PC girls’ golf take region, look to break four-year status quo
On Monday the Park City High School girls golf team finished a runaway Region 11 season, driving home 285-stroke lead over second-place Bonneville at Park City Municipal Golf Course to end the regular season.
Their victory had been all but assured for weeks.
The Miners’ sixth consecutive region title is impressive, but the accomplishment that matters most to the Miners is their shot at a state title, which has eluded them for the past four years.
If they accomplish that feat, it will be because their the team’s three top players carried them through the early season, and because the team’s newcomers have drastically improved their scores since.
At the start of the season, Park City found it had three seasoned golfers in seniors Grace Donahue and McKenzie Schow plus sophomore Josie Marshall. They ensured that the team had a leading edge. That competitive group that ranks among the best golfers in the state.
But bringing the rest of the team into a focus as sharp as its front three was another question. Its Achilles’ heel was always depth.
After that group of frontrunners, the team comprised a group of relatively new golfers, all vying for a spot on the varsity team and the six-person state team.
The Rockwood twins, seniors Gabby and Livi, joined the team for the first time after spending their first three years at PCHS focusing solely on tennis, where they have excelled. Also in contention for a varsity letter were junior Stephanie Burnham, and sophomores Molly Gallagher, Sophia Adrian and Caroline Donahue.
The first tournament of the season characterized the issue.
In the opening tournament hosted by Stansbury on March 7, Grace Donahue led the team with an 80, followed by Schow with an 81 and Marshall with a 90 (her poorest of the regular season); the next closest was Gabby Rockwood with a 123, followed by Burnham with a 126 and Livi Rockwood with a 128. (The Region 11 competition was almost dead in the water already, with next closest team, Stansbury, trailing by 38 strokes).
But over the season, the scores from the team’s newcomers have come down considerably.
On April 24, the team won a region tournament at Mountain View Golf Course, and recorded its best team score of the regular season. Grace Donahue led the team with a 77, followed by Schow with an 80, then Marshall with an 82 – impressive scores by the league’s standards. The Rockwooed twins, however, had equally important scores. They notched a 93 (Livi) and a 95 (Gaby), which marked a stroke decrease of 35 and 28 respectively. The team finished with an overall score of 332. For comparison, at last year’s Class 4A state championship, where the teams play two days of 18 holes, Desert Hills recorded scores of 337 and 332.
While Mountain View was an extreme case, the Rockwood twins and others on the team are still shooting considerably lower than their season openers, including Caroline Donahue. The Rockwoods and Donahue have settled in the high 90s and low 100s, and they will be on the roster when the team competes for the Class 4A trophy at East Bay Golf Course in Provo on May 15-16.
Donahue is perhaps the most improved player this season, or at least has had the biggest swing in her scores, going from a high of 138 at the Stansbury opener to a 99 at the Region 11 Schneiter’s Riverside Golf Course tournament on March 28 – a 39-stroke difference. She finished her regular season by shooting a 105 on Monday in Park City.
As for the frontrunners, Grace Donahue led the team on Monday with a 78. Marshall shot a 79, her best of the season, and Schow shot an 84 (a little above her season-long average of 81).
Coach George Murphy said the team’s improvement has been rewarding to see, especially considering the weather the team has dealt with. The Miners had only had a handful of practices on their home course before Monday.
“Everybody has gotten better, which I’m not going to say is surprising, because they are playing more golf, but with the conditions they have had to play in, I just wonder what it would be like if it wasn’t freezing cold,” Murphy said.
In terms of season average scores, Grace Donahue finished No. 1 in Region 11, followed by Schow and Marshall. Livi Rockwood finished 12th, and Gabby finished 17th. Gallagher finished 27th, Adrian finished 31st, Caroline Donahue finished 42nd and Burnham finished 44th.
Now they have one more tournament to show that improvement. The state finals at East Bay tee off on Wednesday.
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It’s been a rough season for Park City, but a taste of the postseason could pay huge dividends in the future.