Utah State Am: Davis sophomore Sargent upsets teammate Ponich; notes and roundup

Wednesday , June 13, 2018 - 6:25 PM

FARMINGTON — Jack Sargent wore a bright pink collared shirt to his first-round match at the Utah State Amateur Championship golf tournament Wednesday at Oakridge Country Club.

One could pick him out from virtually anywhere on the course, except when Sargent looked at the ninth hole, there was his uncle Rand ... wearing a bright pink collared shirt.

“I was like, I think he stole my shirt,” Sargent said.

Rand Sargent insisted he and his nephew didn’t call each other beforehand to coordinate their outfits. After Wednesday, maybe they should.

After Rand Sargent won his first-round match 1-up, Jack Sargent pulled off the upset of the day, besting his Davis High teammate Cole Ponich 2 and 1 not quite 24 hours after surviving a 12-player playoff to clinch a spot in Wednesday’s round of 64.

“I played well, so did Cole. It was a tight match, pretty fun,” a smiling Sargent said. 

Sargent sunk a par putt on the 17th hole to seal the victory after firing four birdies on the back nine, which allowed him to win both the 16th and 17th holes in what had been an all-square match for four straight holes. He was 5-under par when the match finished.

Numerically speaking, Sargent was probably not supposed to win. Ponich torched the two-day qualifying rounds for an 11-under and was seeded No. 2.

Sargent was seeded 63rd after finishing 3-over par through the two-day, stroke-play qualifying session, needing a late birdie putt Tuesday night to grab one of the final spots in the match-play bracket.

They’re not only familiar with each other as Davis High teammates, but the two played each other in last week’s Junior Amateur semifinals, also at Oakridge. Ponich, whose handicap of plus-5.6 was the lowest of anyone in the State Amateur field this week, won that match 4 and 3 on his way to a win the tournament in a playoff hole the next day.

“My mindset wasn’t different, I was just hitting the ball better, putts were dropping,” Sargent said.

Grip change pulls David Jennings’ putting back in line

David Jennings, a Layton resident and Viewmont High alumnus, hit three perfect putts in a row in his first six holes. None went in, though in the long run, Jennings won his match 2 and 1 against Devin Tovey.

But the three near-misses, the third of which forced an audible “Oh my gosh!” of frustration, weren’t completely indicative of Jennings’ recent success on the greens.

“I’ve been putting really well the past couple of weeks, I feel like I can make any putt. I just need to get on the greens and still need to improve some of my other long game stuff, but I’m putting really well,” Jennings said.

He attributes the improvement to a weaker grip, one that doesn’t close the clubface. It was critical on a day like Wednesday, where several golfers remarked how fast the greens played.

Jennings used to pull many putts to the left and discovered one of his hands was closed too far around the grip, so he loosened it a little and putts started staying on line.

Not only that, they started falling. All of this from a guy who used to putt with his left hand lower than his right when he played at Dixie State, an unconventional method for a right-handed hitter (even if Jordan Spieth putts like that).

“I made a good putt on 15, I was 2-up and had about a 25-footer for par, and knew I had to make it because he was about 15-20 feet for birdie,” Jennings said. 

Viewmont alum Frampton holds off college teammate’s brother

When Jayce Frampton saw the round of 64 bracket, he was pretty sure he recognized the name Preston Wallace.

Frampton, a Viewmont High alumnus now playing at Dixie State, is teammates with a rising sophomore named Spencer Wallace, who graduated from Layton High.

Preston Wallace is Spencer’s 15-year-old little brother, who Frampton held off for a 1-up win in the first round. Preston’s father, Jason — who was caddying for the rising Davis High sophomore — was wearing a Dixie State hat while Spencer followed the group from the side.

“It was pretty weird, I’ve played with Spencer a lot, but I haven’t really played with his brother. He’s a great player, tough competition for sure,” Frampton said. “They play a lot alike. They’re both straight off the tee, hit greens and they’re phenomenal putters.”

Frampton had some momentum in his corner after shooting 8-under 63 in Tuesday’s second round of stroke-play qualifying. That put him at 11-under overall, and he was seeded No. 3 for match play.

Wallace was 1-up after 10 holes before Frampton drained a 20-foot birdie putt on the 11th hole from just off the green to even the match. He won the next two holes and frustration mounted for Wallace, who turned 15 last month and was one of the youngest players in the field.

Wallace — who got to match play out of a playoff hole, one he made after carding a birdie in the final regulation hole of qualifying play — didn’t go away just yet.

He made par on the final five holes Wednesday, putting pressure on Frampton, who made par in six of the final seven holes to squeak out the 1-up victory.

Elsewhere, last year’s runner-up, Braydon Swapp, fell to fourth-seeded Kyler Dunkle 7 and 6. Defending champion Kelton Hirsch won his first match 3 and 2.

Local results:

Rand Sargent (Valley View Golf Course) def. Carl Jensen, 1-up.

Tyler Herzog (The Barn Golf Course) def. Nathan Ouimette, 3 and 1.

David Jennings (Valley View) def. Devin Tovey, 2 and 1.

Luke Crapo (Valley View) def. Kyler Dearden (Valley View), 1-up.

Jake Godfrey (Davis Park Golf Course) def. Eric Ashcroft (Davis Park Golf Course), 7 and 6.

Jack Sargent (Davis Park) def. Cole Ponich (Oakridge Country Club), 2 and 1.

Andy Hess (Valley View) def. Zach Jones, 1-up.

Jayce Frampton (Lakeside Golf Course) def. Preston Wallace, 1-up.

Kelton Hirsch (Oakridge) def. Christopher Romney, 3 and 2.

Boston Watts (Valley View) def. Brandon Hargett, 3 and 2.

Thursday schedule:

Both the rounds of 32 and 16 will be contested Thursday. The round of 32 begins at 7:30 a.m., with the round of 16 matches following immediately after (at approximately noon) at Oakridge.

You can reach prep sports reporter Patrick Carr at pcarr@standard.net. Follow him on Twitter at @patrickcarr_ or like him on Facebook at Facebook.com/patrickcarr17.

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