FARMINGTON — For Tyson Shelley, it’s been a dream week so far at the Korn Ferry Tour Utah Championship at Oakridge Country Club.
The 20-year-old junior-to-be at BYU has played right alongside professional golfers, who are just a step down from the PGA Tour, without flinching. He shot a pair of 65s in the first two rounds at Oakridge and added a 68 Saturday and stands just five shots off the lead at 198 heading into Sunday’s final 18 holes.
So far he hasn’t been intimidated in the least playing against golfers, some of whom will be on the PGA Tour next year and others who have already won on the PGA Tour.
“I feel like I belong on this stage and this past week has reassured me,” he said. “If I’m playing my A game I feel like I can be in contention every week.”
Shelley is confident he can actually win the tournament, which would match the feat of another former BYU golfer, Daniel Summerhays, who won as an amateur on this tour in 2006 in Ohio.
Shelley feels he plays well from behind and pointed out that he came from nine shots back last month to get in a playoff at the Pacific Coast Amateur, which he ended up winning.
However, it will be a monumental task, considering the crowded leaderboard in front of him with 13 players ahead of him and five tied with him.
Kevin Dougherty, a 32-year-old from Torrance, Calif., who has four runner-up finishes in his career on the Korn Ferry Tour, leads the way at 20-under-par 193. He followed up a 61 on Friday with a 65.
Two golfers who each shot 63 Saturday, Danny Walker and Roger Sloan, are a shot back at 194, while six golfers are tied another stroke back at 195.
That group includes two PGA Tour veterans, Sean O’Hair, who has won $25 million with four victories on the PGA Tour and Jamie Lovemark, a former NCAA champion, who has won nearly $7 million on the PGA Tour and owns a pair of Korn Ferry wins.
Others in the 18-under group include Roberto Diaz, Jeremy Gandon, Christopher Petefish and Pierceson Coody, a two-time winner on the Korn Ferry Tour this year.
Shelley had to survive a playoff in the Monday qualifying at Bonneville to get into the tournament. After not having a single bogey in his first two rounds, he had three, at 4, 8 and 11, the latter two with three-putts.
But he turned his round around at 12, hitting it to three feet for a birdie, then making birds at 15, 16 and 17. He had a chance for four straight when he hit it within 10 feet at 18, but his putt slipped by.
“I struck the ball unbelievable today, but my putting was a little goofy, not my best,” he said of his 33 putts after 25 and 28 the first two days.
The other two local players still in the tournament had under-par rounds Saturday, but each fell back on the leaderboard.
Former BYU golfer and newly-minted pro Carson Lundell bogeyed two of his last three holes to finish with a 70 and is tied for 39th at 202. Mitchell Schow, a former University of Utah golfer and 2020 State Amateur champ, is a shot back at 203 after shooting a 69.
The first tee time Sunday is at 9 a.m. and final time is 3 p.m. Schow tees off at 10:40 a.m., Lundell at 11:10 a.m. and Shelley goes off at 1:40 p.m. The tournament will be televised live beginning at 4 p.m. on the Golf Channel.