When an opponent makes a big charge, many coaches of high school teams might call a timeout or at least gather the squad together to rally the athletes.
That’s not really possible in high school golf, however, since the competitors are spread over dozens of acres of grass on the golf course.
When Davis made a big push and virtually erased Lone Peak’s five-stroke lead early in Tuesday’s second round of the 6A state tournament on the Gold course at Soldier Hollow golf course in Heber, Knight head coach Chad Christofferson needed his boys to respond.
“Yesterday we came out hot and we had a huge lead, which I was a little bit worried about,” Christofferson said. “We knew the other teams would be ready. We needed everyone’s scores. There was one time we were down by a stroke and I was like, ‘well, we’ll see if they can do it.’ Every single one of them pulled it together and it was awesome.”
The Lone Peak golfers answered the call, coming on strong down the stretch to hold off the Darts by shooting a 562 (14-under-par) to get the four-stroke win. In doing so, the Knights won their 10th overall state title, their third straight and their seventh in eight years.
“When we came in as freshmen, we were determined to win at least three state titles,” Lone Peak senior Brandon Ashworth said. “That was our goal and we did it. It was a great feeling for us five to all play well at state and get the job done.”
Ashworth’s teammate, senior Parker Reese, said the last four years with this group has been a blast.
“We’ve all become best friends, even outside golf,” Reese said. “We do everything together. We’re really tight as a team, so it’s been really fun.”
Perhaps those bonds were what made it possible for the Knights to come together and pick up their game when they had to in order to secure the win, even though they were at different holes throughout the course.
“I’m so proud of everyone,” Reese said. “Coming down the stretch, to see us be clutch. I think we played the last four holes 5 or 6-under-par. That was awesome to see us all do that.”
Ashworth said he wasn’t certain just how close Davis was as he was finishing out his round.
“Coming down the stretch, my coaches wouldn’t tell me where we were at but I knew we were really close,” Ashworth said. “I birdied three of my last four holes. I knew I needed to go deep for us to win and then we all went deep down the stretch.”
The moment that will likely stand out in the memories of many of the Knights was when Ashworth faced a tough downhill birdie putt on No. 18.
“It was great,” Ashworth said. “Clark Jones told me that it was really close and we needed that putt, to just drip-speed it in and not hammer it by. I had a good line and had drip-speed when I hit it. I just wanted it to go a little and it dropped. It was a really good feeling.”
The rest of the Lone Peak team was watching from the edge of the green and erupted in cheers as the ball hit the bottom of the cup.
“We’re going to remember that forever,” Reese said. “It was awesome to see him make that putt. He’s worked so hard all year and hasn’t seen the results. It was great to see him do at state.”
That birdie capped off a two-day showing of 139 (5-under-par) which put him in a tie for second place, one stroke behind Corner Canyon senior Cayson Wright.
“It is big, for sure,” Ashworth said. “It’s a great way to cap off my senior year, especially with all the hard work I put in this year. I’m more glad we won as a team but it was definitely a plus that I took second.”
Lone Peak also got solid performances from senior Evan Lawrence and sophomore Cooper Jones, who tied for 10th by shooting 142 (2-under-par), while Reese and senior Gunnar Christofferson finished tied for 13th with even-par 144s.
Chad Christofferson said he felt like the victory was one that was earned by the entire Knight squad, even though only six golfers could compete.
“It was awesome because they deserve it,” Chad Christofferson said. “They went every day and competed against the best talent possible — and they are the best talent. We have 12 kids who can shoot in the mid-70s, so those qualifiers are tough. The younger group pushed the upperclassmen and that’s why we were able to do what we were able to do.”
He also wanted to make sure that credit for the longevity of the Lone Peak boys golf dominance went to the right people.
“There are two guys who laid the foundation for all of this: Clark Jones and Rob Stanger,” Chad Christofferson said. “Rob was the coach for quite a few years and Clark has helped me all year and has been a huge part of it. Between those two, they have created a dynasty with golf for the last 10 years.”
Two other Utah Valley golfers also made the Top 5 as Pleasant Grove junior Josh Savage and Skyridge senior Carter Frisby both ended up at 140 (4-under-par) and tied for fourth.
In the team competition, Skyridge ended up fifth while American Fork came in sixth.