Miners cruise to Region 10 title, prep for state championships
Park City High School's JT Harman laughs as a mallard duck waddles across the 18th green at the Park City Golf Course during a Region 10 Meet earlier this year. The duck stayed around for the putting to conclude and followed the boys down the golf cart trail to the next hole.
Dealing with some weather, Tuesday’s match on the silver course at Soldier Hollow was a near-perfect tune-up before the state tournament, which is the first week of October.
“We were looking at it as just kind of a warm up or a preview of how the state tournament is going to be [at Soldier Hollow],” said Head Coach George Murphy. “We were looking at how they played, especially when it got windy.”
Park City was led by Zane Schemmer and Cole Lee, who both shot an even-par 72. Dean Tsandes and Josh Lansky followed with marks of 73 and 75, respectively, to give the team its 292 score.
All season long, the strength of this team has been the depth it boasts. In years past, the Miners have relied on some of its top golfers, including last season with now-departed Mitchell Schow and Drew Fleming, on their way to a dynasty. But in 2016, there hasn’t been one golfer that has stuck out more than any other.
In fact, Schemmer, the lead golfer for Park City on Tuesday, was slotted in the No. 8 spot in the lineup, proving that on any given day, any one of these Miner golfers could lead the way.
“I don’t think we’ve had this kind of depth where we’ve had all eight [golfers] capable of playing that well,” Murphy said.
In addition to another Region 10 title, history was made by the Park City team on Tuesday.
By the end of the match, the Miners didn’t claim either of the top two spots in the region — those belonged to Austin Jaramillo of Union and Bridger Holmes of Tooele — but they did take the next eight to round out the top 10. This is something that not even Park City, the eight-time defending state champions, has done.
If a team has an individual that finishes in the top 12 of its region, that golfer is able to participate in the individual portion of the state tournament. Because of this, Murphy will be allowed to take all eight of those golfers to the state championship, even though only six will count for the team score.
With the top Park City golfer seemingly changing with every match, Murphy has a tough decision to make before Oct. 5-6.
“Right now, it’s kind of just up in the air. I don’t know what to do,” Murphy said. “But I’ve got about a week to figure out.”
Having too many good golfers is not a bad problem to have, but there will surely be some heavy contemplation done by the Park City head coach this next week in terms of setting a lineup for the state championships. Even so, Murphy and his team are confident heading into their final competition of the season.
“[The players] feel pretty good with where they are,” Murphy said. “They each have some things they want to work on and get better at, but they know that at that course, the silver course at Soldier Hollow, they are capable of scoring. It’s going to be, this year, who’s going to step up and make a name for themselves. … Raising the bar for themselves individually, but also just to help the team.”
PCHS boys’ golf stays hot during cold region match
Park Citys Jack Hanskat watches a putt roll toward the hole during Thursdays Region 10 golf match at Park Meadows.
It was cold during the early hours of the tournament, of course, but it didn’t take the Miners long to warm up. Seven PCHS golfers carded scores in the 70s, and the Miners’ team score of 297 was good enough to beat second-place Union by 34 strokes.
Park City Coach George Murphy said he was happy to see so many Miners turning in low scores on the tough Park Meadows course.
“It was solid,” he said. “Everybody played well. We had seven kids shooting in the 70s. With greens as fast as they were, the course was playing tough, but they managed it well. They played good shots into the greens. It was fun to watch.”
Senior Josh Lansky led the way for Park City, finishing the round with a one-over-par 73. Sophomores Jack Wright (74) and Dean Tsandes (75), freshman Eli Kimche (75) and junior Jack Hanskat (75) had the best scores of the day for the Miners.
Hanskat, who started the round on Hole No. 14, said he started slow, carding a double bogey on that hole, but eventually rounded into form.
“It took me a couple of holes,” he said. “Golf’s like that, though — you just have to forget about it and try to move on. On 16, I hit a 195-yard shot to within a foot [of the hole]. That was a good way to bring it back. Then I birdied 17 and birdied 18.”
The team score of 297 accomplished the Miners’ sub-300 goal, but Murphy said he thinks the team can shoot even better on days when conditions are more favorable.
“A 297 is not our best score, but it’s solid,” he said. “Sub-300 is always our goal. It was very cold. The scores are high from the region, but our kids kept it together. They’re OK with the cold.
“These are awesome scores for this course, too. There’s a ton of sand and it’s a little longer than we’ve played some other places. They handled it quite nicely.”
The Miners have only one more match: the Region 10 tournament on Tuesday, Sept. 20. That tournament will be held at Soldier Hollow, which will also serve as the site of the 3A state golf tournament Oct. 5-6.
Murphy said that since so many Miners are playing well, choosing six to make up the state team won’t be easy.
“It’s going to come down to next week,” he said. “Whoever steps up, especially at that course as a test for state — it’s going to be close. They’re all playing well, though, and that’s where we want them.”
Both Murphy and Hanskat hope the weather conditions at the state tournament in October are similar to the conditions from Thursday.
“Last year, it rained during state, which was pretty rough,” Hanskat said. “But if we had a day like today during state, that’d be fine by me.”
“If we get used to it over the next few weeks, that’s perfect for us,” Murphy added. “We’ll be used to it and won’t let it affect us.”
The Miners will get plenty of practice at the state course before October. Hanskat said the Miners all know the course well, but will need to gain some confidence and stay sharp before the tournament begins.
“It’s just falling in love with the course,” he said. “We all know that course really well, but especially over the next three weeks, we’ll get to know it even more. The greens there are a whole lot different than the greens here [at Park Meadows].”
Thursday at Park Meadows
PCHS boys’ golf earns another region victory
Park Citys Josh Lansky, pictured here during a match last week, was one of three Miners to shoot a 75 on Wednesday at Stansbury. Eli Kimche led Park City with a 73.
Competing in the Region 10 event, the Miners recorded a team score of 298, besting second-place Union by 13 strokes to extend their overall region lead to 108 strokes over Tooele.
Freshman Eli Kimche led the way for the Miners, shooting a one-over-par 73. Josh Lansky, Parker Cutt and Jack Wright all shot 75s to round out Park City’s top four.
Though only the lowest four scores for each team are counted toward the team total, Park City Coach George Murphy said all eight varsity players and a couple of JV players had a great day on the Stansbury course.
“It was a good result and we had some really great scores from 1-10,” he said. “We had two JV players who played really well, too.”
Murphy said he was impressed with Kimche’s round, especially after the freshman struggled at the start.
“I think he triple [bogeyed] the first or second hole,” Murphy said. “With a start like that, especially with younger players, you have a tendency to get down on yourself. But he played fantastic all day and had a solid performance.”
Though the second-place team is 108 strokes behind Park City, Murphy said the region standings are tighter than they’ve been in years past. He said that’ll help the Miners as they push for their ninth-straight state title.
“With two tournaments left, we have a pretty sizable lead, but I like that the margin is getting closer,” he said. “These guys need to stay sharp and on their game.”
This weekend, the Miners are challenging themselves at a tournament in Arizona — the Antigua National High School Golf Invitational.
On Thursday, Murphy said he was looking forward to the challenge of playing with some of the country’s top high school squads.
“I think we’re a pretty deep team 1-5,” he said. “We’ll see how they do the next couple of days. We usually finish middle of the pack with our team. We’ll see how they handle the heat and a little more pressure. The teams down here are all really good.”
On Thursday, the Miners will host another home region match, this time at Park Meadows Country Club. The Region 10 Championship will follow on Sept. 20 at Soldier Hollow.
Murphy said Park City is going to keep working hard ahead of the 3A tournament Oct. 5-6 at Soldier Hollow.
“We’re just trying to keep them in good shape for what’s ahead in the first part of October,” he said.
Thursday’s match at Park Meadows is scheduled to start at 9 a.m.
Wednesday at Stansbury
PCHS boys’ golf shoots for ninth-straight title
Park Record File Photo
Any conversation about the Park City High School boys’ golf team quickly turns to the streak.
The Miners have won eight-straight state championships, but winning a ninth won’t be an easy task.
The team lost longtime leaders Mitchell Schow and Drew Fleming to graduation and will now rely on two new senior leaders, surrounded by a core of young golfers, to get the job done in 2016.
Though Fleming and Schow will certainly be missed, Coach George Murphy said the Miners do return a number of experienced golfers to the team.
“We actually have five kids who played at state last year and are returning with experience,” he said. “And they all played well and shot 75 or 76 both days. I don’t know if we’ve ever had that much depth at state.”
Seniors Josh Lansky and Cole Lee and junior Jack Hanskat make up the core of the team, but the Miners have talent at the underclassman level, too.
“[Sophomore] Dean Tsandes is starting the year at No. 1,” Murphy said. “He played a lot of tournament golf in California this summer. He’s excited for the season and is playing well.”
The Miners will also have freshmen Eli Kimche, Ryan Wright and Parker Cutt and sophomore Jack Wright vying for varsity positions. Murphy said anything could happen between now and when he has to pick his top six players for the state tournament.
“We’ll wait to see who steps up and takes the top couple spots and really leads this team,” he said. “We’ve got some young kids and we’ve got some juniors and seniors looking to make a name for themselves. That’s not a bad situation to have. We’ve got some good players and some good talent. Even though we’re going to miss [Schow and Fleming], we’re excited to see what we can do.”
As Park City works toward the 3A state tournament at Soldier Hollow in early October, Murphy said he’s trying to keep the focus on having a great 2016 season and not worrying about the streak of eight straight state championships.
“There’s no pressure,” he said. “Whatever happens, happens. I just want them to enjoy it and play solid golf. I don’t think I’ve mentioned one time to them in the last three weeks anything about the streak.”
That said, Murphy has seen determination from this year’s team. He said they are excited for the opportunity to extend the title streak to nine.
“They set that bar pretty high and they’re up for the challenge,” he said. “They want to keep this going. They’re very motivated and playing well, too.”
The Miners’ first home match of the season is scheduled for Thursday, Sept. 1, at Park City Golf Course.