I guess it’s the three P’s — putting, patience and persistence. —Brett Sampson

MIDWAY — They say golf is a young man’s game. At least that’s the way it usually is at the Utah Men’s State Amateur, where the teenagers and 20-somethings seem to dominate every year.

Last year, 41-year-old Jon Wright made a statement for the “old” guys by winning the State Amateur at the Salt Lake Country Club.

But you know what they also say — 50 is the new 40 — and this year, the 50-somethings are the ones making the noise at the State Am. Those guys took center stage during the first round of match play Wednesday afternoon.

Five golfers on the other side of 50 advanced with first-round victories at Soldier Hollow Golf Course, with most defeating players less than half their age.

Fifty-four-year-old Jeff Powars and three 50-year-olds, Mike Jorgensen, Brett Sampson and Kirk Siddens each knocked off college-age players, while 59-year-old Todd Barker beat an older player, fellow senior Steve Poulson. Also, 51-year-old Craig Wilson came this close to advancing as he took medalist Cole Ogden to the 19th hole before losing.

“I guess it’s the three P’s — putting, patience and persistence,’’ said Sampson, trying to come up with reasons for the older guys winning. Sampson, a former professional who lives in Springville, defeated Westminster golfer Kalin Peterson, 3 and 2.

Each of the 50-somethings agreed that patience was a big factor in their wins because while they try to keep the ball in play and not go for the pins, the younger players often try to bomb it and make birdies.

“Experience is a big in match play,’’ said Siddens, who has made match play eight times in the past 15 years, more than any other golfer in the state. He beat Dixie State golfer Cody Wass, 6 and 4. “Patience is also key — the young guys want to birdie every hole.’’

Powars, an assistant junior high principal from Washington Terrace, said he used the patient approach in defeating 21-year-old Steven Croft of Salt Lake City, 4 and 3.

“He was hitting it 50 yards past me, but I just hit every fairway and almost every green and putted well,’’ said Powars, who made it as far as the semifinals in 2006. “You almost have to ignore (your opponent). I just played my own game.’’

Barker, who won the 1997 State Amateur, is one of the oldest players ever to win a match in the State Am at age 59. He hadn’t won a match since 1998 and hadn’t even played in a State Am match since 2003 when he lost in the first round.

The Fore Lakes superintendent said he was playing “horrible” in a practice round Saturday when he got some tips from fellow senior golfers Scott Fairbanks and Siddens.

“They said, 'You’ve got to do this and do that,' so I did that and started making some birdies,’’ he said. “But I pulled a muscle in my back and am putting ice on it every night. Now I’m swinging hard and funny ... but it’s working. And I’m making some putts.’’

Jorgensen, a Richfield businessman, has been a match play regular throughout the past three decades and won a match as recently as two years ago when the tournament was also played at Soldier Hollow.

He knocked off one of the favorites in Devon Purser, a BYU golfer who is transferring to Weber State next year, in 19 holes.

Their match was nip-and-tuck all day, with only four “won” holes. At the 19th hole, Jorgensen hit his approach shot over the green on a hill 30 feet past the pin, which he called “jail,’’ while Purser hit the green 15 feet away.

“I hit my chip onto the fringe and it’s going about Mach 10 and it hits the pin and drops in the hole,’’ he said. “I got lucky.’’

Ogden was fortunate to outlast Wilson and move on to the second round for the first time after losing twice previously in the first round. He won on the first extra hole when Wilson got in trouble with his drive and Ogden got up and down for par for the win.

Salt Lake banker Jonathan Oettli is another older golfer who won, although at age 45, he is a youngster compared to the aforementioned players. But he also beat a golfer half his age with a 3 and 1 victory over University of Utah golfer Gentry Hicks.

The youngest player left is 16-year-old Kai Ruiz, a Maple Mountain High School golfer, who knocked off 2004 State Am champ Clark Rustand, 1-up. Two 17-year-olds, Charlie Duensing and Kelton Hirsch, also won their first-round matches.

Other winners Wednesday were Wright, 2008 champ Dan Horner, 2010 champ Joe Parkinson, 2011 champ Jeff Evans, last year’s runner-up (Christian Jensen), Preston Richards, Nathan Nyman, Sammy Cole, Jordan Hammer, Ryan Brimley, Jordan Rodgers, John Owen, Joey Olson, Eric Rustand, Clark Jones, Jacob Wagstaff, Tanner Higham, Jacob Holt, Stratton Schulz, JT Timmons, Conner Jones and Seokwon Jeon.

Second-round matches will be played Thursday morning, with the third round in the afternoon. The quarterfinals and semifinals will be Friday, with the 36-hole final set for Saturday at 7:30 a.m.

Utah Men's State Am

First round scores

Wednesday

at Soldier Hollow Golf Course

Jon Wright def. Brandon Hargett 4 and 3

Preston Richards def. Carey Shinkle 4 and 3

Mike Jorgenson def. Devon Purser, 19 holes

Nathan Nyman def. Nick Smart 2 and 1

Sammy Cole def. Kenny You 2 up

Jordan Hammer def. Connor Van Gilder 3 and 1

Dan Horner def. Joe Webber 1 up

Ryan Brimley def. Dave Poggi 5 and 4

Joe Parkinson def. Brady Stanger 4 and 3

Todd Barker def. Steve Poulson, 1 up

Jordan Rodgers def. Todd Francis 7 and 5

John Owen def. Noah Cook, 21 holes

Joey Olson def. Jeff Jolley 2 and 1

Eric Rustand def. Casey Halliday 3 and 1

Jeff Evans def. Colton Dallimore 3 and 2

Clark Jones def. David Jennings 1 up

Cole Ogden def. Craig Wilson 1 up

Jonathan Oettli def. Gentry Hicks 3 and 1

Kai Ruiz def. Clark Rustand 1 up

Jacob Wagstaff def. Hayden Christensen 5 and 4

Tanner Higham def. Dana Nelson 5 and 4

Kirk Siddens def. Cody Wass 6 and 4

Brett Sampson def. Kalin Peterson 3 and 2

Jeff Powars def. Steven Croft 4 and 3

Christian Jensen def. Tyler Miner 3 and 2

Jacob Holt def. Rafe Johnston 2 and 1

Kelton Hirsch def. Tommy Higham, 19 holes

Stratton Schulz def. Bjorn Trejo, 4 and 3

JT Timmons def. Chris Hermansen, 2 up

Conner Jones def. Tommy Forsman, 20 holes

Seokwon Jeon def. Matthew Bushman, 1 up

Charlie Duensing def. Reed Nielsen, 2 and 1

Today's second-round matches

9:30 a.m. — Wright vs. Richards (1st tee)

9:30 a.m. — Jorgensen vs. Nyman (10)

9:39 a.m. — Cole vs. Hammer (1)

9:39 a.m. — Horner vs. Brimley (10)

9:48 a.m. — Parkinson vs. Barker (1)

9:48 a.m. — Rodgers vs. Owen (10)

9:57 a.m. — Olson vs. Rustand (1)

9:57 a.m. — Evans vs. Jones (10)

10:06 a.m. — Ogden vs. Oettli (1)

10:06 a.m. — Ruiz vs. Wagstaff (10)

10:15 a.m. — Higham vs. Siddens (1)

10:15 a.m. — Sampson vs. Powars (10)

10:24 a.m. — Jensen vs. Holt (1)

10:24 a.m. — Hirsch vs. Schulz (10)

10:33 a.m. — Timmons vs. Jones (1)

10:33 a.m. — Jeon vs. Duensing (10)Utah Men's State Am

First round scores

Wednesday

at Soldier Hollow Golf Course

Jon Wright def. Brandon Hargett 4 and 3

Preston Richards def. Carey Shinkle 4 and 3

Mike Jorgenson def. Devon Purser, 19 holes

Nathan Nyman def. Nick Smart 2 and 1

Sammy Cole def. Kenny You 2 up

Jordan Hammer def. Connor Van Gilder 3 and 1

Dan Horner def. Joe Webber 1 up

Ryan Brimley def. Dave Poggi 5 and 4

Joe Parkinson def. Brady Stanger 4 and 3

Todd Barker def. Steve Poulson, 1 up

Jordan Rodgers def. Todd Francis 7 and 5

John Owen def. Noah Cook, 21 holes

Joey Olson def. Jeff Jolley 2 and 1

Eric Rustand def. Casey Halliday 3 and 1

Jeff Evans def. Colton Dallimore 3 and 2

Clark Jones def. David Jennings 1 up

Cole Ogden def. Craig Wilson 1 up

Jonathan Oettli def. Gentry Hicks 3 and 1

Kai Ruiz def. Clark Rustand 1 up

Jacob Wagstaff def. Hayden Christensen 5 and 4

Tanner Higham def. Dana Nelson 5 and 4

Kirk Siddens def. Cody Wass 6 and 4

Brett Sampson def. Kalin Peterson 3 and 2

Jeff Powars def. Steven Croft 4 and 3

Christian Jensen def. Tyler Miner 3 and 2

Jacob Holt def. Rafe Johnston 2 and 1

Kelton Hirsch def. Tommy Higham, 19 holes

Stratton Schulz def. Bjorn Trejo, 4 and 3

JT Timmons def. Chris Hermansen, 2 up

Conner Jones def. Tommy Forsman, 20 holes

Seokwon Jeon def. Matthew Bushman, 1 up

Charlie Duensing def. Reed Nielsen, 2 and 1

Thursday's second-round matches

9:30 a.m. — Wright vs. Richards (1st tee)

9:30 a.m. — Jorgensen vs. Nyman (10)

9:39 a.m. — Cole vs. Hammer (1)

9:39 a.m. — Horner vs. Brimley (10)

9:48 a.m. — Parkinson vs. Barker (1)

9:48 a.m. — Rodgers vs. Owen (10)

9:57 a.m. — Olson vs. Rustand (1)

9:57 a.m. — Evans vs. Jones (10)

10:06 a.m. — Ogden vs. Oettli (1)

10:06 a.m. — Ruiz vs. Wagstaff (10)

10:15 a.m. — Higham vs. Siddens (1)

10:15 a.m. — Sampson vs. Powars (10)

10:24 a.m. — Jensen vs. Holt (1)

10:24 a.m. — Hirsch vs. Schulz (10)

10:33 a.m. — Timmons vs. Jones (1)

10:33 a.m. — Jeon vs. Duensing (10)