Early on, it was looking like a short day to decide the Logan Golf & Country Club Men’s Club Championship.
However, Cory Bowen refused to cry uncle when it looked like that might be the best option. Instead, he ended up putting some heat on his opponent. The Country Club veteran got rolling as the day progress and pushed relative newcomer Wyatt Burton to nearly the entire scheduled 36 holes of match play. In the end, Burton held on for a 2 and 1 victory and his first championship in Logan.
“It was good,” Burton said. “I struggled today and didn’t play as good as I can. ... I did a lot more protecting than anything else. ... I feel fortunate to sneak one out.”
Burton, who lives in North Ogden, has been a member at the Country Club for three years, but this was his first time playing in the Club Championship. He does have three titles at the Ogden Golf & Country Club.
“I grew up playing with a lot of the guys up here,” Burton said. “I love all these guys up here. Casey (Beck) is one of my best friends and he helped keep me calm today through the match.”
Burton took eight years off and just started playing more competitively again. It was obviously a successful return.
Bowen, who is the Country Club reigning senior champion, was invited to play with the “youngsters” and took the opportunity to play with some of younger players. The 59-year-old who lives next to the course took down defending champion Brad Thorne in the first round of match play and rolled from there.
“Beating three 40-year-olds to get to the final was tough,” Bowen said. “They are all good sticks, and we play together. ... When I got the 16th seed, I thought there was no way I would beat Brad Thorne. I took him out first and kept winning.”
In the semifinals, Bowen beat Beck. Burton advanced the final with a win over Bob Underwood.
“During the week, I had made a lot of birdies and everybody I played had played really solid,” Burton said.
The 40-year-old began the day with plenty of momentum. Through the first 15 holes, Burton was 8-up. It was looking like a runaway.
“After getting up eight, I couldn’t get anything going, and Cory made a good run,” Burton said. “He played, really, really well coming in.”
The early lead “lulled” Burton into a “false sense of security.”
“You start to play passive,” Burton said. “I think that worked against me because I stopped being aggressive as I was earlier.”
Bowen was able to get back to within six holes when they took a break for lunch after 18 holes. An eagle on No. 16 helped the Logan native gain some confidence, and he followed that up with a birdie on No. 18 to win two of the last three holes before the break.
“I dug myself a hole when I got down eight,” Bowen said. “... I probably gave him five holes on the first 18. I gave him a lot and it was hard.”
Burton felt some momentum shift after Bowen made the eagle.
“He took advantage of some breaks, but also made some really good putts too,” Burton said. “Coming down the stretch, he was solid.”
Bowen made four birdies down the stretch. He sank some impressive putts to keep the pressure on Bowen.
“The last nine holes I played well, putted well,” Bowen said. “I think he (Burton) thought it was over about No. 12 the second time around. I didn’t give up. That’s kind of how I am. I fought him.”
Bowen felt he hit the ball well and kept plugging away.
“I could have walked away about two hours ago,” Bowen said. “In my mind, I felt I beat him, but I didn’t beat him on the scorecard. How does that sound? He is tough, a great friend.”
During his run of birdies, Bowen also got a helpful bounce off a golf cart from a member of the gallery. Had the cart not been there, Bowen’s ball would have rolled forever past the green on No. 16 after bouncing off the cart path.
However, Bowen was able to make a magnificent shot to within four feet of the pin and drain a birdie putt.
“To get three birdies on those goat holes coming in was good,” Bowen said. “I made some good putts. ... I knew the cart was there, so if I hit it right, it would slow it down. The gallery helped me too.”
Burton felt his best shot of the day came on the second-to-last hole of the match. He drove the green on the par-4 16th and sank a birdie putt to halve the hole after Bowen had his wild chain of events.
Bowen has won three championships at the Country Club and two senior titles. During a stretch when he lived in Boise, Idaho, he won three championships at a club there.
“I’m going to move back up to the seniors,” Bowen said. “These guys are tough. I know why I went to seniors.”