By Tom Backman
For the Deseret News
ST. GEORGE Away game; no problem. Home court advantage; not today. Warmer weather, elevation change and living out of a suitcase; apparently no disadvantages, whatsoever.
Visiting Park City made the rounds at Sunbrook Golf Course Wednesday like they owned the place, like they had slept in their own beds and got up to a home-cooked breakfast. Behind the hot putter of junior Mitchell Schow, who led all golfers with a 3-under-par 69, the Miners built a whopping 16-stroke lead (289) over second-place Dixie (305) in round one of the two-day 3A boys high school golf state championship tournament.
But the coach is still cautious.
Theres a lot of golf left, said Park City head coach George Murphy.
Thats a good thing for all the other teams. But the battle within the tournament appears to be for third place, as only seven strokes separates the next five teams, including Union (315), Desert Hills (318), Tooele (320), Pine View (322) and Snow Canyon (322). The final three teams to survive the cut are only one stroke apart with Richfield (337), Uintah (338) and North Sanpete (339).
Park Citys cause was aided by Drew Flemming, who posted the second-lowest round of the day at 71, while three tied with even-par 72s, including Taylor Yardley (Dixie), Braxton Quinn (Tooele) and Brodey Payzant (Snow Canyon).
I couldnt miss the greens on the front nine, said Flemming. On the back, when I missed the greens, I putted well.
Schow birdied the par-5 No. 12 after laying up. His lead was threatened for only a few minutes after he gave a stroke back to the field with a 3-putt bogey on the island hole, and looked like he was going to lose another stroke to par when he came up short right on the bridge hole. But he drained a 10-foot breaking putt to save par and hold his lead.
Not one to dash to the winners circle, Murphy wasnt even ready to admit to the lead while Schow still had a remaining putt on the 18th hole.
I know it sounds clich, said Murphy, but I just tell the boys to play their own game and one shot at a time.
Schow, Yardley and Austin Jaramillo (74 Union) will tee off in the final group at 9:50 a.m.
Taylor and I have golfed together for seven years, said Schow. We are good friends.
Last to leave the practice area, Tooeles Quinn (72) was observed hitting chip after chip. He was asked if it was possible that one of those practice shots might make a difference Thursday.
It might, he said. It might.
3A golf tournament
At Sunbrook Golf Course (Par 72)
Wednesdays first round
1. Park City, 298; 2. Dixie, 305; 3. Union, 315; 4. Desert Hills, 318; 5. Tooele, 320; 6. Pine View, 322; 7. Richfield, 337; 8. Uintah, 338.
69 Mitchell Schow, Park City
71 Drew Fleming, Park City
72 Taylor Yardley, Dixie; Braxton Quinn, Tooele; Brodey Payzant, Snow Canyon
74 Jalen Roberts, Park City, Austin Jaramillo, Union
75 Collin Steel, Park City; Nicklaus Britt, Dixie; Taylor Cummings, Desert Hills;
76 Jaylon Steck, Richfield
77 Colton Stratton, Juan Diego