Deseret News archives

This year's Utah State Amateur marks 10 years since Todd Miller conceded the championship match to Clark Rustand. Here's a quick look at the historic golf tournament's last 10 champions.

2004: Clark Rustand
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Jeremy Golf & Country Club

Perhaps it was only fitting that one of the most unusual State Amateur golf tournaments ever — thanks to the inclusion and success of Annie Thurman, the event's first female golfer — should end in bizarre fashion a day earlier than expected.

Instead of the usual scene of a large crowd cheering on the new champion in the middle of the final green Sunday afternoon, just a dozen or so people stood on the patio Saturday afternoon in front of the clubhouse where Clark Rustand was awarded the large State Am trophy in an impromptu ceremony.

Rustand, a 24-year-old BYU student from Tucson, Ariz., defeated defending champion Tommy Sharp 2 and 1 in a semifinal match. He would have faced Todd Miller, who beat BYU teammate Clay Bingham 6 and 5 in the other semifinal, today at 7:30 a.m. in a 36-hole final.

The only problem is, Miller wasn't going to be there under any circumstance.

No, Miller isn't sick or injured or leaving on vacation. It's just that he makes it a policy not to play golf on Sundays and not even the prospect of winning the most prestigious amateur title in Utah is going to make him change his mind.

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2005: Michael McRae
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Wolf Creek Resort

Not even a rare hole-in-one by his opponent could derail the hopes of young Michael McRae.

After getting off to what he called an "awful" start in the stroke play portion of the tournament, the 18-year-old from Salt Lake City found his groove in match play and knocked off four opponents, including defending champion Clark Rustand, before defeating Jon Morgan 6 and 5 in Sunday's finals.

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2006: Tony Finau
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Soldier Hollow State Park

Amid a lot of sun and a little rain, Tony Finau duplicated Daniel Summerhays' feat of winning the State Am as a 16-year-old by beating the now-22-year-old Summerhays 3 and 2 in the scheduled 36-hole final.

"It feels awesome to win," said the strapping 6-foot-3, 190-pound Finau, who hits the ball a mile. "I played great and feel like a worthy champion, especially beating Danny, a two-time champion. This will be a big boost for me."

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2007: NIck Nelson
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Thanksgiving Point

Nelson, who graduated from neighboring Lone Peak High School, edged Scott Clark 1-up to take home the Utah State Amateur crown at in his first-ever attempt.

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2008: Dan Horner
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Soldier Hollow State Park

The 30-year-old Sandy resident and Willow Creek Country Club member's battle with the 23-year-old Devin Daniels, a senior for the Utah State Aggies, was one that even the Utah Golf Association veterans are calling one for the ages. Combined, the two finalists made 21 birdies and an eagle on the Silver Course in a match that began at 8 a.m. and ended just after 5 p.m.

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2009: Zac Blair
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Valley View Golf Course

Ever since he can remember, Zac Blair has had a golf club in his hands. That's was happens when your father is one of the best golfers ever to come out of Utah and owns the golf course across the street from where you live.

Even when Zac was 3 years old, his father, Jimmy, used to take him to big tournaments he was playing in and let him ride on the back of the cart as long as he kept quiet.

Sunday afternoon at 1:58 p.m., in perhaps the earliest State Am finish ever, those vibes paid off for Zac, who joined his father as a winner.

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2010: Joe Parkinson
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Alpine Country Club

Parkinson became the second straight 18-year-old, slightly built, BYU-bound golfer to win the State Am, following in the footsteps of 2009 winner Zac Blair.

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2011: Jeff Evans
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Soldier Hollow State Park

Evans has been around golf his whole life, growing up at the Cedar Ridge Golf Course as the son of longtime Cedar City professional John Evans.

He's the youngest of six children, but according to his dad, he's the hardest worker and that paid off.

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2012: Jon Wright
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Salt Lake Country Club

Don't tell Wright he was supposed to win.

The 41-year-old Salt Lake native has been hearing that for the last several months from his fellow members at the club, which he joined four years ago. Perhaps because he has won four club championships in the past six years everyone thought it would be a walk in the park for him against the state's best amateurs.

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2013: Cole Ogden
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Soldier Hollow Golf Course

Winning medalist honors at the Utah State Amateur used to be the kiss of death. That’s because the medalist has rarely gone on to win the match play portion of the tournament. It's only happened a handful of times over the past 50 years.

That didn’t mean anything to Cole Ogden, the 21-year-old BYU junior. This was his week — from the time he won medalist honors on Tuesday to his 6 and 4 triumph over 2011 champion Jeff Evans in the final Saturday.

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