Saratoga Springs • Bingham golfer Carissa Graft told herself that after playing the best round of her life, she had nothing to worry about on the second day of the Class 6A girls state tournament. Lone Peak’s players convinced themselves that they went into the final round trailing by 10 strokes, not leading by 10.
Each strategy worked wonderfully.
Graft nearly matched her opening-round 65 with a 6-under-par 66 that gave her a convincing victory in the medalist race and Lone Peak surged to a repeat team title Tuesday at Talons Cove Golf Course.
Graft’s teammate, two-time individual winner Tess Blair, rallied with a second-round 65 just to finish second, six strokes behind. There would be no catching Lone Peak, either. Even with their imaginary 10-shot deficit, the Knights would have won. Lone Peak played 12 strokes better Tuesday than in the first round, completing a 26-stroke win over Davis.
Lone Peak counted Abbey Porter's 68, Berlin Long's 71, Lauren Taylor's 74 and Maybel Harris' 83 in the final round. Ashley Higbee posted a counting score Monday and freshman Miranda Schulties also made the Knights' tournament lineup.
Beyond the team's talent, coach Gina Higbee credited Lone Peak's camaraderie for the strong performance. The Knights commemorated the win by rushing onto the 18th green after the final putt dropped, shooting confetti in the clubhouse when their score was posted and eagerly grabbing the trophy when they were announced as champions.
Utah Lake was too far away, in this case. Higbee's 2016 winners jumped into a pond at Wasatch Mountain in Midway. “We do over-celebrate a little bit,” Higbee said, “but you know what? We like to be a little bit different, in that aspect.”
The Knights deserved to enjoy the win, earned with consistent play Tuesday when they managed the course well, staying out of the fairway bunkers and long grass. They also succeeded in treating their one-by-one pairings with Davis' golfers as a case of match play, trying to outplay their biggest contenders, Porter said.
Individually, Graft removed all of the mystery with a front-nine 31, then added one birdie on the back nine. Going into the final round, “I felt calm,” she said. “I didn't stress about it. I'm like, 'You know what? I shot the best round of my life; let's just go out and have another easy day. There's no pressure on me.' ”
Graft's two-day total 131 is a tournament record, with Utah having recently a stroke-play format instead of Modified Stableford scoring for the girls state tournament.
The 3A and 5A tournaments were staged last week; the 2A and 4A girls events and the 1A boys tournament will conclude this week.
Richfield repeated as the 3A winner, finishing more than 100 strokes ahead of runner-up Morgan at Round Valley Golf Course in Morgan. Richfield's Hayden Harris (77-77) earned another medalist award.
The 5A individual competition required an eight-hole playoff, with Corner Canyon’s Jamie Connell (77-72) outlasting West’s Whitney Banz (73-76) at The Ridge Golf Course in West Valley City. Timpview won the team title by 10 strokes over Corner Canyon.
CLASS 6A STATE TOURNAMENT
604 – Lone Peak (308-296). 630 – Davis (318-312). 645 – Herriman (336-309). 675 – Bingham (345-330). 709 – Pleasant Grove (358-351). 711 – Riverton (363-348). 712 – Northridge (368-344). 729 – Westlake (352-377). 735 – Copper Hills (369-366). 736 – Weber (364-372).
131 – Carissa Graft, Bingham (65-66). 137 – Tess Blair, Bingham (72-65). 141 – Alina Vannarath, Westlake (69-72). 143 – Abbey Porter, Lone Peak (75-68). 146 – Berlin Long, Lone Peak (75-71); Halley Parkin, Riverton (74-72). 148 – Caylyn Ponich, Davis (78-70); Lauren Taylor, Lone Peak (74-74). 155 – Abbi Cowan, Northridge (79-76); Mille Terrion, Herriman (79-76); Kennedy McNeel, Herriman (83-72).