Local golfers finish high at Utah ChampionshipAug 12, 2022 02:08PM ● By Tom Haraldsen
Patrick Fishburn, a former BYU golfer from Ogden, rolled in this 18-foot birdie putt on the 18th hole to tie for second at the Utah Championship. Photo by Tom Haraldsen
FARMINGTON—For a few fleeting moments during Sunday’s final round of the Utah Championship at Oakridge Country Club, it looked like the Korn Ferry Tour event might produce its first-ever home grown winner. Ogden’s Patrick Fishburn, the former BYU golfer who is having his best year on the tour, was in the lead for a couple of holes, as was Peter Kuest, who is not from Utah but played for BYU as well.
It took a late and dramatic finish by Korn Ferry Tour rookie Andrew Kozan, playing just one group behind Fishburn, to capture his first title. He shot a final round 63 and finished 21-under-par, one stroke ahead of Fishburn, Justin Suh (who has earned his PGA Tour card for next season) and Ashton Van Horne. Kuest tied for fifth at 19-under.
The weekend had a local flavor with two more former Cougars in the mix, Kaysville’s Daniel Summerhays and Orem’s Zac Blair. They both finished at 13-under and tied for 30th, but took different routes to get there. And Austen Christiansen, who played for a year at BYU but then transferred back to a school in Texas, tied for 47th at 1 under.
The tourney was delayed three times by rain and lightning (twice on Friday and once on Saturday). That pushed Summerhays into an early morning finish on Saturday to his second round. On Friday, his group was one of four that could not finish due to darkness after two rain delays. Coming back at 7 a.m. Saturday to finish, and needing to make birdie on one of his last two holes to make the cut at 5 under, he sank a 4-footer on number 18 to move into the third round.
“I actually missed a 6-footer on 17, so I was happy to make the bird on 18,” he said. With that, he continued to climb up the leaderboard and birdied 18 again on Sunday to finish at 13-under. Blair was in the hunt after two rounds but faded as the weekend ensued. Still, he tied for 30th with Summerhays, who along with Fishburn had large entourages of fans follow them throughout the Sunday rounds.
Summerhays said at Monday’s Tony Finau clinic that he thought he could shoot about 14 or 15 under, and that the winner could be 22 under if the winds stayed calm. He was close on all accounts.
Fishburn was at 20-under, just one behind Kozan, when he had “just one bad swing, really” on number 17. His drive on the dogleg 17th went two far right, and it led to a difficult chip that left him with a 15-foot putt for par. His putt just missed. That meant he had to birdie 18 to have a chance, and he did, knocking in an 18-footer to the roar of a very vocal and supportive crowd. It was up to Kozan to make par and remain at 21-under. Even then, a few other golfers in the seven twosomes behind him could have tied or topped his mark, but none did.
The Utah Sports Commission and Tony Finau Foundation put on a wonderful tournament at Oakridge, which hosted the Korn Ferry event for the sixth straight year. The tour is set to return again next summer to the venue. The tourney granted exemptions to Summerhays, Kuest and Carson Lundell (who missed the 36-hole cut). The five Utah golfers who played all weekend gave crowds plenty to cheer for.
Fishburn earned $48,750 for his T-2 finish, his biggest paycheck as a pro. Kuest also had a career-high check of $24,225 for a T-5 finish. Summerhays and Blair both earned $4,369 for their finishes. Fishburn also moved up to 46th on the KFT points list, hoping to emerge from the tournament finals in the Top 25 and earn a PGA Tour card for next season. λ