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Millcreek Journal

Skyline boys win fifth consecutive golf championship

Dec 02, 2022 02:50PM ● By Daniel Olsen

By Daniel Olsen | [email protected]

It was another year of success for the Skyline High School boys golf team as they once again won the state championship at Oquirrh Hills Golf Course. However, this one was different in a special way. This team wasn’t favored to win despite their past success. 

“We thought we’d be competitive at state,” Skyline coach Kenneth James said. “We weren’t the favorite. Jackson Shelley stole the show for two days. He was our lone medalist and got hot. As a sophomore that’s pretty neat. He’s always been good for us. He was first team all-state last year.”

In addition to Shelley, the rest of the team also contributed to the win in their own ways. In high school, golf is scored across the team so the best collection of golfers comes out on top.

“We had two really great days,” James said. “We led by several strokes after the first day, but were only leading by one stroke going into the back nine. We then played terrific. Peter Kim had a good back nine. Landon had a rough start and played so consistently. It was a team effort that took all scorers to win. The course was really hard on the second day. The long holes and pin placements made it tough.”

The weather conditions seemed ideal for an autumn day of golf.

“The weather was nice,” James said. “It was a little bit cool in the morning. They can have a lot of say on the scores by where they put the pins. They moved the tee boxes back to make the holes harder. We didn’t make mistakes and that helped us.”

While the whole course was challenging, one particular stuck out as the most challenging that proved to be the difference in the match.

“There is a par 3 which I want to say was hole 13,” James said. “There were two slopes which led to the hole way in the back. It was a four or five putt landing spot. The wind was blowing behind the golfers so it was really easy for them to go over-shoot it. We were one over as a team on that hole which is really good. Peter had the only birdie of the day on that hole which was on the second day. A lot of the teams didn’t shoot well on that hole. Some were even eight over on that hole. Hole 14 was tough too. They lengthened it out and it was a par 5. A lot of guys hit it in the cow pasture and even more out of bounds. That’s where we got the lead.”

Since the Eagles were underdogs, they didn’t realize until later on that they were going to win the team tournament. This wasn’t familiar territory for a team with so much statewide success in golf.

“We were up a few strokes after day one,” James said. “Then, we were only up a stroke on the back nine then really settled in and played well. Daniel Chandler played the best golf of his career on the back nine on the second day. It was awesome. Olympus is a really good and deep team. Fortunately for us, the state championship is just six on six.”

While talent won state titles in the past, consistency has been a calling card that has especially helped this team. It’s easy to have a couple good players, but getting the team to perform year in and year out is more of a challenge.

“We have amazing golfers,” James said. “Several guys who have come to our program and are playing in college right now. They set goals for themselves. They are self-motivated. They wanted to win the team title and put it ahead of their individual accolades. Our culture is good because they are putting the team first. We can’t worry about what other teams have done in the past. We knew our journey would be different because we would not be the favorite. We were the underdog. Our team put in extra practice rounds. We worked on the short game and putting. Guys organized plans with each other. We did it in a different way than other teams that I’ve seen do it. Nobody is going to remember that we didn’t win the region 10 years from now. We won the state. They prepared themselves for it.”

This win will prepare the team to go forward as they hope to continue with their dynasty. After winning five years in a row, it’s starting to become contagious.

“They are really motivated and like winning,” James said. “They saw what hard work it took to get there. Hopefully, they will learn that lesson and put that work in throughout the year. They can win if they put in all the extra time and improve. Hopefully, they’ll be good leaders. We had three new guys playing at state this year. For some, it was their turn to be the playmaker. Hopefully, those guys like that and it motivates them.”

This was a year that this team and the coaching staff will never forget.

“I’m so proud of our guys,” James said. “I love the way we came together as a team. They are the ones who put in the extra work. It wasn’t me nagging them. My favorite thing was watching these guys grow up. They stepped up in the big moment. Was fun to see these guys grow up and show their mental toughness and encourage each other. They will think about this memory for a long time. We overcame all adversity and played well in the big moment. They wanted to do it and they did it.”