HURRICANE – If the 4A state golf tournament is anything close to what the Region 9 season has been like this year, spectators can expect another thrilling finish that may even top last year’s exciting three-person sudden-death playoff match at Soldier Hollow Golf Course.
Despite the new high school classification that saw most of the 3A schools jump up to the 4A level, all eyes will still be on Park City. The Miners come in looking to win the program’s 10th consecutive state team golf title at Sky Mountain Golf Course with the two-day tournament taking place Wednesday and Thursday.
Park City, which already holds a state record for the longest consecutive golf team championships, regardless of any classification, has four players back from last year’s title-winning squad. The Miners are led by Dean Tsandes who finished tied for second after falling in the three-person playoff last year, which included Pine View’s Noah Schone.
“With the new classification it will be interesting to see what happens,” said Desert Hills head coach Ron Denos. “Park City always has a great team, but the 4A schools that stayed in 4A are pretty good, too. Region 9 has had some great battles this year and I expect we’ll have several teams in the running as well.”
While Park City continues to reload every year and arguably has the most depth of any team, the battle for medalist honors will be up for grabs and will be a lot fun to watch with numerous players from each of the four regions shooting below par this season.
Snow Canyon’s Triston Gardner, the Pine View duo of Jaden Milne and Lucas Schone, Dixie’s Brody Henderson and Jack Phillips and Desert Hills’ Will Stewart and Jordan Newby are all the top contenders out of Region 9.
Heading into the final tournament of region play, Schone, Gardner and Milne were all separated by less than two points. As for the team title, Pine View, Desert Hills and Dixie were all separated by less than three points.
“It was a crazy season,” said Gardner. “Everything came down to the final hole of the last tournament. One week a team would win by one stroke and then next week a different team would win by one. Every week was tough and gave us a good feel heading into state this week.”
After placing second as a sophomore at Soldier Hollow two years ago, Gardner is just happy to be back playing in a state tournament after his family moved to Oregon last year.
“It’s good to be back and I’m feeling pretty good heading into state,” he said. “It’s crazy to think that it’s my last year and I’m going to make sure that I give it everything that I got.”
With the tournament down south for the first time since 2014, the senior is taking advantage of it by playing Sky Mountain several times over the past couple of days.
“It’s definitely an advantage to be playing on a course that we’ve played several times throughout region play,” Gardner said. “I’ve seen a lot of the other Region 9 guys and it’s been pretty fun to see everyone out playing and getting ready for state.”
During one practice round last week, Gardner shot 5-under on the front nine and said he feels confident heading into Wednesday’s opening round.
“You want to be playing your best down the stretch and I feel like I am,” he said. “Overall I’m just excited to see what our team can do as well as the other teams in Region 9. It’s going to be a lot of fun.”
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