BOYS GOLF: Davis High, Cole Ponich claim state championships

Tuesday , October 03, 2017 - 7:31 PM

RYAN COMER, Standard-Examiner Staff

LAYTON — The Davis High boys golf team may not have won a region title, but now it has something even better: the school’s first state championship since 2002.

Davis rallied from a four-stroke deficit after the first day of the 6-A tournament at Valley View Golf Course to defeat four-time defending state champ Lone Peak.

Davis bested Lone Peak by 15 strokes Tuesday to claim the title.

Junior UCLA commit Cole Ponich was the individual medalist after posting a two-day score of 11-under 133. He topped two-time defending state champion and Georgia Tech commit Connor Howe from Weber High.

“I think they’re young enough to not know what they just did,” Davis coach Ben Horne said. “They’re kind of numb, just like I am.”

Davis overtook Lone Peak on the second day thanks to resilient performances from Jack Sargent, Mckay Cook, Bradley Yu and Alex Yu. All four golfers improved their score from Monday, combining to shoot 24 strokes better on the second day. Ponich, Sargent and Cook each shot under par Tuesday.

Conversely, only one Lone Peak golfer shot better Tuesday than Monday, and only one shot under par Tuesday.

“They’ve won four straight, but our kids play against these kids a lot in the junior golf program here in Utah,” Horne said. “I just told our kids, ‘This is our course. We play here a lot. It’s a difficult course, but you guys know it well. You play well here.’”

Despite entering the region meet with a two-stroke advantage, Ponich lost the Region 1 title to Howe by a stroke — but he wouldn’t allow a similar fate Tuesday.

After shooting 7-under 65 on Monday to claim a three-stroke advantage over Howe, Ponich got off to a strong start Tuesday with birdies on his first two holes.

Ponich parred or birdied each of the 36 holes over the two days.

Despite the tough end to region play, Ponich entered the state tournament with confidence because he won the Bobby Chapman Junior Invitational in South Carolina the weekend before the region tournament, an event where he shot 8-under.

“I was definitely nervous because time’s running out, so I wanted to get at least one individual (title) before I was done with my high school career,” Ponich said. “In the end, I just had to trust what I’ve been doing this whole summer. Been playing great and I just had to take my best out there, and if it wasn’t good enough, then that’s how it goes.”

Howe tied Lone Peak’s Zach Jones for second. Both shot 5-under 139.

Sargent and Cook tied for fifth overall (3-over 147), while Weber’s Hunter Howe and Clearfield’s Tanner McMillan tied for eighth (6-over 150).

Davis finished with a team total of 580, and Lone Peak finished with a total of 591. Weber took third with a score of 600. Clearfield and Fremont finished seventh and eighth, respectively.

5-A Tournament

SARATOGA SPRINGS — Olympus squeaked by Viewmont by one stroke to claim the 5-A boys golf championship at Talon’s Cove Golf Club.

Olympus entered the second day of the tournament a stroke behind Viewmont and in third place overall. Skyline, which led after the first day, tied with Highland for third.

Olympus’ Zack Neff was the individual medalist with a two-day score of 141. Neff shot a 67 on Tuesday after shooting a 74 on Monday.

Drew Smith was Viewmont’s top golfer with a two-day score of 144. He shot a 72 both days.

Woods Cross’ Grant Wilson finished fifth (146), Viewmont’s Brendan Thomas finished sixth (147) and Box Elder’s Zach Hansen tied for seventh (148).

Bountiful finished seventh and Woods Cross placed ninth.

Contact Standard-Examiner sports reporter Ryan Comer at Follow him on Twitter at @RyanComerSe and on Facebook.

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