Patrick Fishburn (Randy Dodson, Fairways Media photo)
By Mike Sorenson, Deseret News
PROVO, UT (August 25, 2017) — If nothing else, Patrick Fishburn sure knows how to handle the first round of the Siegfried & Jensen Utah Open.
A year after posting a record-tying 62 in the first round of the tournament, Fishburn fired a 9-under-par 63 in Friday’s first round at Riverside Country Club to take a two-stroke lead after 18 holes of the 54-hole tournament.
The 24-year-old, who will be a senior for the BYU golf team this year, put 11 birdies on his card en route to his sparkling 63. That’s two shots better than Edward Olson, a professional from Santa Cruz, California, and three ahead of Ty Travis, a 24-year-old from Boise who was the runner-up in last year’s Utah Open, and Riley Arp of Scottsdale.
“It was pretty similar,” Fishburn said in comparing his opening round to last year’s. “Today I was hitting a lot of iron-shots pretty close, hitting the driver well and I chipped the ball pretty well.”
Fishburn acknowledged that he hasn’t played quite as well as last summer when he won the Utah State Amateur and said Friday’s round was “one of the better rounds I’ve had for a little bit.”
Zac Blair, the 27-year-old former BYU golfer who has been a regular on the PGA Tour the past two years, finished with a 4-under-par 68 and is tied with seven golfers for seventh place. Blair missed by one point of qualifying for this week’s FedEx Cup playoffs and will tee it up next week in the first leg of the Web.com playoffs in an effort to regain his PGA Tour status for next season.
“I got a bunch of looks. I just need to make a few more putts,” said Blair, whose dad, Jimmy, caddied for him before playing his own round of golf in the afternoon.
“It’s always fun to play at home on a course you know pretty well and getting my dad out here on the bag was pretty cool. It’s awesome.”
Fishburn started off hot with birdies on five of his first seven holes, before hitting a bump and making bogeys at the 9th and 10th holes with a missed green and a three-putt. Then he ran off five straight birdies from holes 12-16, before adding another at No. 18.
Last year, Fishburn followed his opening 62 with a 71 to keep the lead, but a final-round 73 left him in a tie for fifth place overall, six shots behind winner Zahkai Brown. Fishburn says he won’t abandon his usual aggressive style but will try to play “smarter” the next two days than last year.
“Sometimes I play a little too aggressive,” he said. “I’m still going to play aggressive, but probably not stupid.”
View results for Utah Open
ABOUT THE Utah Open
72-hole stroke play championship with qualifiers
prior to the tournament. Open to Professional
and Amateurs with a slope index of 4.8 or less are
eligible to enter the Utah Open Qualifying. Amateurs
are not eligible for Professional Purse Money but will
have a separate amateur merchandise purse.
View Complete Tournament Information