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Crouch takes the right approach

Sami Crouch didn’t start playing golf to become the best high school girl in the state of Utah. It just worked out that way.

The Park City High School senior and two-time Class 3A state champion is of the same mindset as "Caddyshack" legend Ty Webb, who, when asked how he measures himself against other golfers without keeping score, responded, " height."

"I just try to play as well as I can play," said the modest Crouch after shooting a 69 at Meadowbrook Golf Course on Friday, May 14, to win her second straight title for the runner-up PCHS team. The Miners’ ace recorded four birdies in the round to prevail by a mammoth 10-stroke margin.

"It’s really pretty incredible for a high school girl to shoot a 69," said PCHS head coach George Murphy. "That was a really cool way to see her finish."

In fact, she wasn’t quite finished. Crouch was invited to the Hidden Valley Country Club for the fifth annual high school All Star Invitational Golf Tournament on Tuesday, May 18, in Sandy. Pitted against some of the state’s best girls’ golfers across all classifications, she shot a 78 to edge Skyline’s Nicole Gaddie (80) and win a $250 check toward her education.

Crouch first got involved in golf playing with her family as a little girl, and she began signing up for tournaments around age 7. She golfed primarily for the pleasure of it until about eighth grade, when she became more competitive under the tutelage of her brother Casey (a former No. 1 golfer for the Miners himself).

"We just work on my swing a lot," said Crouch, who still counts Casey as her unofficial golfing guru. "Just kind of grooving it in the living room. We don’t actually go out and play too much, we just work on my technique."

She played on the boys’ team as a freshman and would have chosen to continue doing so, but the Utah High School Activities Association created a new league for 3A girls. That was the end of Crouch meeting her match.

"Playing on the boys’ team was awesome," she said. "That definitely shaped me not only as a player, but as a person too. I wish I could have done it for longer."

She managed the boys and snuck in practice rounds with them during fall of her sophomore year before a nagging back injury kept her from taking part with the girls in spring.

After visits to numerous doctors did nothing to staunch the pain, Dr. Joseph Albano at The Orthopedic Specialty Hospital (TOSH) gave her a platelet-rich plasma injection before her junior year and she hasn’t had another twinge in her back.

Pain-free and comfortable in her first year of girls’ golf as a junior, Crouch won state and began a two-year reign atop Class 3A girls’ golf. But even while often playing to beat her own personal bests, she didn’t carry herself any differently than her teammates.

"She’s a sweet kid," Murphy said. "She’s very encouraging to the younger players. When they first see her play, they’re intimidated, but she makes them feel at ease right away."

Crouch recently bought new clubs for the first time in four years, and said she’ll now focus on putting – her chief weakness. Driving is her strong suit, she said, and she feels confident in her mid-range game.

She’ll next travel to Washington for a tournament on May 23, and then she’s due to play in the prestigious U.S. Women’s Amateur Public Links tournament in Notre Dame, Indiana, on June 21.

After carrying a 3.95 GPA through high school, Crouch plans to attend the University of Utah, and the bulk of her attentions will now be directed toward medical school and becoming a doctor.

Although she’s passing up the opportunity to play collegiate golf, she’ll continue to play golf during the summers and see where that leads.

The strategy has served her well so far.


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