It looked like it might be a long day for Salem Hills senior Jason Cheney in the final round of the 5A state golf tournament Thursday at Sky Mountain golf course in Hurricane.
He’d gotten off to a rocky start and was sitting at 5-over-par after the first six holes.
But where many high school golfers at that point might start pressing and end up hurting themselves more, Cheney stayed poised.
“Some kids really get down on themselves but he has never been that way,” Skyhawk head coach Brad Fillmore said in a phone interview. “When I go talk to him and he’s playing bad, he’s never hanging his head. He just focuses and says he knows he can get it back. He almost always does that.”
Over the final 12 holes, Cheney shot 1-under-par to match his first-round 76. His two-day total of 152 put him in eighth place overall, the best Utah Valley finish.
“Jason is really resilient,” Fillmore said. “I love how he never quits. He is sometimes creative out there to make a birdie or make a par. He really started stroking the ball well this week.”
Fillmore explained that the senior has been very consistent, shooting a low score of 71 and never shooting over 80.
“He was one I knew I could count on,” Fillmore said.
Cheney was part of the group that won the 4A title in 2016, so he had the chance to hoist the title.
Salem Hills knew it would be tough to repeat but felt their performance didn’t show how good they really are.
“It was pretty disappointing,” Fillmore said. “We were expecting to be 30 shots better than that. We knew we might not win but we expected a better showing.”
The Skyhawks finished ninth as a team as Park City held off Bonneville to win the championship.
Fillmore will miss his senior leaders but has a couple of good golfers on the team to build around for 2018.
“I think the region will be a lot more competitive next year,” he said. “But we have some good young kids coming up from junior high, so we will be in a bit of rebuild.”
Led by a 163 from Tyler Clayson, Spanish Fork finished 10th overall.
For complete results, go to UHSAA.org.