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Coronavirus will not break amateur tournament's 121-year streak
01 May 2020
by Chris Brauner of AmateurGolf.com

see also: Utah State Amateur Championship, Jeremy Ranch Golf & Country Club

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- Francisco Kjolseth / Salt Lake Tribune photo
- Francisco Kjolseth / Salt Lake Tribune photo

Update May 1 from the Utah Golf Association: The Utah State Amateur has been rescheduled to September 1-5, with one fewer round of match play.

The Utah State Amateur Championship was first played in 1899 and has been played every year since, earning the title of the oldest continuous tournament in the world.

The Spanish flu epidemic of 1918-19 couldn't interrupt the the championship; neither could World War I or World War II. But could the tournament, and the 121-year streak, be in jeopardy due to the coronavirus pandemic?

Not if Jake Miller, the executive director of the Utah Golf Association (UGA), has his way.

"I refuse to go down as the executive director that allowed us to lose the moniker of the longest continuously held tournament in the world," said Miller to Dana Greene of ABC4 Sports in Murray, Utah. "So if its the week after Christmas in St. George where we’re running this thing, we’ll do it."

The 122nd Utah State Amateur is scheduled for June 22-27, and although the UGA has suspended all activities through the end of April, the championship and its various qualifiers are, for now, still on as scheduled.

But one of the big lessons of the current pandemic is that the best laid plans can suddenly be tossed up in the air.

But Miller, bearing the weight of history and the determination to maintain the streak, is confident that Utah will find a way to conduct the championship in 2020.

From Greene's report (which includes a video interview with Miller):

"If you look around the state, the professionals around the state, so many of them played in this event when they were in college or high school and it holds a special place in a lot of golf professional’s hearts," Miller said. "So we expect that if worst comes to worst and we don’t have some of the opportunities that are set up currently, that there will be plenty of PGA pros and facilities around the state that would be willing to step up and make sure that the Utah State Amateur happens this year. The State Am may not look like it normally looks like in 2020 but we will be playing golf and somebody will hoist the trophy."

When the championship is played, reigning U.S. Junior champion Preston Summerhays will be gunning for his third straight state championship.

ABOUT THE Utah State Amateur

Those who qualify, along with the exempt players, will advance to a 36-hole qualifying. The low 64 qualifiers will advance into match play. There will be one round of match play on Wednesday, two rounds of match play on Thursday and Friday, and a 36-hole championship match on Saturday.

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