5A boys’ golf: Viewmont’s Hirsch claims crown
By Eric Butler
Special to The TribuneFirst published Oct 08 2013 07:05PM
Highland • Viewmont’s Kelton Hirsch knew he was having a pretty good day at the Class 5A state golf championships as he approached the 18th tee.
Hirsch, who was unaware of how the first-day leaders had fared, also was pretty sure his round wasn’t good enough. Happily for the Vikings’ senior, he was wrong.
With a second-day score of 70 — one of only two under-par rounds Tuesday — Hirsch’s 143 gave him a two-stroke margin and the 5A individual state title at Alpine Country Club.
"On the 18th hole, I was told I had a two-shot lead," he said. "I didn’t think I was even going to be close. I just thought some of the guys would be coming in lower than they did today.
"It probably helped me a little bit not knowing where they were, until the 18th hole, at least. By then, I could just come in and calm the nerves a little bit."
Hirsch was playing in the final group of the day and, as it turned out, another member of his pairing — Lone Peak’s Cameron Webb — ended up in a four-way tie for second.
But it was a pair of West High golfers who Hirsch and others were chasing.
West senior Austin Banz, the defending 5A state champ, ended Monday’s play with a one-stroke lead over teammate Marshall Harris and a four-stroke advantage over Hirsch.
But Banz had an off-round Tuesday, scoring a 76, while Harris finished the day with a 75. Both were part of that second-place tie, along with Fremont’s Dylan Chugg, who had the only other under-par round, with Hirsch at 70 for the day.
"It was rough," Banz said. "I just wasn’t very straight off the tee, and my putting didn’t really help put anything together."
Webb led Lone Peak to the team state crown. Berkley Stulce shot a two-day total of 149 for the Knights. Connor Copeland, who carded a 78 on Monday, got Lone Peak off to a good start by shooting an even 72.
The Knights were 14 shots better than Viewmont and Syracuse, who had a one-hole playoff that the Vikings won to claim second place.
"A lot of these guys, I’m their personal teacher as well as now being their high school coach," said Rob Stanger, who is in his first year as Lone Peak’s golf coach but is a long-time teaching pro at Alpine Country Club.
Stanger said that Lone Peak enjoyed a home-course advantage, but there were drawbacks to that as well.
"There was a lot of pressure coming in," Stanger said. "Because if you don’t pull it off on a course your players are familiar with, then all of a sudden you’re having to answer the critics.
"These guys, I feel like, actually felt more pressure this year than they did last year."