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.
Mitchell Schow watches a drive at a match at Park City Golf Course earlier this season. Schow won his second-straight 3A individual state title on Thursday
"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
Mitchell Schow 69
Drew Fleming 71
Jalen Roberts 74
Collin Steele 75
Jack Hanskat 83
Tommy Halsey 85
Jalen Roberts 72
Mitchell Schow 73
Drew Fleming 74
Collin Steele 75
Jack Hanskat 83
Tommy Halsey - 88
Miners run away with 3A state golf crown
On the strength of four of the five lowest scores of the tournament, the Miners ran away with another 3A state high school golf championship, toppling their nearest competitor, Dixie, by a whopping 47 shots (582).
The victory surprised no one, as Park City was heavily favored, even coming down South to an unfamiliar course. But the margin of victory could raise an eyebrow of even the most ardent of Miner fans.
Behind the stellar play of Mitchell Schow, who took first (69, 73-142), followed by second-place finisher Drew Fleming (71, 74-145), Jalen Roberts for the podium sweep (74, 72-146) and Collin Steele, who took fifth (75, 74-149), Park City beat all odds and made it look easy; the odds being climate, course and year-round practice, or lack thereof.
Park City's Mitchell Schow follows through on a tee shot during the 3A State Championship Golf Tournament at Sunbrook Golf Course Thursday, Oct. 9, 2014 in St. George. (Jud Burkett The Spectrum & Daily News, All) Park City's Mitchell Schow follows through on a tee shot during the 3A State Championship Golf Tournament at Sunbrook Golf Course Thursday, Oct. 9, 2014 in St. George. (Jud Burkett The Spectrum & Daily News, All)
Ever humble, Park City coach George Murphy had to see the scoreboard before celebrating.
â€œThey really stepped it up today," said Murphy. "I'm so excited for our guys; they are like family to me."
Dixie finished second with a team total of 619. Dixie's Taylor Yardley made the individual honors interesting with rounds of 72 and 75 (147) for fourth place overall.
The battle for third place was settled by Desert Hills, finishing a close two-strokes behind Dixie at 621ï»¿.
Tooele's Braxton Quinn tied for fifth in individual play at 149.
As usual, in golf, individual scores don't always tell the whole story.
Dixie's Taylor Yardley rfollows through on a tee shot during the 3A State Championship Golf Tournament at Sunbrook Golf Course Thursday, Oct. 9, 2014 in St. George. (Jud Burkett The Spectrum & Daily News, All) Dixie's Taylor Yardley rfollows through on a tee shot during the 3A State Championship Golf Tournament at Sunbrook Golf Course Thursday, Oct. 9, 2014 in St. George. (Jud Burkett The Spectrum & Daily News, All)
Except for an unfortunate bounce on the island hole, Jaramillo had an opportunity to tie for second place overall. He came to the island hole 1-under-par but left 5-over. After hitting the flag and missing a birdie by an inch on the next hole (bridge hole), Jaramillo birdied two of the final four holes to tie for ninth place.
Park Cityâ€™s Schow finished 2-under for the tournament with medalist honors.
"Yesterday, I played solid," Schow said. "Today, I scrambled."
All around, the Miners were well satisfied with the two days of golf.
Fleming, who birdied the island hole and made par from behind the bushes on the next hole, said he hit great irons, and Roberts, Park City's captain, admitted he couldn't ask for anything more.
Union's Austin Jaramillo follows through on a tee shot during the 3A State Championship Golf Tournament at Sunbrook Golf Course Thursday, Oct. 9, 2014 in St. George. (Jud Burkett The Spectrum & Daily News, All) Union's Austin Jaramillo follows through on a tee shot during the 3A State Championship Golf Tournament at Sunbrook Golf Course Thursday, Oct. 9, 2014 in St. George. (Jud Burkett The Spectrum & Daily News, All)
3A boys tournament
Sunbrook Golf Course
1. Park City 582; 2. Dixie 619; 3. Desert Hills 621; 4. Pine View 628; 5. Snow Canyon 635; 6. Union 637; 7. Tooele 641; 8. Richfield 673; 9. North Sanpete 675; 10. Uintah 679.
1. Mitchell Schow, Park City 142; 2. Drew Fleming, Park City 145; 3. Jalen Roberts, Park City 146; 4. Taylor Yardley, Dixie 147; 5 (tie). Collin Steel, Park City/Braxton Quinn, Tooele 149; 7 (tie). Taylor Cummings, Desert Hills/Dray Mathews, Pine View 150; 9 (tie). Nicklaus Britt, Dixie/Austin Jaramillo, Union 151; 11. Jayden Blanchard, Dixie 152; 12 (tie). Jordan Olsen, Desert Hills/Brodey Payzant, Snow Canyon/Jaylon Steck, Richfield/Colton Stratton, Juan Diego 154; 16. Noah Schone, Pine View 158; 17. Blake Amick, Desert Hills 159; 18 (tie). Kameron Plant, Desert Hills/David Lindsey, Snow Canyon/Marcus Bunn, Tooele/Bryce Blackham, North Sanpete 160.
PCHS golfers struggle en route to win
Jack Hanskat watches his drive leave the tee box on Thursday morning at Park City Golf Course. (Christopher Reeves/Park Record)
The Park City High School boys' golf team struggled a little more than usual on Thursday at Park City Golf Course.
Maybe "struggled" isn't the right word, since the Miners still won the match by 21 strokes, but coach George Murphy said none of the five teams played up to its potential.
"It was tough for everybody," he said. "The scores were really high."
That's almost to be expected on a course like Park City, with narrow fairways flanked by thick trees. But Murphy said he didn't think the tough course was entirely to blame.
"It was probably more confidence and course management, maybe," he said. "It was sunny with no wind for most of the day. Most of our varsity kids just struggled. The conditions were great and the course is in perfect shape. We just struggled."
But the difficulty of the course didn't help things, he added.
"It's going to be a tougher day if you're not accurate off the tee," he said. "It's all about placing the ball in the right spot coming into some of these holes."
Though the Miners put up some higher-than-normal stroke totals en route to a team score of 312 (reached by combining the individual scores of the top four players), Murphy said he doesn't expect the team to shoot 24 strokes above par very often.
"Jalen [Roberts] struggled more than he has in the past," Murphy said. "He played great in Arizona. He just struggled here today and so did Drew [Fleming]. They just need to work on when they get down and have a bad hole, they have to put it behind them and move on.
"He's been solid all year," Murphy said.
But Schow said he would have liked to have cracked the 70 mark on Thursday.
"I played OK," he said. "I missed quite a few putts, though. I have to work on my putting more. I hit most of the fairways.
I think I only missed two, so that helped me out a lot."
"[River Oaks] is a lot tighter than here and the greens are faster and firmer, too," Schow said. "We've got to improve quite a bit before state. Dixie and Desert Hills are much better than 312. I feel like if they came to [Park City Golf Course], they'd shoot 300, so we've got some work to do."
The week after River Oaks, the Miners will head down to St. George for a practice round at Sunbrook Golf Club, where the state tournament will be held. Schow said he'll focus on working on a part of his game that will be showcased more down south.
"My bunker play hasn't been the greatest," he said. "Other than that, I'm going to continue trying to play the way I played today. They just have a lot more bunkers than we're used to seeing up here."
Murphy added that, in addition to the practice round at the state tournament site, the Miners will try to find golf courses nearby that offer similar features to Sunbrook.
"We're trying to figure out which courses will offer the best setup," he said. "The Soldier Hollow Gold Course has some par 5 holes that are severely uphill, just like a couple we'll see down at Sunbrook. We'll also try to practice at some of the tougher courses in the area."
The 3A boys' state golf tournament will be held on Wednesday, Oct. 8, at Sunbrook Golf Club in St. George.
Thursday at Park City Golf Course
Mitchell Schow 71
Collin Steele 78
Jalen Roberts 81
Jack Hanskat 82
Drew Fleming 84
Collin Lambert 89
Tommy Halsey 91
Josh Lansky 93
Golf team solid at Antigua Invitational
Mitchell Schow taps in an easy putt during a match at Park Meadows last week. (Christopher Reeves/Park Record)
Last weekend, the Miners headed down to Arizona for the Antigua National High School Invitational at McCormick Ranch. Participating alongside Lone Peak and Syracuse as the only teams from Utah, Park City finished in 10th place out of 23 teams with a two-day score of 41 strokes over par.
Lone Peak, a 5A school, finished in fourth place with a score of +32 and Syracuse, another 5A school, finished tied for seventh at +36. Brophy High School out of Phoenix won the tournament with a two-day score of +16.
Overall, Park City coach George Murphy was happy with the way the Miners played in Arizona.
"I felt it was good showing for our team at the tournament," he said. "That's the best our team's ever done we finally cracked the top 10."
This was Park City's fourth time participating in the Antigua tournament. Murphy said he took the players to Florida a couple years ago, but likes the proximity of the Arizona tourney better.
"It's closer and it's more competitive than what we saw in Florida," he said. "They're really good teams and the competition is strong."
Only five players are allowed to compete in the varsity tournament for each team, and the top four scores count towards the overall team score. That puts the pressure on the players to play their best.
"There's not a lot of room for two guys to have a bad day," Murphy said.
"The top kids had to make sure they were on their game. We played fairly well the first day, but the second day we shot a 304 [a total of 16 over par as a team]."
"He always says he can play a little better," Murphy said. "But that's golf."
Seniors Jalen Roberts and Drew Fleming also played well for the Miners, Murphy said.
"Jalen finished second for us like he has been all season behind Mitch," he said. "He had some good rounds. After St. George, Drew's been turning it around. He was playing really well on day two for us. It's good to see him playing with more confidence in these tournaments."
Collin Steele finished third for Park City, carding a two-day score of 158 (+14).
Now the Miners will focus on preparing for another home Region 10 match. On Thursday, the five Region 10 squads will square off at Park City Golf Course. Murphy would like to see the Miners shoot in the 280s (having all four players shoot around par), but acknowledged that will be easier said than done.
"I don't think we've ever done that as a team on our home course," he said. "It's one of the hardest courses in the region. These kids are capable of playing well, though. It comes down to course management being smart about every shot. They need to have confidence, but taking the right club out of the bag is a big part of it, too. It's a lot more technical than most of the courses we're used to."
Thursday's match at Park City Golf Course is scheduled to begin at 9 a.m.
Friday and Saturday in Antigua
Mitchell Schow 146 (+2)
Jalen Roberts 153 (+9)
Collin Steele 158 (+14)
Drew Fleming 160 (+16)
Tommy Halsey 182 (+38)
PCHS golf team wins again
PCHS senior Jalen Roberts chips the ball toward the green on Thursday at Soldier Hollow. (Christopher Reeves/Park Record)
Playing at Soldier Hollow on the Silver Course, the Miners again routed their Region 10 foes, extending their season lead to 144 strokes over second-place Uintah.
Park City coach George Murphy said familiarity with the course led to Thursday's strong effort.
"I felt good coming into today because we had such good practice rounds this week," he said.
Mitchell Schow, a junior, again led the way for the Miners, shooting a five-under 67 for the day. Seniors Drew Fleming (72), Jalen Roberts (73) and Tommy Halsey (75) rounded out the top four for Park City.
A friendly competition between Schow and Fleming almost resulted in one or both of the golfers having to jump into a pond after the round.
"We had a bet that if he shot a 70 or lower, I'd have to get in," Schow said. "And if I shot a 66 or lower, he'd have to get in."
Murphy said he likes the chemistry this year's squad has and said the bet is a great way for teammates to push each other to succeed.
"They're not taking [the region lead] for granted, it just shows how much they enjoy each other," he said. "They cheer each other on, but they also give each other a hard time. I would have loved to see them both jump in the pond."
With a team score of 287 for the round, Murphy said he hopes the team can continue that level of play moving forward.
"If we can shoot 287 with this team that we have, we should be able to go sub-290 at State," he said. "We'll take the 287 and see what we can do next week at Park Meadows."
The Miners have a couple home matches coming up this Thursday at Park Meadows and Thursday, Sept. 11, at Park City Golf Course.
"We're looking to see what we can do at Park Meadows and Park City," Murphy said. "I'd love to see these guys shoot sub-290 and let those teams down south know that we'll be alright and we're going to do our best to defend the state championship we won last year."
Will Schow and Fleming keep their bet going into Thursday's match at Park Meadows?
"We might," Schow said with a grin. "There's a lot of water out there."
Thursday at Soldier Hollow
Mitchell Schow 67
Drew Fleming 72
Jalen Roberts 73
Tommy Halsey 75
Collin Lambert 78
Jack Hanskat 80
Collin Steele 81
Cole Lee 82
PCHS golfers double region lead
Mitchell Schow hits a shot from the fairway during a match last season.(Park Record File Photo)
Monday, the Miners were at Morgan before heading down to St. George on Wednesday and Thursday for two more Region 10 tournaments on the course that will host the state championship tournament this season.
Park City entered the St. George tournaments with a big lead over second-place Uintah. But, while the lead was sizable, it wasn't what head coach George Murphy had come to expect during a streak of six-straight 3A state titles.
After Thursday's round, the Miners are right back to where they usually find themselves after a few Region 10 tournaments atop the standings with a nearly insurmountable lead.
"We went from a 50-stroke lead to a 113- or 114-stroke lead after those two tournaments," Murphy said. "So we more than doubled it. It's pretty comfortable right now for the region lead."
Junior Mitchell Schow again led the way for Park City. On Monday, he carded a two-under 70. In St. George, he posted back-to-back 75s (+3) to lead the Miners.
Senior captain Jalen Roberts has been right on Schow's heels, though, carding a 72 at Morgan, a 77 on Wednesday and a 75 to tie Schow on Thursday.
On Wednesday, the entire Park City squad was in excellent form. Behind Schow and Roberts, the Miners turned in the top five scores in the 30-player tournament. Collin Steele shot a 78, Jack Hanskat recorded a 79 and Drew Fleming rounded out the top five with an 80.
But, though the Miners had a strong couple days in St. George, Murphy knows there's still work to do to catch up with some of the southern Utah teams.
"It's not just Desert Hills," he said. "I think Dixie might be good, too. Dixie, I think, shot 300 on that course. We shot a 309 and a 310 as a team. That's a nine- or 10-stroke difference from where we are, so our kids know we have some work to do."
Murphy was glad Park City got a chance to play the course that will host the state championship. Familiarity will help later in the season, he said.
"For quite a few of the guys, it was their first time playing the course," he said. "That course knowledge will help out a lot. Having them get to know the course with the two-day tournament down here was good for them."
He added that the Miners are hoping to play the course a couple more times before the state tournament.
"They want to get down here as much as they can," he said. "We'll probably come play it a couple weekends in September. A couple of those guys have got some confidence with that course now and want to go back and play."
Now the Miners will have a little break from the hectic early-season schedule. As the school year begins, Park City will hang around Summit and Wasatch counties for a while.
"We kind of slow it down a little bit now," Murphy said. "Next Thursday, we're back at Soldier Hollow and then we're at Park Meadows and Park City [Golf Course] in the two weeks after that. It'll be nice to be home."
Monday at Morgan
Mitchell Schow 70
Jalen Roberts 72
Collin Steele 73
Jack Hanskat 78
Drew Fleming 80
Tommy Halsey 80
Josh Lansky 80
Jake Overson 85
Wednesday at St. George
Mitchell Schow 75
Jalen Roberts 77
Collin Steele 78
Jack Hanskat 79
Drew Fleming 80
Josh Lansky 87
Thursday at St. George
Mitchell Schow 75
Jalen Roberts 75
Collin Steele 76
Jack Hanskat 84
Drew Fleming 85
Josh Lansky 91
PCHS golfers off to fast start
Mitchell Schow takes a shot during a tournament in Vernal on Thursday. Schow shot an 8-under-par 64 to lead all Region 10 golfers. (Photo courtesy of Jamie
Playing in Region 10 matches on Wednesday in Roosevelt (hosted by Union) and in Vernal (hosted by Uintah) on Thursday, the Miners already have a 25-stroke lead over Uintah in the Region 10 standings.
On Wednesday, the Miners totaled a team score of 299 to Uintah's 313 and, on Thursday, topped the Utes 303 to 314.
Junior Mitchell Schow, the defending 3A individual state champion, led the way for Park City both days, carding a 3-under 69 on Wednesday and an 8-under 64 on Thursday.
"It's nuts," Park City coach George Murphy said of Schow's low scores. "He's off to a great start and he had a great summer. He's really the rock for our team right now."
The back-to-back, early-season matches are a little unusual for the Miners, but Murphy said, since Park City is playing a couple of tournaments later in the season, they wanted to get some Region 10 matches done early.
"We're just trying to get a bunch out of the way before school starts so they don't miss as much school," he said.
This year, after running away with Region 10 in previous years, Murphy thinks the Miners will face a little bit of pressure.
"They're going to keep pushing us," Murphy said of second-place Uintah. "They had a good chance out there at their home course. They've got a couple kids who can put good scores together. They're similar to us in that they have three or four kids who can shoot in the 70s consistently.
"We're just trying to keep sharp throughout the season. I want that for our players to have Uintah play well and keep the pressure on us. It's so much better for us than going through region play where it's not even a question [of who would win]."
But, with Drew Fleming and Jalen Roberts shooting consistently to help out Schow, Murphy is confident that this year's team can repeat as region champs.
"Drew and Jalen and Mitch, all three of them have been on the state team the last three years and posted scores for us," he said. "We're looking for those three to do the same thing this year. What we're doing is looking for that fourth scorer. We've had a lot of good scores and right now it's kind of a toss-up we've got a bunch of kids shooting 81s and 82s."
Heading into the rest of the season, Murphy said Schow will continue to be the rock for the Miners as the rest of the team takes shape behind him. He added that the sky is the limit for what Schow can do, especially after Thursday's 64.
"Even he admits he left two or three strokes out there," he said. "That could have been crazy low. But he's excited and he's pumped about his game right now. That's a big deal to shoot eight-under at a high school tournament."
The next match for the PCHS boys' golf team is scheduled for Monday, Aug. 11, at Morgan. The Miners will host a match at Park Meadows on Thursday, Aug. 28, from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m.
Wednesday at Union
Mitchell Schow 69
Jalen Roberts 75
Drew Fleming 75
Josh Lansky 80
Collin Lambert 80
Tommy Halsey 81
Jack Hanskat 86
Jake Kasel 86
Thursday at Uintah
Mitchell Schow 64
Drew Fleming 77
Josh Lansky 81
Jake Overson 81
Tommy Halsey 82
Collin Lambert 87