The wet, stormy spring in Utah Valley has been a delight for the plants, which are green and vibrant.
At TalonsCove golf course in Saratoga Springs, the stunning setting for the 2019 6A girls golf tournament, that is both a benefit and a challenge.
The fairways and greens are in fantastic shape, making for an ideal golfing experience for the golfers — unless they get off-course.
“The golf course was in great shape but the native grasses are thick with all the rain we’ve had,” Lone Peak head coach Gina Higbee said after Monday’s opening round. “That is tough to get out of. Sometimes it’s tough to even get a clubface on the ball.”
The Knight depth proved its strength once again as Lone Peak opened up a 10-stroke lead on second-place Davis heading into Tuesday’s final round — but Higbee was clear that the Knights know they can’t let up.
“The goal going into today was to be seven strokes up and we ended up 10,” she said. “That was great. We’re happy about it but we’re not comfortable. We’ve got to go out there tomorrow and perform even a little better than we did today.”
The Knights got their four counting scores from Lauren Taylor (74), Berlin Long (75), Abbey Porter (75) and Ashley Higbee (84) to come in at 308 as a team.
The Darts ended up at 318, which is definitely close enough to be dangerous.
“Davis has some great players,” Gina Higbee said. “The 10 strokes could be gone in a couple of holes. We have to hold on tight to that lead.”
With those two teams being as close as they are, they will be playing in the same groups on Day 2. Gina Higbee said she wants the Knights to adjust their approach slightly.
“We talked at the end of the day today and I said we did great but each of them need to go a little lower,” Gina Higbee said. “We have to dig a little deeper. We’re looking at it like match play with Davis. The girls need to think that that’s my match and I need to beat that person. I think you’ll see at least the first three scores drop a little bit tomorrow.”
Part of that will depend on recognizing when to be aggressive and when to be cautious.
“We are going into tomorrow trying to plan a little more management of the course,” Gina Higbee said. “I felt like the course managed us a little today, so we are going to work on managing it out there.”
While Lone Peak is leading the team competition, a couple of individuals also turned in amazing scores.
Leading the way was Bingham’s Carissa Graft, who fired a 65 to lead all golfers. Right behind her was Westlake’s Alina Vannarath, who tallied a 69 and is very much in contention for medalist honors.
“I was out there the whole time and I didn’t think anyone was going to be in the 60s,” Gina Higbee said. “When I saw those two scores, I thought that that was rock solid golf. It was very impressive.”
Vannarath helped the Thunder to fifth place after Day 1, while Pleasant Grove sits in sixth.
The final round of the 6A state girls golf tournament will begin Tuesday at TalonsCove golf course at Saratoga Springs at 8 a.m. with the final groups scheduled to start at 9:50 a.m.