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Lucky number seven

Many people consider seven to be a lucky number. However, for the Park City High School boys’ golf team, the number was the source of a lot of pressure this season.

Riding a streak of six-straight state titles, this year’s Miner squad didn’t want to be the team that ended the amazing run.

But, with a couple of young players filling out the roster and with a few teams from the southern region looking stronger than ever, there was some doubt as to whether or not Park City could keep the streak alive.

Those worries were all for not, though. On day one of the state tournament at Sunbrook Golf Club in St. George on Wednesday, the Miners jumped out to a 16-stroke lead over Dixie.

"That was really cool," Park City coach George Murphy said. "Day one, they went out and took it to Desert Hills, Tooele and Richfield."

The Miners were in a group with those three schools because they were the four region champs in 3A. But, on day two, groups were reorganized by how the teams performed on day one. That meant Park City was in a group with favored Dixie and familiar foe Union.

Despite the different groups, the results were very much the same for the Miners, who cruised to their seventh-straight title and extended their overall lead to 37 strokes over Dixie, finishing with a two-day total of 582, a mere six strokes over par as a team.

Mitchell Schow’s two-day score of 142 earned him his second-straight individual title. Murphy said he’s not surprised Schow continued to play amazing golf this week.

"I can’t say enough about how he played," he said. "It was kind of fitting since he led region all year by a huge margin. He’s a special kid, a great player. He’s excited about the possibilities of what lies ahead next year."

But, Murphy added, Schow had some pressure from his own teammates.

"It was neck and neck between [Schow] and Drew [Fleming] going into the last few holes [Thursday]," he said. "At one point, they were tied with four holes left. It was close and fun to watch."

Schow and Fleming, both juniors, finished first and second overall. Senior Jalen Roberts finished third with a two-day total of 146, one stroke behind Fleming. Freshman Collin Steele finished fifth overall with a total of 149.

"I don’t think we’ve ever done that," Murphy said of having four golfers in the top five. "It was fun to be a part of it."

For Roberts and Halsey, both seniors, winning the state title was a big moment.

"I heard it from last year’s seniors that I better not mess it up," Roberts said. "Even with the pressure we had on us, everyone got it together."

Roberts couldn’t resist getting in a jab at Fleming, one of his best friends on the team.

"I think the key to this tournament was Drew," he said. "This time on the first day, he actually kept it under par. He was fueling me all the time. I really just want to beat him all the time."

Seven straight titles are nice, but the Miners are set up perfectly to contend for title number eight in 2015. Murphy said there’s plenty of state experience coming back to the squad with Schow, Fleming, Steele and freshman Jack Hanskat. He expects Schow to lead the team again, but added that it will probably be a lot closer next year.

"Drew’s not going to back down," he said. "Neither is Collin Steele. Having him shoot two-over and three-over was great. He was key. And with Jack with us this year down at state getting the experience and playing under pressure, he played well for us. It’s going to get him more confidence. We’ll have four kids with state experience."

And, he added, some of the southern region teams that challenged Park City this year are going to lose several key players.

"Desert Hills and Dixie are going to lose a few seniors and are going to have to rebuild," he said. "The challenge will be there to hold them off again. We look forward to it."

3A State Championship Scores

Wednesday

Mitchell Schow 69

Drew Fleming 71

Jalen Roberts 74

Collin Steele 75

Jack Hanskat 83

Tommy Halsey 85

Thursday

Jalen Roberts 72

Mitchell Schow 73

Drew Fleming 74

Collin Steele 75

Jack Hanskat 83

Tommy Halsey – 88


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