Justin Shluker ready to defend first of his Salt Lake City double this weekend
Justin Shluker
Justin Shluker

By Kurt Kragthorpe, Special to AmateurGolf.com

Salt Lake City’s revered Bonneville Golf Course is approaching its 100th anniversary, and no player in modern history owns a distinction quite like Justin Shluker’s.

Shluker last summer became the first golfer in 56 years to win both the Richard C. Kramer Salt Lake City Amateur and the Salt Lake City Open. Bruce Summerhays, who went on to win three PGA Tour Champions titles, was the most recent player to do so, and even that achievement comes with a qualifier. The SLC Open in those days was played at a different course.

So the 28-year-old Shluker, a former Sonoma State golfer from Park City High School, will begin a double defense of his titles this weekend at Bonneville. The SLC Amateur, renamed in memory of Kramer, Bonneville’s longtime head professional and a member of the Utah Golf Hall of Fame, is a 36-hole event scheduled for Saturday and Sunday.

Lone Peak High School star Cooper Jones, who missed the 2022 SLC Amateur because he was competing in U.S. Open final qualifying, won the 2021 event at age 17 (as the youngest winner in tournament history). Jones is entered this weekend, although he conceivably could find a spot in a U.S. Open field as the first alternate from a local site at Farmington, Utah.

Last year, Shluker shot a pair of 67s for a 10-under-par total and three-stroke victory over Utah Golf Association veteran Ryan Brimley. Shluker posted 67-65 in August to win the SLC Open over Casey Fowles and Mark Owen, two of Utah’s top PGA club pros.

Conflicts with Monday’s final stage of U.S. Open qualifying again will take away about a half-dozen would-be contenders, including Utah Junior Golf Association stars Peter Kim and Parker Bunn, but the SLC Amateur always produces a worthy winner. Shluker would love to keep his streak going at Bonneville, where he feasted on the four par-5 holes in both of last year’s victories.

“I feel like I can hit my driver straight most days and the par-5s are super getable, (so) you just have to score that way,” he said.

Kurt Kragthorpe is a senior writer for Fairways Media, publishers of Fairways magazine and Fairways 18 digital magazine.

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ABOUT THE Salt Lake City Amateur

One of the most popular tournaments in Utah that always fills up quickly. Most of the state’s top amateurs will be in the 100-player championship flight, with another 100 or so in the A and B flights. 36 holes of stroke play.

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