Swinging to second | ParkRecord.com

Swinging to second

Alisha Self, Of the Record staff

The forecast for Thursday was clear and bright, and the outlook for the Park City High School girls’ golf team was sunny as well.

The four competitors junior Sami Crouch, sophomore Abby Choen, junior Carina Crosby and sophomore Ciera Perry started the day at Schneiter’s Bluff Golf Course with high expectations, hoping to land the first state trophy for Park City girls’ golf.

In groups of three, paired with one player from Ogden and one player from Desert Hills, the girls teed off at 9 a.m. Their competition included players from 13 other 3A high schools as well as eight individuals chosen from teams that didn’t qualify for state.

After seven hours of navigating the course, the teams waited anxiously as officials tallied the individual and team scores and recorded them on a giant scoreboard.

Perry’s strokes and total points (based on the new modified Stableford scoring system) were the first to be verified. She had encountered some trouble on the back nine and wasn’t able to get her confidence back up to play at the level she normally does.

"I had one really bad hole," she explained. One hole led to two holes and she basically psyched herself out. "Because it was state, I couldn’t forget about those holes and how they were going to affect the whole team," she said.

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However, with 99 strokes and 63 points, Perry scored well above many of the competitors. And her scores would not affect the team’s overall tally, since the lowest score on each team is dropped.

Choen’s scores were the next to go up on the board. Choen had showed off her stroke skills early by landing a shot a few feet from the second hole. She putted it in for a birdie and used the momentum from that hole to carry her through the game.

"There were some good holes and there were some bad holes but it turned out OK," said Choen.

Due to the "swine-cation," the Miners’ scheduled practice round on the Schneiter’s Bluff course was cancelled. "I think it would’ve helped if I had played this course before," Choen said. "There were places I would’ve tried to avoid where I had some trouble."

The third set of scores reported was for Crosby, who finished with 82 strokes and 80 points. "I was pretty happy with it overall," said Crosby. "The back nine was better than the front nine because I got my swing down."

"I think what saved me today was my putting game," she added. On the 17th hole, Perry sank a 20-foot putt for a birdie that ended her game on a high note.

The final score to go up for the team was Crouch’s, and with 74 strokes and 88 points, she came in first place among her fellow golfers and claimed the overall individual title.

Crouch, who has been golfing since she was seven years old, bowed out of the finals last year due to a back injury. "Overall I’m happy with the way I played," she said. But being a perfectionist, she added, "My putting was a little off."

Crouch said her unfamiliarity with the course didn’t affect her game. "It was a pretty straightforward course," she said.

The total score for the team rounded out to 238, just 11 points behind Ogden, the defending state champion.

Crouch and Crosby, who tied for fifth place in the individual competition, were named to the 2009 Girls’ All-State Team and will be honored at a banquet next week.

"They played really well today," said head coach George Murphy. "I couldn’t ask for anything more. I’m proud of them."

Three of the four players will return to the team next year, and Murphy said he was already looking forward to the season. "We’ll come back next year with the goal of taking state."