Utah Amateur Champion Jordan Rodgers (BYU Athletics)
MIDWAY, Utah — The championship match of the 117th Utah State Amateur was a see-saw battle between two friends and it was typified by the loser’s first remarks, “I’m not as disappointed for me as I am happy for him. He’s a great player and a great person and he earned it and deserved it.”
The loser, Darrin Overson, was commenting about the winner, Jordan Rodgers. Overson was happy when he won the title 17 years ago (the 100th Utah State Am) and so he knows how important it was for Rodgers to win this one. A second one isn't as important as the first one.
The 36-hole championship match, that required walking the up-and-downhill Soldier Hollow course, was close until the very end when Rodgers hit a spectacular 270 yard second shot into the wind that led to the birdie that won the hole that put him two-up with two to play. It was the first time that either player ever had a two hole lead in the match. They each held a one-hole lead and lost it three different times.
The two have been good friends for many years and play golf together occasionally at Riverside Country Club where Overson has worked part time and Rodgers has been playing for BYU.
Rodgers, a Skyline High graduate and Utah Junior Golf Association product, has just completed an outstanding career at BYU and intends to turn professional after the USGA’s United States Amateur.
“We both missed some short putts, and I chipped horribly,” Rodgers said, “but overall we both played very good golf, especially considering the windy conditions,” he added.
Rodgers had one of the most dominating performances in Utah State Am history. He won a share of medalist honors and then blitzed his first four match play opponents without ever having to play the last three holes. He had to come from behind in his semifinal match against Seokown Jeon and in the final match against Overson, but he prevailed when it counted. It should be noted that former Utah State Am champion Dan Horner caddied for Rodgers. Horner won his title when it was held at Soldier Hollow in 2008.They are good friends and sometime playing partners.
In the end, perhaps Rodgers wanted it more, and Overson wanted it more for Rodgers too.
While playing the last hole word spread over the course that former Utah State Am champion and former BYU player Daniel Summerhays had just rolled in four straight birdies in the PGA Tour’s John Deere Classic. The news didn’t go unnoticed by Rodgers.
Having three former State Am champions on the PGA Tour has been duly noted by Utah golfers and has made the previously unreachable stars reachable. Rodgers was a teammate of Zac Blair’s and that helped make pursuing professional dreams more reasonable and justifiable.
Rodgers now has on his mantle the one common achievement of Summerhays, Finau, and Blair---the Utah State Amateur trophy.
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