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ALPINE — BYU golfer Patrick Fishburn is just two months removed from qualifying for the NCAA regionals, where he played as an individual in Albuquerque, New Mexico on May 16.
Now he can add his name to another list: Utah State Amateur champion.
Fishburn defeated Draper resident Aaron Smith 4 and 2 in the 36-hole final Saturday at the Utah State Amateur Championship at Alpine Country Club.
“Every match out here is a tough match,” Fishburn said. “Playing in the State Am, with so many great players, makes me really excited that I was able to pull it off and get a victory.”
The Ogden native went 4-up through 29 holes of the 36-hole final, pounding out three-straight wins on the back nine to take a commanding lead. His birdies on Nos. 12, 13, 14 and 16 gave him a commanding lead, and Smith couldn’t recover.
The duo was locked in an even battle through the first 18 holes, but Fishburn smacked his approach right next to the hole for an even-par to 1-up through 19. Smith got the stroke back one hole later on the par-5 No. 11, but couldn’t rebound from Fishburn’s run that sealed the win.
The 40-year-old dental technician from Draper put in a run with back-to-back birdies to pull within three with three holes remaining. But Fishburn’s birdie on the par-3 16th — the 34th hole of the final — gave the Ogden native the 4 and 2 victory.
Smith tied for 60th at even-par after stroke play to squeeze into match play. But the No. 61-ranked golfer then went on a tear, upsetting fourth-ranked Preston Richards in the first round of match play and stunning Weber State’s Kyler Dearden 2-up in the semifinals that was finished Saturday morning after Smith suffered from heat exhaustion Friday afternoon.
“I’m a little worn down,” Smith said. “But all in all, I feel like I’m following the doctor’s order by staying hydrated and cool. I might have looked a little cheesy with the umbrella out there, but it really makes a difference. You’ve got to be prepared to be out in the heat.”