Back in the swing | ParkRecord.com

Back in the swing

Matthew Piper, OF THE RECORD STAFF

With the weight of two state championships on its back, it’s a good thing the Park City High School boys’ golf team has four ace seniors to carry the load as it begins a three-peat bid.

Six of the 2009 team’s eight varsity golfers were named to the Class 3A all-state team after the Miners beat Judge Memorial by one stroke for the championship banner. Four of those six are back, and the rest of the squad is nipping at their heels.

"I feel really good about this team," said PCHS head coach George Murphy. "I don’t want to look past our younger players, but it’s great to have four good players returning."

Gone are Jack Burrus and Ethan Eisenbarth, last year’s captains and first-team all state headliners, but Michael Coopman, Ryan Kearns, Matt Vanleeuwen and Brian Schwerin return.

"We’re looking for them to show some of the same leadership that we’ve had in past years," Murphy said.

Coopman was the team’s most valuable player last season and has posted consistent results throughout his three-year career as a Miner. "He’s a solid player," Murphy said. "He plays in a lot of national tournaments, and he has led our team the past couple years."

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Kearns is "hoping to have a breakout year" after a busy summer on the links, Murphy said, while Matt Vanleeuwen broke out in a big way during the state tournament last year, carding a 74.

"That score from him last year, we really needed that," Murphy said, calling Vanleeuwen the "team optimist." "He’s kind of a jokester, likes to have a lot of fun."

The longest driver of the four is Brian Schwerin, who also has an excellent short game, Murphy said. "He could be a threat this year, not only to lead the team but also for the state tournament."

Sophomore Justin Shluker just missed making the state field last season, as did a number of other players on the cusp of varsity. "They were all pretty close last year," Murphy said.

"We’ve got four solid players coming back," he added. "We’ve also got other young golfers who have been playing a lot this summer."

Also vying for a varsity spot will be first-team all-state Class 2A junior Ben Harries, who is transferring from Rowland Hall. Murphy also said the success of the program seemed to attract more players for tryouts this year.

Park City Golf Club will host the team’s only home tournament on Thursday, Aug. 19, with tee times beginning at 11 a.m. The team will also play at Soldier Hollow in mid-September.

The state tournament will be held Oct. 18-19 at Sunbrook in St. George.