We've been working so hard to get this thing done. It was just an amazing feeling. It still is. It was a team effort and we all did this with our hard work. —Zack Neff
SARATOGA SPRINGS — Olympus golfer Zack Neff texted his coach, Matt Barnes, late on Monday night and promised two things. On Tuesday, during the final day of the 5A golf championships, Neff held true to both promises.
The junior golfer took home gold medals in both the individual and team competitions for the 5A classification, the exact thing he told his coach would happen the night before.
"He told me he was going to win me two trophies tomorrow, I said that I liked his thinking, and, sure enough, he did exactly what he said he would," Barnes said.
Neff fired a 67 during ideal scoring conditions at Talon's Cove on day two of the 5A golf championships, giving him a two-day score of 141 to win individual champion honors. Highland's Oscar Maxfield finished second with a combined score of 143 with Viewmont's Drew Smith placing third after shooting 144.
As tight as Neff's win was in the individual competition, Olympus' team win proved even tighter.
With Viewmont having posted a team score of 599, Neff was the only Olympus golfer remaining on the course, as he approached the green with about a 12-foot putt for birdie. If he sunk the birdie putt, the Titans would walk away with the championship. Miss it, and both the Titans and Vikings would play extra holes to decide things.
"I knew things were tight, and that every putt was going to be important, but I really didn't know exactly what was on the line with that one," Neff said of his final shot. "I guess it was probably good that I didn't know exactly what the putt would mean for the team."
Neff described a quick putt that took a sharp break to the left of him.
"I kind of just tapped it a little bit and it dropped in on the side, and everyone went crazy," Neff said. "I was already nervous, but if I knew what exactly was going on — I don't know; it was probably a good thing I didn't know."
Sure enough, his teammates stormed the green, as it then dawned on him exactly what his putt ultimately accomplished.
"We've been working so hard to get this thing done. It was just an amazing feeling. It still is," Neff said. "It was a team effort and we all did this with our hard work."
Olympus's Sam Parker carded a 145 over the two-day competition, and a 71 on Tuesday, which placed him fourth in the individual competition. John Fox tied for 10th in the competition, with a 150 total score, also contributing heavily to Olympus' team championship.
Also coming up big for the Titans was Garrett Lindsey, who shot a 77 after scoring a 94 the day before. According to Barnes, Lindsey struggled to shoot 43 on the front nine before finishing off the back nine with a scorching 34.
"You need four golfers to get in the 70s to win this thing, and we had that today," Barnes said. "Heck, we had Zack shoot 67, which is just awesome. I'm proud of all of them and this is just amazing for them and for all of their work and dedication."
5A state golf tournament
Talon's Cove Gold Course, par 72
Team scores (top 10 make cut)
1. Olympus, 598; 2. Viewmont, 599; 3. Skyline, 616; 3. Highland, 616; 5. Skyridge, 626; 6. Corner Canyon, 637; 7. Bountiful, 641; 8. Alta, 643; 8. Woods Cross, 643; 10. Timpview, 646.
1. Zack Neff, Olympus (74-67-141)
2. Oscar Maxfield, Highland (74-69-143)
3. Drew Smith, Viewmont (72-72-144)
4. Sam Parker, Olympus (74-71-145)
5. Grant Wilson, Woods Cross (74-72-146)
6. Brendan Thomas, Viewmont (75-72-147)
7. Kayleb Barton, Alta (78-70-148)
T7. Zach Hansen, Box Elder (77-71-148)
9. Sam Whisenent, Highland (74-75-149)
10. John Fox, Olympus (75-75-150)
T10. Tanner Davidson, Skyridge (77-73-150)
T10. Jackson Holman, East (77-73-150)