Francis aiming at State Am |

Francis aiming at State Am

Parkite Todd Francis practices his swing in preparation for the upcoming Utah State Amateur.

Life is funny sometimes.

When Parkite Todd Francis tried to qualify for the Utah State Amateur, the country’s oldest continuously running tournament, as a high school golfer, he couldn’t make the cut. As a member of the Miners golf team, he had the pressure of weekly tournaments and even success as the runner-up in the state finals, yet he just couldn’t seem to qualify for the prestigious summer event.

Years later, Francis, now an adult with a full-time job at a software company, took his less-intense experience as a weekly recreational golfer and earned himself a pass to the 2006 Utah State Amateur, which will be held at Soldier Hollow in early July.

In fact, he did better than qualify. He was a medallist with the lowest score of the day during the afternoon session of the Utah State Amateur qualifier held at Wasatch Mountain Lake Golf Course earlier this month.

Winning at Wasatch Mountain that afternoon was no small feat. Golfers had to battle high winds and even stopped play for an hour, because of weather conditions. Francis says that the day was pretty challenging, but somehow he was able to succeed.

Francis is hoping to take some of that positive golfing karma with him to Midway. He says that living nearby the Wasatch County course is a big benefit for local qualifiers. Not only do most of them play at Soldier Hollow regularly, but now they can make regular trips to the course in order to orient themselves better.

"I played there just this weekend," Francis said. "A lot of guys in Park City have the advantage. It’s 20 minutes away and we can play it anytime."

Francis’ foray in the tournament world is somewhat new, but he hopes to continue with it throughout the summer. He will compete in the Salt Lake Open and will attempt to qualify for the U.S. Amateur.

"It’s been awhile, but it’s always been a passion," Francis said.

Until now he has been making small strides on the local circuit. Last year, as a member of the Park City Golf Club’s Men’s League, he was able become the Club Champion. He also spends a lot of time on the links with fellow State Am qualifier Steele DeWald, and his roommate, Nate Roberts, a U.S. Ski Team member and excellent golfer in his own right.

Now, Francis is also logging a lot more time on the green. After qualifying, he has found himself at the golf course twice as much and he works at his putting and chipping every chance he can get. He knows that Soldier Hollow is difficult and wants to make sure that he’s prepared. Francis and DeWald go out often to challenge themselves in preparation for the pressure of the State Am.

"It’s always good to go out with someone that’s competitive," Francis said.

Francis knows that he will have plenty of support. His family plans to attend the event and his cousin, Boston Citensor, will caddy for him.

But mostly, Francis is excited that life finally afforded him the chance to play in the state’s biggest event.

"There’s a lot of history," Francis said. "It’s a privilege to qualify and make it to the tournament, because it’s so prestigious. It’s most definitely the tournament in Utah in the summer."

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