Third is the word: Girl golfers at State
Just four strokes — that’s all that separated the Park City High School girls’ golf team from capturing the second-place team trophy and finishing right behind an experienced Ogden squad at the historic, first-ever 1A/2A/3A Utah High School Girls Golf State Championship at the Rose Park Golf Course on Wednesday.
Actually, had the four of the Park City varsity golfers’ scores been counted, they would have easily taken second place. But with only three of the top four used, Logan barely trumped the Miners 274 to 278. Ogden won with a team score of 250.
But that didn’t change what the Miners accomplished in their first season of girls-only high school golf. With a team of virtual rookies in tournament golf and a season hampered by constant weather problems, the Miners managed to win every regular-season tournament, claim the Region 10 title and barely trail two of the state’s top 3A teams at the championship match.
"They played awesome today," Park City head coach George Murphy said.
What’s even more promising, is that the team is young and eager to improve. Wednesday’s tournament was led by freshman Abby Cohen, who had a strong back nine to finish tops among the Miners with a 90.
"I was nervous at the beginning, but after that it was better," Cohen said.
Murphy said that Cohen has steadily improved with each match and said this was her best performance yet.
"She was beaming," Murphy said. "She was so happy. Ninety for a freshman is a good score."
She was followed closely by Carina Crosby, who finished Region 10 competition in third place overall. Crosby was handicapped by a two-stroke penalty on the second hole when she accidentally hit the wrong ball onto the green, but quickly recovered. Crosby went on to score a birdie on the 11th hole and held steady until the 18th hole, where she was forced to take seven strokes.
"There were definitely a few shots I could have done better on, but I think we did well as a team," Crosby said.
Crosby competed in a foursome that included the best girls in the state, which she said helped play better.
"When you go out with a group that’s better than you," Crosby said, "it makes you focus more on your shots."
Behind them were Annie Carroll with a 97 and Ciera Perry with a 99. Murphy said that Carroll shot her best-ever front nine with a 44.
Also representing Summit County was South Summit, which finished the day with a 357 after its second-best golfer, Courtney Jackson, withdrew.
According to head coach Tera Anderson, the Wildcats also had a season where snow forced them to make weekly trips to Salt Lake for course time. Still, South Summit, led by Shelby Van Cott, finished first in Region 14 and is steadily building its program. Anderson said her team was slowed by the fact that it had not played a full 18 holes before the state tournament.
"Endurance played a factor," Anderson said.
Van Cott, who played with the South Summit boys’ team before this year and in the Utah Junior Golf Association in the summer, combined a 49 on the first nine holes and 52 on the back nine for a 101.
"I like playing with the girls," Van Cott said. "You get more confidence because you are driving as far."
In individual competition, Judge’s Alli Nakamura made a little history by capturing the first ever individual title after a five-hole playoff with Ogden’s Courtney Smith. Smith and Nakamura and Rich’s Mikayla Williamson all shot a 78 in the round of 18.
After one full season of golf, the Miners seemed to have been changed by the adding of the new sport to the Utah high school roster. Most of the girls plan to play throughout the summer in competitive tournaments or at least golf recreationally on a consistent basis. Crosby, who also plays varsity volleyball and basketball, said that golf has now become the sport she wants to play in college.
"Just having high school girls’ golf in Utah this year has made me realize that golf is something I want to focus on," Crosby said. "I have so much fun when I do it."
Becca Gerber, a first-term member of the Park City Council who is seen as bringing a younger person’s perspective to the Marsac Building, will seek reelection this year.