Miners girls golf wins season opener, but will need more depth
Park City’s girls golf team has stood at the edge of greatness as perennial state runner ups for the past four years, but this year they have a tougher route past that point.
Three varsity starters are returning from last season – senior Grace Donahue, who recently signed with Washington and Lee University in Virginia; senior McKenzie Schow, who is undecided; and sophomore Josie Marshall, who contributed two scores to the team’s state performance last season.
“We are searching for that next kid who can impact our team and come in with a score,” coach George Murphy said. “But our three leaders, that’s where our depth is right now.”
Schow and Donahue were the best-scoring Miners at last year’s state tournament, taking eighth and ninth respectively in a field of more than 60. Marshall placed 24th overall.
The team notched its first win of this season on Thursday, March 7, defeating Stansbury, Bonneville, Tooele, Ben Lomond, Juan Diego and Ogden at the Stansbury Park Golf Course.
Donahue led the team with a score of 80, followed by Schow with an 81, then Marshall with a 90.
After that, scores fell off sharply.
Senior Gabby Rockwood, a tennis standout who is competing with the golf team for the first time, logged the next best score with a 123, then junior Stephanie Burnham with a 126, sophomore Sophia Adrian with a 127, Livi Rockwood (Gabby Rockwood’s twin sister), 128, and Caroline Donahue (Grace Donahue’s younger sister), 138.
Murphy said he is hoping to see a couple of his players bring their scores down closer to the high 90s.
“It’s pretty raw, but they are determined, they are athletic and they want to do well,” he said of the team. “Being around the three leaders, they are going to see what it takes, what it requires, and we are trying to narrow that gap over the next couple months.”
The team is scheduled to compete in the Class 4A state tournament from May 15-16 at East Bay Golf Course in Provo. Each team can bring only six players to the tournament, though scores from four of the players on any one of two days will count. Meaning, if even one player brought down their scores significantly and was able to play consistently at that level, the Miners could have a shot at the title.
Murphy has no illusions about what that would take.
“I’m not saying we need a miracle, but that’s a tall task,” he said. “They know what needs to happen, but it’s not like we’re going to put any undue pressure on them. We want them to want to fill that spot.”
The team will travel to East Bay on Thursday, with competition running between 10 a.m. and 4 p.m., when it will compete in a kind of mock-state tournament. Only six golfers from the 12-person team will be allowed to play.
“It’s a chance for the girls to get a taste of how they will react in a couple months at state,” Murphy said. “Hopefully a couple of those girls catch the golf bug and get out there every day.”
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Dave Hanscom announced last month he was retiring as volunteer race director of the Wasatch Citizens Series after 30 years in the position.