the public. Spectators must walk the course. There will be concessions and bathrooms available in Soldier Hollow’s clubhouse on course. For more information, contact Soldier Hollow at (435) 654-7442 or visit http://www.stateparks.utah.gov/golf/soldierhollow.htm. To get to the golf course, take U.S. 40 to Heber and turn right on 100 South, which leads into Midway. In Midway, take a left on Center Street and a right on Tate Lane. The drive is about 25 minutes from Park City.