STK - Close up of golf ball on green

Despite the predictably unpredictable Utah weather, Lone Peak is zeroing in on another boys golf state championship.

The Knights, who won four straight Class 5A titles before finishing second in the 6A tournament last season, climbed to the top of the 2018 team race at TalonsCove in Saratoga Springs by shooting a 1-under-par 287 on the first day of competition. All the teams had to deal with a 30-minute rain delay as well as windy weather throughout the day.

“It started out nice, but on the back nine the wind picked up,” Lone Peak coach Rob Stanger said. “It was just a matter of making sure to keep your ball in play and not let the wind do too much damage to your shot.”

Lone Peak senior Zac Jones was the top individual golfer, shooting a 68. Jones finished second in last year’s state tournament.

“Zac played solid,” Stanger said. “He shot 4-under on the front nine so he got off to a great start. When the wind picked up on the back nine he shot even, which was good. Golf is subtle. He lipped out a couple of putts where he felt like he hit a great shot but the ball didn’t go in.”

Jones, the Region 4 individual champion, is tied with Clearfield’s Bryson Hirabayashi atop the leaderboard, with Lone Peak freshman Preston Smithson and Davis’ Cole Ponich right behind him at 70.

Ponich was the 6A individual champion in 2017 and has committed to play at BYU.

Junior Taft Lewis shot a 73 and sophomore Parker Reese a 76 as Lone Peak took an eight-shot lead in the tournament. Region 4 foe American Fork carded a team total of 296 (7-over) with Jackson McDaniel (71) and Jayce Morrill (72) leading the way.

“We play a lot with American Fork in Region 4,” Stanger said. “Two teams from the same region leading the state tournament, that’s a real credit to the region. We have some great junior golfers here.”

Defending state champion Davis and Weber are tied for third at 14-over (302).

The final day of competition begins on Thursday at 8:30 a.m.

Follow Darnell Dickson on Twitter @darnellwrites or e-mail him at ddickson@heraldextra.com.

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