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Laura Seitz, Deseret News
Corner Canyon's Jamie Connell competes in the 5A girls high school state championship at The Ridge Golf Club in West Valley on Wednesday, May 8, 2019.

WEST VALLEY — Corner Canyon golfer Jamie Connell sure took a difficult route to win the girls state 5A golf tournament Wednesday afternoon.

She could have ended it some two hours earlier if she’d only sunk a putt from a little less than 3 feet for par on the 18th hole at The Ridge Golf Course. Instead she had to endure an epic eight-hole sudden-death playoff against West’s Whitney Banz before she could finally claim victory.

“That was mind-blowing, very, very nerve-wracking,” said Connell after rolling in a left-to-right breaking putt from 8 feet for birdie. Her victory was assured when Banz’s putt from about a foot less on a similar line, slipped by the hole.

Of course Connell would have liked to have made her short putt earlier, but going an extra couple of hours against a tenacious competitor to pull off the victory made it that much sweeter.

When asked what was the key to her victory, Connell said, “I wanted it really, really bad.”

" That was mind-blowing, very, very nerve-wracking. "
Corner Canyon golfer Jamie Connell on an 8-hole playoff

The long playoff somewhat overshadowed an outstanding team effort by Timpview, which claimed its first-ever girls golf title, defeating three-time defending champion Corner Canyon by 10 strokes with a two-day team total of 651.

“It’s real exciting,” said Timpview coach Jeff Ward. “My three little freshmen stepped up big — my whole team did. I’m absolutely ecstatic for my girls.”

The T-Birds had led by just one shot going into Wednesday’s second round, but freshman Sunbin Seo came through with a 72 and fellow freshmen Rachel Lillywhite and Keilani Hanamaikai added scores of 79 and 83 for a 323 total.

Ward was especially proud of senior Kennedy Olson, who broke 90 for the first time this week and did it both days with an 87 Tuesday and an 89 Wednesday, with both scores counting in the best four-of-six scoring format. The other two on the winning T-Bird team were senior Macie Howard and junior Anna Fellars.

“They worked hard all year and consistently got better and put it together over two days,” said Ward.

Alta finished third in the team standings at 712, followed by Brighton at 723 and Skyline at 736.

Laura Seitz, Deseret News
West High's Whitney Banz competes in the 5A girls high school state championship at The Ridge Golf Club in West Valley on Wednesday, May 8, 2019.

Banz had led by four strokes after a first-round 73, but was caught by Connell, who had an under-par round going until the final hole. After a big drive, she chipped up within 8 feet and only needed to two-putt for the win.

However, she didn’t know it at the time and thinking she needed to make the putt to win, rolled it by nearly 3 feet. When she missed the comebacker and made bogey, it gave her a 72 and a two-day total of 149.

Connell and Banz played holes 10 and 11 three times apiece, with Connell lipping out on birdie tries on holes 5 and 6 of the playoff. Then they went to the par-3 12th hole and both parred before playing the par-5 13th.

Both golfers hit nice drives and woods over the water to the green. Banz’s short chip came up 7 feet away and Connell’s long putt was 8 feet short.

Bountiful’s Vanna Einerson was third at 151, followed by Seo at 152 and Corner Canyon’s Savannah Romney at 153.

Laura Seitz, Deseret News
Timpview's Sunbin Seo competes in the 5A girls high school state championship at The Ridge Golf Club in West Valley on Wednesday, May 8, 2019.

Team scores:

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  1. Timpview 651; 2. Corner Canyon 661; 3. Alta 712; 4. Brighton 723; 5. Skyline 736: 6. West 745; 7. Bountiful 753; 8. Box Elder 781; 9. East 800; 10. Olympus 806.

Individual scores:

149 — *Jamie Connell, Corner Canyon (77-72), Whitney Banz, West (73-76)

151 — Vanna Einerson, Bountiful (77-74)

152 — Sunbin Seo, Timpview (80-72)

158 — Savannah Romney, Corner Canyon (79-79)

161 — Rachel Lillywhite, Timpview (82-79), Claire Whisenant, Skyline (81-80)

162 — Keilani Hanamaikai, Timpview (79-83), Kyla Hoster, Brighton (81-81)

169 — Kate Christensen, East (83-86)

*Won sudden-death playoff