By Shawn Harrison, Logan Herald Journal
PRESTON — It was a day to tinker with their respective games, but that doesn’t mean golfers were taking Wednesday’s outing lightly.
In the annual Cache-Box tournament, Sky View once again showed it may just be ready to challenge Bonneville’s long-time hold on Region 5 in boys golf. The Bobcats had five players finish among the top 10 individuals Wednesday at the Preston Golf and Country Club. That was more than enough for the closest school to the course to win.
“We were pleased with our performance up here,” SV coach Terrell Baldwin said. “We had some kids play really solid golf. They were patient with their game today and played mistake-free rounds.”
There were no points toward region standings, but the prep players were still aiming to go low on the sunny and beautiful day. They used Wednesday’s round to try and improve before returning to league play next Monday.
“We came in wanting to have fun and score well,” Mountain Crest’s Casey Lowe said. “There was no pressure, so we thought we could score a little better. … I feel like we are getting better and making progress. We are getting there.”
Logan’s Justin Kim tied with Box Elder’s Dallin Wheatley for medalist honors Wednesday. Both carded 1-under-par rounds of 70.
“My swing was better today,” Kim said. “It’s always good to see improvement, especially when it’s under par. … My putting and short game was just off today. But I had to deal with what I had and battled it out with Dallin Wheatley. He played very well.”
Kim said he approached this tournament like every one he has so far, trying to have his best possible round. Being a senior, the Grizzly is feeling his time is ticking.
“I want to have a good stroke average by the end of the season,” Kim said. “I took it (Cache-Box) more serious this year than last year.”
He was averaging 300-yard drives on the day, but will now focus on his short game before the next region match. He got rid of his “duck hook” drive from the last tournament. Kim lipped out a putt late in his round that could have possibly put him in first, but he shrugged it off.
“It was good today,” Kim said. “… I just need to be consistent and learn to play through a round when things aren’t going well. This is golf and there are times when that is going to happen.”
Sky View’s Riley Archibald was one shot back of Kim and Wheatley. The Bobcat senior fired an even-par 71.
“Today was up and down,” Archibald said. “I had a double (bogey), an eagle, three birdies and three bogeys. They all kind of canceled each other out.”
Archibald has not been happy with his fall so far this fall, but seemed to find his game Wednesday. He started on the par-3 ninth hole and recorded a bogey. The Bobcat quickly shook that off and recorded his eagle on the very next hole with a chip in from 30 feet.
“It’s always nice when you can go two under in one shot,” Archibald said. “… I need to get back. I’ve been having a rough year, but seem to be putting some respectable scores together now.”
Baldwin was pleased to see Archibald do well at Preston.
“Riley is never satisfied and always feels he can improve,” Baldwin said. “That’s the mentality the ultra-competitive people have. It was great to see him play well today, and it will give us some momentum heading into our next few region matches.”
Archibald led a group of five Bobcats that carded scores in the 70s. The Sky View trio of Josh McKenna, Mark Spencer and Dalton Stott tied for sixth with 4-over-par 75s. Austin Jeppsen tied for ninth at 78.
“I was proud of our kids,” Baldwin said. “The course was playing very, very long today. The course was in great shape. We had a great day up here.”
Only four scores count toward the team total. Sky View beat second-place Bear River by eight strokes, 296-304. The Bears are 3A and had two players tie for fourth individually in Tristen Hartfiel and Bridger Layton with 2-over-par 73s. Logan was third at 317, followed by Mountain Crest (326) and Box Elder (332).
“We got really close competition and our whole team is really good,” Archibald said. “Hopefully we can keep progressing. We are getting there.”
The Mustangs were led by Lowe and Brendan Fristrup with rounds of 80.
“For the most part I played pretty well,” Lowe said. “There were just three holes where I played seven over. Putts hurt me today. Take those three holes out and I would have shot low 70s today. I just need to keep my head in the game, just lost my head a couple of holes.”
Lowe is confident the Mustangs can make it to state as a team. Scores have improved and now the team collectively needs to have some top four finishes.
The Bobcats feel the same way, only they plan to compete for the region title. Baldwin had a former Sky View and current professional player Devin Daniels speak to the team nearly two weeks ago, and he has seen significant improvement since.
“I really think he (Daniels) caught their attention about practicing and practice habits and how that can equate to solid play,” Baldwin said. “I really think that has been a benefit to our squad. … He is a great example to these kids.”