SYRACUSE — After 12 holes at Thursday’s second round of the 2018 5A state boys golf tournament at Glen Eagle Golf Club in Syracuse, Skyridge junior Jeff Curtis was in decent position, sitting at 4-over-par with six holes left.
At that point, he decided to throw caution to the wind and just go for it.
“On the last six holes, I just thought, ‘I have nothing to lose,’” Curtis said. “I went right for the pin every time, stuck it pretty close and had three birdies. I had a positive attitude even though the holes I birdied I doubled and bogeyed the day before. I was just playing the hole and trying to beat it.”
Unlike many of the competitors at the tournament who struggled down the stretch, Curtis came in with three birdies to finish with a score of 73 (1-over par), and a two-day total of 143. That made him the highest local finisher as he came in tied for 15th overall.
“Jeff was our top golfer all year,” Skyridge head coach Ryan Roberts said. “He was really steady for us. He was on fire with his irons and he hit a couple of putts. He was tough and he’s a competitor. I’m pretty excited for how he played.”
Curtis’s performance set the tone for the Falcons, who showed their consistency by shooting a team score of 305 for the second straight day.
Skyridge finished sixth in the team competition as Skyline held on to win the 5A state title. Springville finished seventh and Wasatch ended up 10th.
Even though the Falcons weren’t able to push for a championship, Roberts said he was very happy with how his young team performed at state.
“I thought they played really well,” Roberts said. “They ground it out, were in there to win, were out there scrapping. I saw some guys overcome some bad shots and get birdies right after. I think there were a lot of positives from this week.”
Curtis said the blustery conditions made things tricky as guys had to gauge what the ball would do.
“It was a lot of playing the wind,” he said. “Sometimes I had to club up two times and sometimes I had to club down two times. I thought it was pretty fun, particularly when it paid off. I just focused in on that and putting the ball where I wanted to.”
He said on Hole No. 16 he had to club up two times to try to get the right distance.
“I put it to like 2 feet,” Curtis said. “It definitely paid off and made me really happy.”
He said he was most proud of being able to rally and finish strong.
“I was happy overall with what happened,” Curtis said. “Yesterday, I didn’t have the performance I wanted. I was little bit up and down. I was just happy I was able to finish like I did.”
The Falcon junior also liked the overall team showing because of the balance Skyridge put on display.
“Most of the time we were all in the 70’s but I know there were a lot of shots left out there that we all had,” Curtis said. “We had a lot of shots that were close and everyone had a bad hole, but I feel like going into next year we all can dial it down.”
Since the Falcons didn’t have any seniors on the team this year, the entire squad will be back to make another run in 2019.
“It’s exciting because you don’t have to prep and prepare as much,” Roberts said. “High school golf is about what the kids do outside the season. They need to get out and figure out shots. I’ve challenged the kids to get a tournament schedule so we can make a run at it and see what we can do.”
Curtis believes that the Skyridge golfers hit the ball well, so the next step moving forward is to improve the mental game.
“I feel we can all grow,” Curtis said. “We can dial down on our putting and all of us can get low scores. If a couple of us can get under par, I feel that will really put us up there in the mix for next year.”