Lehi’s Pati Uluave has career day as Timpview, Lone Peak girls golf teams dominate first round of state tournaments
Lehi senior golfer Pati Uluave Had a goal this season of finishing a golf tournament under-par. Her best finish had been getting 1-under, which is an excellent score.
But was she started the first round of the 5A state tournament at River Oaks golf course in Sandy on Monday, she felt like something was different.
“On the first hole, I had a 20-foot birdie putt uphill,” Uluave said. “I was like, let’s just knock this in — and I knocked it in. That was when I knew it was going to be a good day.”
She bogeyed Hole No. 2, but came back with three more birdies on the front nine before a bogey on the 10th hole dropped her back down to 2-under-par — which was a great spot to be in.
But then came the streak that all golfers dream about:
- No. 12: Birdie
- No. 13: Birdie
- No. 14: Birdie
- No. 15: Birdie
“On 10, I just kind of got ahead of myself,” Uluave said. “I just needed to get back into. It was a good feeling to be able to drop all my putts.”
Pioneer assistant coach Johnny Revill stayed with Uluave throughout the round and agreed that her putting was the difference.
“Pati is one of those golfers who is really consistent,” Revill said. “She doesn’t get up, she doesn’t get down. But she plays her best when her putter gets on fire and it caught fire today. She made a putt from the fringe and barely missed another on No. 16 that would’ve been her fifth-straight birdie. We knew she had a low round in her. She didn’t miss a spot. Her drives were down the middle and she hit the green where she wanted to, so it was fun to watch. It’s been a long time since I’ve seen someone have eight birdies in a round.”
Uluave’s final tally of 64 (6-under-par, a career best) looked to be enough to give her a commanding lead for 5A medalist honors, but Timpview senior Sunbin Seo (who has golfed frequently with Uluave during the Region 8 season) made a late charge to narrow the gap.
Seo was even par after a bogey on Hole No. 11, but notched a trio of birdies including on both of the final two holes to come in with a 67, just three strokes back.
“Uluave played a good round, but I didn’t play bad either,” Seo said. “I’m actually happy. We still have tomorrow and tomorrow is a whole new day.”
Seo grinned when she talked about getting ready to see what will happen in the second and final round of the 5A tournament.
“My favorite thing about golf or any type of competition is being behind or being the underdog,” Seo said. “Catching up and winning is actually the greatest thrill I get.”
Uluave knows she can’t think she has already won medalist but has to keep playing well.
“I just need to calm myself down,” Uluave said. “I’m just going to celebrate with my team now, but after that I’m just going to reflect on this route and what I did well, what I did bad, and see what I can fix tomorrow to do better.”
Revill said he told the Lehi senior to focus on the day ahead.
“What I told her is that today (Monday) is done,” Revill said. “Tomorrow she needs to come out and play golf, play how she knows how to. She doesn’t need to be overly aggressive but she doesn’t need to be overly conservative either. But she’s played golf long enough that she isn’t going to get overly amped up. Hopefully she comes out and plays steady tomorrow.”
Uluave and Seo have a gap between themselves and third-place Rachel Lillywhite (a Timpview senior as well), who shot a 73 (3-over-par) in the first round. Thunderbird sophomore Emma Lillywhite is in fifth (77), Spanish Fork sophomore Katelyn Bingham is in sixth (81) and Lehi senior Brooke Anderson is in seventh (83).
While it look possible there will be some drama in the individual state title battle, Timpview left little doubt about who is the overwhelming favorite to win the team crown. The Thunderbirds finished the first round with a 304 (24-over-par), which is 50 strokes better than second-place Alta.
“I think some of my teammates are bummed because they wanted to play better,” Seo said. “They definitely can and I have faith that they will. I feel we can definitely do even more.”
It’s a similar story after the opening day of the 6A girls golf competition, which took place at Stonebridge Golf Course in West Valley.
The medalist battle looks like it could be exciting, since a pair of Lone Peak golfers who also happen to be sisters are atop the leaderboard.
Knight senior Berlin Long and freshman Aadyn Long both shot 70 (2-under-par) in the first round, which was two strokes better than Riverton senior Jane Olson who is in third at even par.
As a team, however, Lone Peak has a big advantage since the Knights fired a 302 as a team (14-over-par), 23 strokes better than second place Herriman.
Both the 5A and 6A tournaments will have their final rounds on Tuesday, with 5A playing at River Oaks in Sandy and 6A playing at Stonebridge in West Valley.
The first golfers at both events are set to tee off at 9 a.m.