Skyridge senior golfer Tanner Davidson brings the most experience to the young Falcon squad, so he has had to spearhead the efforts to make sure his teammates are ready for the mental challenges of the state tournament.
“I try and be as positive as possible,” Davidson said Monday. “Sometimes it’s really difficult but mentally you can’t let anything get in your way. I tell my teammates to stay focused on one shot at a time and be positive. It kind of stinks that it is my last year of high school golf, but the team is in good hands.”
He led the way in a consistent Skyridge effort Monday on the first day of the 5A state boys golf tournament at TalonsCove golf course in Saratoga Springs, carding a 77 to help the Falcons into a tie for fourth.
“We obviously can play better, but this is kind of what we’ve been doing all year,” Davidson said. “If we can step it up a little bit tomorrow, I think we can play really well and maybe get within a few shots of the lead.”
He said that he had some ups and downs during his round, including a great approach on No. 3 that resulted in birdie, but also a couple of bogeys down the stretch.
“I three-putted on No. 14 and then had a bad third shot on No. 15,” Davidson said. “On No. 18, I had a bad drive, but made a nice recovery. I struck the ball really well off the tee and my irons were good, but my putting lines were off. If I can get that fixed for tomorrow, I feel like I can play pretty well.”
Skyridge head coach Mark Whetzel said he liked how his team was able to set themselves up.
“It was tough conditions and the course was pretty tough,” Whetzel said. “We didn’t play our best, but we played pretty well to stay in there. I’m excited with where we are at. I’m looking forward to having them play their best tomorrow and see if we can pass up some teams and take state.”
He said he believes he has a team that can make a run.
“I have a lot of confidence in them,” Whetzel said. “They have a good attitude. I think tomorrow will be a better day as far as the weather, so it’s fun. It’s a great event.”
The Falcons shot 314 as a team, putting them behind Skyline (303), Viewmont (307), Olympus (308) and tied with Highland.
The Timpview boys golf team is back in ninth at 329, but Thunderbird head coach Jeff Ward has seen a lot of movement on the second day at state during his career.
“I think that anyone that is within 15 strokes has a chance,” Ward said. “In my career, only two times can I remember seeing the team that was leading after the first day win it all. Every other time, it’s been someone coming from behind.”
Whetzel said he believes the Falcons will play their best golf without the pressure of being on top the leaderboard.
“I think everyone gets psyched about the wind and the cooler temperatures,” Whetzel said. “I think if the weather is good, I’ll tell my team to be aggressive. We have nothing to lose, and I think they play better when they are the chasers.”
Skyridge came on strong late to edge Springville for the Region 8 title. The Red Devils missed making it to the second day by a single stroke as they were hurt by a four-stroke penalty.
The final round will be an opportunity for someone to make a move. Davidson said that for it to be the Falcons, they have to take care of business on the green.
“I think if we can get more putts in the hole, that will definitely help,” Davidson said. “We are a good ball-striking team, but putting has been a weakness. If we can step that up tomorrow, then we will play well.”
The final round of action is scheduled to begin at 9 a.m. Tuesday at TalonsCove golf course in Saratoga Springs.