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Amateur dueled pro winner at Saltwater

May 28, 2014 - By Bruce Tippets, Sports Editor

Collegiate Justin Kelley had the lead through the 17th hole on Monday before being overtaken by pro Zahakai Brown.

Riverton Country Club golf pro Steve Johnson knew it was just a matter of time before an amateur challenged for the top spot at Saltwater Classic tournament.

BYU golfer Justin Kelley finished one stroke off the pace in a down-to-the wire finish in the 40th annual Saltwater.

Kelley had the overall lead with three holes left to play, but Zahakai Brown chipped in on No. 17 for a birdie to seize the crown.

Brown won $10,000.

Brown fired scores of 63-71-65 for three-day total of 199.

"We haven't had a 63 for a long time at the Saltwater," Johnson said.

Kelley had rounds of 67, 64 and 69 for his 200.

Another amateur, University of Wyoming golfer P.J. Thomas of Riverton had the overall lead well into the back nine.

Thomas checked in with three scores of 68, 65 and 70 for a 203.

"The amateurs were in contention right to the end," Johnson said. "That made for a real exciting finish."

In the final 18 holes, the pros complete their round last.

"I had to keep the amateurs around waiting for the pros to finish," Johnson said. "I thought that this was going to be the year that an amateur won it. It came really close."

Brown recently graduated from Colorado State University.

Thomas is going to be a senior this year at UW.

"His second round of a 65 was very impressive," Johnson said. "It was pretty neat to see P.J. be in contention with a few holes left to play."

Brown's debut

The 2014 Saltwater was the first for Brown.

"He is an excellent player," Johnson said. "CSU has a top-notch program."

Brown is off to play a sectional U.S. Open qualifying round after winning a local round.

Brown won the round earlier this month in Maricopa, Ariz., by carding a 71.

"With the game that he showed here, it's very likely that we could see him play in the U.S. Open," Johnson said.

Brown ranks No. 2 at CSU with a career-scoring average of 72.18.

Paxton's round

Riverton High School golfer Easton Paxton had a 74 on the first day on Saturday.

The incoming sophomore played his round in the afternoon.

"Easton was disappointed in his first round," Johnson said. "He had an unfortunate draw, but that is just the way it is in these events."

Paxton came back with rounds of 69 and 70 to place 15th overall.

"Now, he is able to take a round that he is not on 100 percent and still keep it under par," Johnson said.

Paxton plays in the U.S. Open sectional round on Monday in Creswell, Ore.

The tournament will feature 18 holes in the morning and 18 morning in the afternoon.

"You just hope that the putts are dropping," Johnson said. "He struck the ball well, he just didn't make a lot of putts. We are focusing on his wedge game right now."

Saltwater Classic 2014

Low gross scores

1. Zahakai Brown, 63-71-65--199; 2. Justin Kelley, 67-64-69--200; 3. Clay Ogden,66-67-69--202; 4. (tie) Todd Tanner, 68-66-69--203, P.J. Thomas, 68-65-70--203; 6. Nathan Lashley, 69-66-69--204; 7. Jordan Rodgers, 66-67-72--205; 8. (tie) Corey Prugh, 70-71-68--209; Keenan Holt, 69-69-71--209; Eddie Steward, 65-72-72--209; 12. Dustin Fielding, 71-71-68--210; 13. Jim Mee, 74-67-70--211; 14. Cameron Freeman, 70-67-70--211; 15. (tie) Easton Paxton, 74-69-70--213, Brandt Kummerfeld, 73-69-71--213, 17. (tie) Dan Engle, 72-69-73--214, Alelxander Theodore, 72-68-74--214, Brian Spiva, 70-68-74, 214. 20. (tie) Matt Rutledge, 73-72-70--215, Jeff Thomsen, 73-71-72--215, Bryan Hackenberg, 75-66-74--215; 23. (tie) Joseph Summerhays, 77-69-70--216, Bryan Hackenberg, 75-66-74--215, Nick Travers, 76-69-71--216, Klinton Krieger, 70-73-73--216, Derek Fox, 72-69-75--216; 29. (tie) Mike Roters, 73-73-71--217, Mike Grob, 71-73-73--217; 31. (tie) Andy Moore, 72-74-73--219; Tom Gempel, 74-72-72--218; 33. (tie) Brett Smith, 76-74-69--219, Scott Petersen, 72-74-73-219, 36. (tie) Thayne Balling, 77-75-66--220, John Hornbeck, 76-71-73--220. 38. Marcus Drange, 71-77-74--222; 39. Zach Waxler, 74-74-75--223; 40. (tie) Kamrin Allen, 77-78-69--224, Tanner Priest, 75-74-75--224, Chris Manning, 74-74-76--224, Kyle Chappell, 76-72-76--224. 44. Tom White, 69-73-83--225; 45. (tie) Tommy Higham, 81-71-74--226, Robbie Shipp, 74-74-78--226, Josh Grube, 76-71-79--226; 48. Matt Stricker, 77-76-74--227, 50. (tie) Ron Kaehn, 76-75-78-- 229, Jordan Costello, 74-76-79--229, 52. (tie) Tony French, 83-73-74--230, Caleb Summerhays, 75-79-76--230, Greg Arkin, 77-76-77---230, Audie Dean, 75-74-81--230, 57. Chris Pendergraft, 78-77-76--213, 58. (tie) Mark Pattlochi, 75-78-80, 233, Mike English, 76-80-NS. 60. (tie) Lee Stewart, 80-78-76--234, Dustin Materi, 76-75-83--234; 62. (tie) Troy May, 79-76-80--235, Pat McGowan, 80-73-82--235. 64. (tie) Patrick Rafferty, 78-80-78--236, Mark Hutchinson, 81-77-78--236, Nick Vosika, 74-80-82--236. 67 (tie) Russ Madsen, 79-80-78--237, Jack Mavrakis, 77-77-83, 237. 69. Anthony Kaehn, 81-79-78--238; 70. Jeffrey Summerhays, 80-76-83--239; 71. (tie) Terry Berg, 80-80-80--240, Ed Miller, 78-80-82--240, Milton Martin, 75-82-83--240, Nathan Wilson, 82-74-84--240. 75 (tie) Rote Chuensiri, 81-82-78--241, Dave Balling, 82-80-79--241, 79. Wayne Montgomery, 86-85--NS. 80. (tie) Dave Long, 86-75-83--244, Mike Lockhart, 82-80-82--244, Gary Lee, 80-80-84--244; 83. Jake Letman, 85-79-81--245. 84 (tie) Kim Johnson, 79-87-80--246, Roger Eder, 88-78-80--246, Alec Richardson, 84-81-81--246, Steve Mossbrook, 81-84-81--246. 89 (tie) Bryon Ward, 83-82-83--248, Kelly Eckhardt, 84-83-82--249, Jim Beasley, 85-81-83--249, Joe Slawiak, 80-85-86--249; 94. Rick Paxton 80-85-86--251, Tim Moore, 86-78-87--251, Jayd Dion, 84-92-77--253, Lars Flanagan, 81-87-85--253, James Taylor, 82-85-86--253, Jeff McKethen, 84-91--NS; 100. (tie) Steve Johnson, 90-80-85--255, Bud Daley, 84-84-87--255. 104 (tie) Jessie Crispin, 87-88-84--259, R.B. Thomas, 85-88-86--259, James Weck, 79-87-93--259, Joseph Cornella, 82-84-93--259; 108. Tony Zink,80-89-91--260; 109. Al Ward, 87-88-86--261; 110. (tie) Karl Burns, 90-83-89--262, Mark Mathews, 86-85-91--262; 112. Mike Brown, 85-89-89--263; 113. (tie) Chris Thomas, 94-91-79--264, David O'Connell, 86-91-87--264, Scott Rhine, 89-87-88-264; 117. (tie) Russ Holgate, 96-85-84--265, Bob Martin, 96-83-86--265, Kevin Kirkhoff, 89-88-88--265, Don Strom, 86-90-89--265; Jordan James, 85-89-91-265; 122. (tie) Jon Cox, 90-92-84--266, Wil Durham, 97-97-NS; 124. (tie) Jason Turner, 96-85-88--289, Jamie Jones, 86-86-97--269; 126. Dick Phillip, 90-91-89--270.

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