MIDWAY – Throughout the year, Snow Canyon and Pine View went back and forth for the top two spots in Region 9 play. So, it was only fitting that both the Warriors and the Panthers battled to the last hole to determine third and fourth place during the 3A state tournament at Soldier Hollow on Thursday.
In the end, SC pulled out a five-shot victory – 604 to 609 – to beat PV.
“That was our goal at the start of the year and we did it,” SC’s Brodey Payzant said after shooting a 77 Thursday. “I didn’t play my best today, but the team rallied around each other and pulled together. I couldn’t have asked for a better season. It was a lot of fun.”
Park City came in as the defending champs, and left no doubt who it would be again this year. The Miners took home the team title to win its eighth consecutive 3A title, setting a state record. PC was led by Mitchell Schow who won his third consecutive individual title. Schow finished 13-under par with a 131 over the two-day event.
SC’s Triston Gardner started the day five-shots back from Schow after posting an opening round score of 70. But Gardner put the pressure on early after firing a 66 to finish at 8-under par. But in the end it wasn’t enough.
“Schow is unbelievable,” Gardner said. “He’s a great example for those of us coming back next year to be able to play at that level.
I was glad that I could bounce back like I did today against some great competition,” he added. “I’m only a sophomore, so it feels great to be able to play at the same level as some other the other older guys who I’ve been able to meet.”
Gardner credited his solid play Thursday to his driver which put him in great positions throughout the day.
SC’s David Lindsey fired back-to-back 77s and Kolob Geraldo had an 83 to round out the top scores for the Warriors.
“David played awesome this week,” Gardner said. “He’s really stepped up over the last couple of tournaments and if it wasn’t for him and everyone else on the team, we wouldn’t have been able to finish in the Top 3.
After a terrific first day (300), PV wasn’t able to save the best for last as the team combined for a 309 to finish with a final score of 609.
PV’s Noah Schone was paired with Schow after a blistering 66 on the first day. The duo went back and forth the entire day, before Schow pulled away on the last two holes. Schone finished the day with a 71 after a double bogey on the final hole dropped him from second to third overall.
“Noah was right there,” PV golf coach Darrell Larsen said. “He battled the entire day and went toe-to-toe with Schow. I’m still proud of him and I told him afterwards that the last hole doesn’t define him. He had a heck of a tournament and has been a great team leader all year for us.
“I felt so bad for Noah,” Gardner said about his three-putt on the last hole. “I really wanted him to make his earlier putt so that we could have tied. He’s a great guy and I know he’ll bounce back and be even better next year.”
The Dixie Flyers also made the cut after tying with Juan Diego and Stansbury after the first day. Kosuke Aoki bounced back with a 70 after a 73 on Wednesday to lead the Flyers. Aoki finished with a two-day total of 143 to finish in seventh place. Taylor Bottema, also posted his best score of the tournament with a 79 after an 82 the prior day. Like Aoki and Bottema, Max Walsh and Pierce Goodwin also bounced back with scores of 79 and 81 respectively.
Those scores were good enough for the Flyers to finish in seventh place as a team, beating Stansbury by eight shots and Juan Diego by 14.
Desert Hills just missed the cut after posting an opening round 329. But thanks to a good enough opening round by Blake Amick, the senior qualified to compete on an individual basis Thursday. Amick, was back to his normal self on Thursday as he torched the course with a 70 to finish with a 147, just two shots back on ninth place.
Although Region 9 didn’t quite have the finish as last year – placing four teams in the Top 5 – the Warriors, Panthers, Flyers and Thunder will return a bunch of talented players as they look to make a big run next year.
Follow Justin Giles on Twitter @Justingiles22.
Park City (571), Tooele (591), Snow Canyon (604), Pine View (609), Carbon (618), Union (630), Dixie (631), Stansbury (639), Juan Diego (645).
Top 10 Individual Scores
Mitchell Schow 131 (Park City), Triston Gardner 136 (Snow Canyon), Noah Schone 137 (Pine View), Jersey Houston 138 (Tooele), Drew Fleming 142 (Park City), Braxton Quin 142 (Tooele), Kosuke Aoki 143 (Dixie), Ryker Smith 145 (Carbon), Triston Hartfiel 145 (Bear River).