Any golfer can tell just how damaging a bad hole can be. One missed shot can lead to another, then another until the score inflates like a balloon.
Lehi sophomore golfer Helaman Ofahengaue found himself in just such a predicament Monday afternoon at the midway point of his first round in the 5A state boys golf tournament on the Lakes course at Wasatch golf course in Midway.
Things had not gone well for Ofahengaue on Hole No. 9 as his chip shot came up short, his first putt rolled long and then his tap-in refused to drop, which was enough to tag him with a double-bogey.
“I blanked out there so badly,” Ofahengaue said. “But when a bad hole happens, all I do is take deep breaths. I’ve played enough golf to know that I had a whole other nine holes left. I can’t stop. The best thing to do is to stay calm and keep a good attitude.”
He rallied nicely, making birdies on the next three holes. He said it was that kind of round for him as he carded an even-par 72, putting him in a tie for sixth, just two strokes off the medalist lead.
“I was scrambling,” Ofahengaue said. “I just had to get the ball on the green. Today wasn’t a ‘fairway-green, fairway-green’ round. I was having to get up-and-down all day. It was different from how I normally play and I didn’t make as many putts.”
Part of the challenge was the gusty wind conditions on Monday that kept the golfers guessing.
“There was a lot of wind, so the conditions weren’t easy,” Ofahengaue said. “It was good to keep the ball low.”
Ofahengaue’s round led the way for the Pioneers, who shot 304 as a team. That put them in fourth place after the first round, 13 strokes behind the leaders from Skyline. Spanish Fork is sitting in fifth place at 305.
“We all scrambled today and tried to keep our scores as low as possible,” Ofahengaue said. “The coaches told us before the round that every stroke counts.”
Lehi head coach Jason Ingersoll said his squad isn’t out of the running yet.
“When we saw the scores coming in, we saw we were hanging in there,” he said. “13 strokes is a lot, especially against a team like Skyline, but overall you’ve got to be happy. The kids fought out there and did their best. There are a lot of good players in the state.”
The Pioneers are hoping to make a big charge in Tuesday’s final round.
“The biggest thing is for us to learn from today and not do the same mistakes,” Ingersoll said. “We need our big players to stay away from double-bogeys. I want our guys to compete and have fun.”
Ofahengaue said the golfers needed to prepare starting Monday night to make that happen.
“We need to eat well and sleep early,” the Pioneer star said. “We need to make sure we are ready in the morning. We can’t start warming up when we get on the course. We have to get that started when we get up so we can be ready to play on Hole No. 1 and not wait until Hole No. 5.”
The final round of the 5A state boys golf tournament is scheduled to have a delayed start on Tuesday due to the forecast for frost at Wasatch golf course in Midway. The first groups are slated to tee off at 10 a.m. but that could be adjusted due to the course conditions.
For complete details and pairings, go to UHSAA.org.
Lone Peak boys golf surges to the lead in 6A competition
As state champions in five of the last six years, the Lone Peak boys golf team has set the bar high.
The 2019 Knights were up to that challenge on the first day of the 6A boys golf tournament at Meadow Brook golf course in Taylorsville.
Lone Peak put together one of its signature rounds of team-wide consistency to shoot 288 in the opening round, giving the Knights a six-stroke edge on second-place Bingham and Davis.
Skyridge (299, fourth place) and American Fork (306, sixth place) are still close enough to be dangerous as well.
Leading the way for Lone Peak were Taft Lewis and Preston Smithson, both of whom shot 1-under-par 71s and are tied for the medalist lead. The Knights also got a 72 from Kole Abbott and a 74 from Parker Reese.
The final round of the 6A state boys golf tournament is set to begin at 9 a.m. on Tuesday at Meadow Brook golf course in Taylorsville.