PCHS senior golfers prep for state
September 27, 2013
On a cold, rainy Wednesday afternoon at Mountain Dell Golf Course in Parley’s Canyon, the Park City High School boys’ golf team was the only group out on the Lake Course.
Practicing in the driving rainstorm that produced the first snow of the season in Park City, the group of five players and coach George Murphy finished five holes before finally calling it a day and heading back to the clubhouse.
Seniors Harry Hanskat, TJ Mayo and Colton Kissell looked miserable at the tee box for Hole #5, with their rain jackets drenched and hair soaked, waiting for Murphy’s group to finish on the green.
But with the state tournament set to begin on Oct. 9 at Mountain Dell, the seniors aren’t going to miss out on a chance to practice the course.
"It’s tough in these conditions," Hanskat said. "But it brings the team closer, being out here together."
"It shows a lot about our team," Mayo added, "being out here trying to prepare and do the best we can."
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For Mayo and Kissell, this year’s tournament will be their first time competing at the state level. With a six-man team playing the course for Park City, Mayo said having everyone playing consistently over the two days will be a big focus.
"I have to play conservative and just shoot what I’m capable of shooting like a 75," he said. "That will take the pressure off the top four, who should put up good scores."
"I just need to stay consistent," Kissell added. "I need to stick to my game, just play golf and not worry too much about the competition."
For Hanskat, who will be appearing in his third state tournament, providing needed senior leadership will be important. Adding to the pressure, PCHS has won the last five 3A boys’ golf state titles.
"There’s definitely pressure to keep the run going," Hanskat said. "You never want to be that team that ended the streak."
This year’s biggest competition is going to come from southern Utah, Hanskat said.
"We’re looking at Dixie and Desert Hills," he said. "They have really strong teams this year. They’re averaging about the same as we are, which we aren’t used to seeing in region play. We’re going to have to step up our game for sure and play a lot better than we did in region to have a good shot of winning this year."
That’s why the Miners, who will also send sophomore Mitchell Schow and juniors Drew Fleming and Jalen Roberts to the state tournament, will brave the cold, rainy weather if they have to though they certainly wouldn’t be opposed to having a warm, sunny course on Oct. 9 and 10.
"I think it definitely gives us an advantage that we can get out here [to Mountain Dell] a couple more times than them," Mayo said. "This is a tricky course with weird angles, so the practice helps us out a lot."
"Home-course advantage is always nice," Kissell added. "We are typically a long-hitting team, so it helps out that the par fives are short here, so we should be able to go under [par] on those. We’ve played here a lot, so we know where to be on what holes."
Park City will also host a tournament on Tuesday, Oct. 1, at Park City Golf Course. Last year’s 4A state champion, 5A state champion and 5A runner-up will compete alongside Park City.
After that, the seniors and their teammates will get back to practicing at Mountain Dell as much as they can, working in rounds on other courses in Park City from time to time as well.
After all, they said, there’s always room for improvement.
"We’re working on sticking to a game plan," Hanskat said. "It’s about knowing what you’re going to hit off the tee and knowing what you’re going to do on every hole and then sticking to it."
"We’re also working a lot on our short game," Mayo added. "That’s what it’s going to come down to in the tournament. Winning or losing might come down to just one putt."
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