Timpanogos senior Joey Hadfield faced one of the toughest 18-inch putts of his life at Soldier Hollow golf course in Heber Monday afternoon.
No, it wasn’t for a state title or individual recognition. It was to break 80 on the first day of the two-day 5A state boys golf tournament and get a chance to come back for Day 2.
“My heart was pounding out of my chest,” Hadfield said. “It was tough.”
Since he had a double-bogey on Hole No. 8 (his 17th hole of the round) on the Silver course, he knew he had to be aggressive on the final hole.
“I knew in order to make it to the next day I would have to birdie the last hole,” Hadfield said. “I went all in and took a lot of risks.”
He appeared to have a good shot at making an eagle on the par-5 but his long putt refused to drop, leaving him with work to do and nerves to fight.
In the end, however, he trusted his stroke and found the bottom of the cup.
“Fortunately I made it and get to come back tomorrow,” Hadfield said. “Today was a little disappointing but it means the world to make it to the second day for the first time with it being my senior year. I hope to go play better tomorrow. I want to be aggressive and hopefully come out with a decent score.”
The first day of the 5A and 6A state boys golf tournaments was about high school golfers making the most of opportunities and putting themselves in position to reach their goals.
While the goal of Hadfield was to reach Day 2, the powerhouse Lone Peak boys golf team was shooting for another run at a 6A title.
“We all wanted to play our best for each other, to go out and have fun,” Knight senior Brandon Ashworth said. “Most of us are seniors, so we wanted to finish off the year with a bang. We wanted to play a really great round and most of us did that, so it was a great day.”
Ashworth tied with fellow senior Evan Lawrence to lead Lone Peak by shooting 69 (3-under-par) on the day.
“I didn’t get off to the best start but then I got it going on about Hole No. 4 and 5,” Ashworth said. “I got to 5-under-par but I missed a 2-footer for par. But I saved it and was grinding on the back. It was a good round.”
That score put Ashworth and Lawrence in a tie for third in the 6A individual competition.
Their scores, as well as those of senior Gunnar Christofferson (70, 2-under-par) and sophomore Cooper Jones (71, 1-under-par) propelled the Knights to the top of the leaderboard with a team score of 279. Lone Peak holds a five-stroke lead over second-place Davis.
With so many good scores, Ashworth knows he might be competing with his teammates for medalist honors.
“Tomorrow will be fun though,” Ashworth said. “It would be huge for me to win. It would boost my confidence a lot and would be a great way to end my senior year of golf.”
The Knights will by chasing Layton senior Tysen Diaz, who shot a 65 (7-under-par) for the lowest score of the day.
In Class 5A, Lehi sophomore KJ Ofahengaue had the best showing of Utah Valley golfers on Day 1 as he shot a 68 (4-under-par) on the Silver course. That put him in sixth place, three strokes behind Skyline senior Tyson Shelley.
In the 5A team competition, Skyline appears to be in control with Park City in second. The battle for third place, however, should be a good one.
Spanish Fork shot a 290 as a team on Day 1, putting the Dons one stroke ahead of Olympus and three strokes ahead of Lehi heading into the final round.
The second day of action for both the 5A and 6A state tournaments will take place at Soldier Hollow golf course in Heber on Tuesday, with the 5A competition taking place on the Silver course while the 6A golfers will again tackle the Gold course.
For complete details and tee times, go to http://UHSAA.org.