20 May 2022 SNJGA Team Comes Up Short Against Utah in Team Event
Holding a set of silver medals, Southern Nevada captain Billy Harvey captured both the friendly flavor and traditional outcome of the annual Nevada vs. Utah Border War. –By Kurt Kragthorpe, Fairways Media. Video by Fairways Media/Garritt Johnson.
“I don’t think there’s another event that I enjoy losing more than this one,” Harvey said after the Utah Junior Golf Association’s latest victory in early May at Fox Hollow Golf Course in American Fork.
Representing Southern Nevada were Mason Snyder, Drake Harvey, Joanne Lee, Dakota Tallent, Colton Cherry, Anderson Lee, Ian Fritz, Grant Harvey, Logan Allen, Lilly Denunzio, Will Dexheimer, Andrew Hawk, Avery Lazarski, RJ Arone, Zoe Parker, HaYoung Lee, Cormack Goecke and Brent Chung.
Tallent (photo), a high school sophomore. was the top overall girls golfer in the event with 31.5 points.
Utah claimed the Jay Don Blake Cup for the sixth time in seven years with a 351-297 win in the three-round, Ryder Cup-style event that gives all 12 boys and six girls on each team the full, 54-hole experience over two days.
“Our team played great as well,” said Harvey, a former BYU golfer and 1999 Utah State Amateur champion, whose sons Grant and Drake played for Southern Nevada.
The Southern Nevada team trailed only 82-80 after the Modified Foursomes round, in which each player tees off on every hole and the two-person team chooses the best result and plays alternate shot from that point. Utah responded with a 90.5-71.5 win in Four-Ball play, as each team earned at least 8.5 of 18 points.
If one snapshot could summarize this event, it is the scene around the No. 18 green during the concluding singles matches. Team bonding is what distinguishes the Border War, and that’s why golfers such as Berlin Long and Cooper Jones who compete in all kinds of individual tournaments find extra incentive and enjoyment in this one.
Jones, a Lone Peak High School junior, is the reigning Utah Golf Association Player of the Year and is targeting another title in 2022. Junior golf still gets his full effort, and he was motivated by “definitely the team aspect and the fact you are taking pride in the state you live in,” he said. “I’ve got a lot of pride and I hate losing, and I feel like it means more when you are playing not just for you, but for your state.”
Long, a Lone Peak senior, was preparing to lead the Knights into the Class 6A state tournament. She welcomed the diversion created by the Border War format, with (modified) Foursomes and Four-Ball rounds, “which you really don’t get to play any other time,” she said.
The bonus was getting to play alongside her sister, Aadyn, as two singles matches were staged within a foursome. UJGA captain Nate Herzog also grouped brothers Jackson and Bowen Mauss, making it easier for parents to follow the siblings.
“I always like playing with Aadyn and it’s fun, too, when we can play together but not compete against each other,” Berlin Long said. “Being able to cheer each other on the whole time is really fun.”
There was a lot of that going on in the Long pairing, as the sisters each collected 12 of 18 possible points. Here’s how it works: One point is available on every hole in every match, even if a match is mathematically won or lost long before No. 18. Golfers get to play the full round, even though the Longs would have stopped after the 12th and 13th holes in usual match play.
As with the Ryder Cup, the singles portion carries double weight, and Utah shined on that windy Saturday at Fox Hollow. The Utah hosts won 13 of 18 matches, posting 178.5 points to Nevada’s 145.5.
Kurt Kragthorpe is a Utah sports journalist, a senior writer for Fairways Media and a frequent contributor to Fairways, which has allowed the SNJGA to run this article and video.