Both Cedar Valley brothers Caden Dunn and Landon Dunn have proven they know their way around a golf course.
But the two definitely came into the first round of the 4A state boys golf tournament at the beautiful TalonsCove golf course in Saratoga Springs on Wednesday with different expectations.
Caden Dunn, now a senior, tied for sixth in the 6A state tournament in 2018 (which was also held at TalonsCove), so he had proven he could handle the stresses of state competition.
Landon Dunn, however, came in as a sophomore who was still trying to get everything together.
“He’s been flirting with 70s all year long,” Aviator head coach Nate Crandall said. “He’s been trying really hard to get better and better but he’s never been able to crack it. 81 was his best score and today he shot a 75. That’s was really big for him to do. You’ve got to give the Man of the Match to him today.”
The two Dunn brothers ended up leading the way for Cedar Valley as Caden Dunn tied for second overall with a 1-under-par 71, while Landon Dunn fired the next best Aviator score, a 3-over-par 75.
“It was exciting out there,” Caden Dunn said. “We had good weather and the course was in prime condition. I had some good shots. I kept it in play, hit some good drives and tried to put myself in a good spot for tomorrow.”
Those two scores helped Cedar Valley finish at 299 (11-over-par) as a team, putting the Aviators in second place behind Crimson Cliffs (which shot an even-par 288).
“We have a lot to look forward to tomorrow,” Caden Dunn said. “We have a lot of work to do but as of right now, I think we are in a good spot. Our team is excited.”
The older Dunn brother was particularly excited to see his younger brother do so well.
“You’ve got to love that guy,” Caden Dunn said. “He’s so capable of playing so good. He just finally did it today. He kept with it, played all the way through and played a good round. I knew during my round he was doing well. I kept getting updates from the assistant coach. When I heard he closed out, I was pretty stoked for him.”
Crandall said he was very pleased how his guys did on the first day of competition.
“It was a good day,” Crandall said. “This is great. To be second place after one day with as many good players as there are out there, that is a pretty big deal.”
The Cedar Valley boys golf team has been setting a high bar for the first-year school, winning the first region title in any sport for the Aviators by holding off the field in Region 10.
“When we moved over to Cedar Valley, we knew we had the chance to win region,” Caden Dunn said. “We’ve been working towards that. To close that out, it was awesome.”
Crandall explained that since the majority of the players competed together at Westlake prior to the opening of Cedar Valley, the team has a sense of continuity and don’t feel like first-year squad.
“So many of us were together at Westlake,” Crandall said. “They have three or four-year camaraderie and four of our five seniors have been playing together since they were freshmen. We need we could be pretty good.”
Now the Aviators have their sights set on making a run at the first state championship for the school.
“We need to stay focused and attack more,” Caden Dunn said. “We need to be a little more aggressive. We’re in a good spot but I think we played it a little more conservative. We need to go get it.”
Crandall likes how his guys are believing in themselves right now. He knows the competition will be tough but just wants to see his guys give it their all.
“It’s going to be fun tomorrow because we can play loose,” Crandall said. “We don’t have to be tight. We’ll go out and see what we can do. We’ll put the best number we can up there. Crimson Cliffs is really good. If they play their game, I don’t know if anyone is going to catch them — but if we play as well as we can we can be even better tomorrow than we were today.”
The final round of the 4A boys golf tournament is scheduled to begin at 9 a.m. Thursday at TalonsCove golf course in Saratoga Springs.