There are some household PGA Tour names waiting to happen in the field as the Albertsons Boise Open tees off this morning at Hillcrest Country Club.Most we don’t know yet, but you’ll be hearing a lot about Will Zalatoris and Davis Riley in the years to come. They finished Nos. 1 and 2 on “The 25,” the Korn Ferry Tour’s regular season money list. Zalatoris and Riley have already earned spots in next month’s U.S. Open. Zalatoris is a Wake Forest alum who has strung together seven straight top15 finishes. Last week at the Portland Open he shot a first-round 74 but rallied to finish sixth. Riley is a former Alabama standout who will be fresh this week after taking last week off. He has won twice this season on the Korn Ferry.
The closest thing to a local tie in this year’s tournament is Robert Garrigus, who was born in Nampa. He moved away at a young age but still has an affinity for the Treasure Valley. Garrigus, now 43 years old, is in his 15th season on the PGA Tour. This year has been tough—he’s in Boise trying to secure his tour card for next season. Garrigus is still one of the longest drivers in the game. That doesn’t come in quite as handy at Hillcrest, though. Scores are usually low in the Albertsons Boise Open. For 10 straight years, the winning score at Hillcrest has fallen at 16-under or better. Matthew NeSmith took last year’s title at 19-under, but that was just one stroke better than Brandon Hagy and Viktor Hovland.
SWEDISH FEATHER IN BOISE STATE’S GOLF CAP
On to the round of 32 for Boise State’s Hugo Townsend at the U.S. Men’s Amateur in Bandon, OR. Townsend defeated Michael Feagles of Scottsdale, AZ, a University of Illinois golfer, 4-and-2 in match play Wednesday. The sophomore from Boden, Sweden, was three holes up going into the 16th hole, then sank a birdie to clinch the match. He advances to face Michael Thorbjornsen of Wellesley, MA. This should be a great duel—Thorbjornsen qualified for the 2019 U.S. Open and made the cut as a amateur.
TRACTION FOR DEAYON’S MILLION-DOLLAR SMILE
Full disclosure: I have not seen Hard Knocks yet. But former Boise State standout Dont’e Deayon has all but taken over the HBO series in the early going. The L.A. Rams cornerback was shown heaping grief on Aaron Donald, who’s about twice as big as he is, trying to out-flex his superstar teammate. Deayon also demonstratively pranced around “complaining” about his cramped quarters in the “B-team” locker room, calling it the “projects.” He envied Jalen Ramsey’s more spacious locker. Ramsey suggested Deayon could fit inside it. The ear-to-ear grin Boise State fans became accustomed to from 2012-15 was on full display.
IT AIN’T OVER ‘TIL…
BYU is independent in football, which handcuffs the Cougars in many ways. Their 2020 football schedule had been touted as the best of the independence era. Now it’s in tatters. Thing is, BYU says it ain’t over yet. Because the Cougars are independent, nobody has told them they can’t play, and athletic director Tom Holmoe is going to hang onto hope. The three games BYU has left are against Navy (a hastily-arranged season opener), Houston of the AAC and FCS North Alabama. You can bet Holmoe is talking to fellow idependent New Mexico State. Hopefully, the voices of BYU players are being heard through this. Of the 120 players on the team’s extended roster, 36 are married, according to the Salt Lake Tribune. Many already have kids, and some have pregnant wives. No Cougar has opted out yet.
AND HERE WE ARE
Longtime (and respected) national college football scribe Pat Forde tweeted this five weeks ago after the Big Ten got the unfortunate ball rolling with its plans for a conference-only schedule: “America didn’t respect COVID-19—not enough to stay quarantined and wear masks and do what it had to do. Complacency, arrogance and stubbornness didn’t get the job done, and now the increasingly costly bills for that disrespect are coming due.” Look at us now. The tab for Boise State fans is enormous. The United States just could not do it. Okay, stepping off the soapbox.
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August 13, 2017: Fittingly, the son and grandson of a couple of PGA club professionals wins his first major in the PGA Championship. Big-hitting Justin Thomas, 24 years old and 145 pounds, picked up a two-stroke victory at Quail Hollow in Charlotte. Former Boise State star Graham DeLaet, helped by back-to-back eagles in the third round, finished tied for seventh, his best result ever in a major. It was the final PGA Championship to be played in August (excepting the COVID-delayed one last week), as in 2018 the tournament moved to May to allow the season to end before the NFL and college football seasons—and to make tour players available for future Olympics.
(Tom Scott hosts the Scott Slant segment during the football season on KTVB’s Sunday Sports Extra and anchors five sports segments each weekday on 93.1 FM KTIK. He also served as color commentator on KTVB’s telecasts of Boise State football for 14 seasons.)