Low scores were there for the taking, especially if you played in the morning at Soldier Hollow Golf Course.
For the sixth time Soldier Hollow is playing host to the Utah State Amateur Championship, which is in its 121st year. There were 288 golfers that teed it up on either the Gold or Silver courses for the first round of stroke play on Monday. Another round of stroke play will be contested Tuesday, with the top 64 advancing to match play.
Out of the 19 players that carded below-par scores Monday, 17 of them played in the morning. Nathan Ouimette, who calls Highland home, has the early lead with a 7-under-par round of 65 on the Gold course. Defending champion Preston Summerhays is tied for second with Colton Tanner — one of the few that played in the afternoon and went low — at 5-under-par 67. They both played the Gold course.
In fact, 14 of those under-par rounds came on the Gold course Monday. The best round on the Silver course was turned in by Brigham Gibbs at 4-under-par 68. He is tied with Peyton Hastings for fourth.
A pair of current Aggies had the best rounds by a golfer with ties to Cache Valley. Junior-to-be Andy Hess and sophomore-to-be Cameron Tucker each had rounds of even-par 72. The Utah State duo both played on the Silver course, so if things play out the same way Tuesday, they could go lower on the Gold. Players switch courses for the second round.
Hess and Tucker are tied for 20th with seven other athletes.
Sky View’s Ryan Seamons — who will be a senior this fall — and former Aggie Brennan Coburn are in the hunt as well. They both had rounds of 1-over-par 73. Seamons played on the Gold course, while Coburn was on Silver.
The other current Aggie at the State Am is senior-to-be Chase Lansford. He carded a 3-over-par 75 and is tied for 71st.
Four other former Aggies are in the field, including Braydon Swapp (76 on Gold), Brendan Dennis (77 on Gold), Taylor Garner (77 on Silver) and Tanner Tregeagle (89 on Silver). Swapp made it to the championship match two years ago. Two Logan High graduates are also competing in Aidan Tueller (79 on Gold) and Seth Tremayne (84 on Gold).
Hess had five birdies and five bogeys in his opening round. He overcame stretch of four bogeys in six holes on the front nine.
Tucker had three birdies, three bogeys and 12 pars for his even-par round.
Seamons was 1-under-par on the front nine, but a double bogey on the back caused him to be 1-over for the round. He had two birdies during his round and 14 pars.
Coburn had an eagle on No. 3, four birdies, four bogeys and a double bogey. He played the front nine at 3-under-par.
While Summerhays is getting plenty of the spotlight as the youngest winner a year ago at 16, he is sharing it with his little sister. Gracie Summerhays is 14 and just the fourth woman to qualify for the State Am in its storied history. She shot a 2-over-par 74 and is tied for 50th.
Seventy golfers are at 74 or better, which would mean a playoff for match play if that says the same following Tuesday’s action.