Park City golf chases its 12th straight state title after going undefeated in region play
Park City senior golfer Eli Kimche knew entering this season that if he and his teammates were to going win a 12th consecutive state championship, it was going to have to be a team effort, especially after the move up to Class 5A.
Unlike previous seasons when Park City was playing in Class 4A, and could literally cost to the state title as evidenced by last season’s 12-stroke victory in the state championship meet, the Miners jumped to Class 5A for this year, meaning a tougher level of competition.
“Our goal is to always win a state championship, doesn’t matter who we face or what division we play in,” said George Murphy, Park City golf coach. “What’s the point of not having that as an ultimate goal?” There are definite strong teams for us to compete against but we are used to really good competition. … We are looking forward to the challenge.”
Kimche was right about this season being a team effort, as the Miners went undefeated in Region 8 play to take home the league title.
“Experience has been a huge difference maker because some of the boys have been part of the program since they were freshmen,” Murphy said. “The bar has been set, so there was some pressure for them repeat and do what the teams before them had done. At the same time, it was really cool to see them to rise to the challenge because emotions can sometimes get the best of them so my job was to keep their confidence high, making sure they were taking it shot-by-shot.”
Five of the top six scorers in Region 8 came from Park City, including Kimche as the overall individual region champion and junior Wyatt Peterson finishing second. senior Ryan Wright, junior Tucker Lee and senior Charlie Dalton took fourth through sixth, proving the Miners’ depth.
“I just had to reset before I started to really grind away, went back out and shot a 69 and then a 70,” Wright said. “The goal for me is to go under par each time and stepping away actually helped me a lot. … Now I feel like we are starting to come together with all of us playing well and winning.”
Kimche finished the regular season by averaging a 71 with Peterson posting a 72.5 scoring average. The other three boys all averaged below a 76.4.
For Peterson, he credits part of the team’s success to its members having played in competitive tournaments in the offseason.
“Those tournaments (AGA) are just so competitive with so many good players, so it’s great to get that experience in,” Peterson said. “It’s also a lot different when you travel to a tournament. … It’s a completely different feel so you have to make sure your game travels with you and ultimately that helps us here because we will know what it’s like and what we have to do to play well on the road.”
Park City easily could’ve had six of the top seven players if not for a loophole, according to Murphy, that didn’t allow senior Jackson Holman to post his scores. Holman, who missed a region tournament because he was out of state for another golf tournament, posted a 72.8 scoring average over six Utah tournaments, which would’ve placed him in a tie for third overall.
With Region 8 play officially behind them now, the Miners have a week to prepare for the state tournament, a two-day affair that will begin on Monday, Sept. 30 at Wasatch Mountain Golf Course.
“We don’t really worry about these other teams who we know are really good, because we know we are really good also,” Kimche said. “I would say we (Skyline and Park City) are the top two teams in the state overall. It’s funny because we don’t see each other at all but at the same time we know we are practicing for when we play each other. They’re doing their own thing and we are doing ours, so we’ll see them when we see them and go from there.”
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