Playing with the lead and among the leaders, Dylan Hardy was aware of how he was doing Saturday morning in the second and final round of the Birch Creek Men’s Club Championship.
But that leaders’ pairing of four did not include Nate Nyman. Hardy, who teed off in the first group Saturday at Birch Creek Golf Course in Smithfield, had to sweat it out a bit waiting for Nyman to finish.
“I knew what the guys in my group were,” said Hardy, who carded a 2-under-par 70 on Saturday. “I knew I had a three or four shot lead with a few holes left, but I didn’t know how Nate Nyman in the group behind us was playing.”
Nyman was in the process of recording the best second-round score Saturday with a 6-under-par 66. However, it was one stoke too many. Hardy won the men’s title for the third time by a single stroke as he finished at 139. Nyman was at 140.
“Nate had a solid round,” Hardy said. “I barely hung on. He (Nyman) has been playing really well. I was happy to hang on. ... The course was in great shape. They had some pretty tough pins. A 66 is a great score where they had those pins today. The greens were pretty quick.”
The event used to take place in one day as the golfers would play 36 holes. Now it is spread out over three days. Competitors play a round on either Thursday or Friday and finish up on Saturday.
Hardy shot a 3-under-par 69 on Thursday. After the first round he had a one-stroke lead over Dustin Richardson, and was up two on Hayden Kleven.
“It was pretty close at the top,” Hardy said. “... I wanted to come out and get off to a good start, which really didn’t happen.”
A hooked tee shot on No. 1 nearly went out of bounds. He did make a long putt for par.
On the par-4 second hole, Hardy went for the green and got within three feet of the hole. An eagle putt had the 29-year-old Hyde Park native off and rolling.
“That big putt on the first hole got me going, and then making eagle on the second hole gets you in the right mind set,” Hardy said. “It gets the juices flowing.”
A string of pars and birdies on eight and nine had him making the turn at 4-under. Then a rough stretch almost derailed his bid for a third title. Bogeys on 10 and 11 was followed by a “great par save” on No. 12 with a long putt.
Birdies on 13 and 15 had him back where he was after the front nine and looking good. However, his finish wasn’t what he was looking for. Back-to-back bogeys and a three-putt par on 18 had him sweating it out until the next group came in.
“I was in perfect position on 18 as I was on in two,” Hardy said. “I hit a bad first putt and three-putted it for par.”
Kleven was even with a 72 on Saturday to finish third at 143, while Dustin Richardson carded a 2-over-par 74 on the final day to finish fourth with a 144.
Hardy, who now resides in Logan, also won in 2015 and 2018. The team sports buyer for Al’s Sporting Goods has been busy helping get a new store opened in Idaho Falls, Idaho. Where would he rank this title with his others?
“The first one was cool,” Hardy said. “My favorite was probably the second one just because I played out of my mind that year and shot 67 and 66. This year was pretty cool too.”
Brenden Smith easily won the B Flight with a 149. Casey Carter and John Swenson shared the C Flight at 168, while Derek Hoskins won the D Flight at 186 and Jess Jewell took the E Flight at 190.