There was a slight chance Bear River could catch Ridgeline at the two-day Region 11 championship.
Not any more.
The Riverhawks slammed the door shut Monday at Glen Eagle Golf Course in Syracuse on the first day of the tournament. No matter what happens Tuesday at Hill Force Base Golf Course on the second and final day, the Ridgeline boys golf team will enjoy another region title.
“It’s not very often you have six players in the 70s and arguably your two best players don’t even figure in your score,” Riverhawk coach Sam Lindley said. “High school golf at its best.”
The top four scores count toward the team score. Lindley was referring to Zack Skinner and Beckham Johansen, who finished tied for 10th and 12th, respectively, with scores of 76 and 77.
The Riverhawks had four boys go lower than Skinner and Johansen as their team score of 296 was three strokes better than surging Green Canyon (299). Bear River came in third at 303, but now only leads the Wolves by a point in the team standings. A strong showing by Green Canyon on Tuesday could move the Wolves into second place.
“We played well today and want to play well again at Hill Air Force Base,” Wolves coach Terrell Baldwin said. “The kids want to be playing their best golf this time of year.”
Rounding out the team scores were Sky View (317), Logan (326) and Mountain Crest (337). There were 17 scores in the 70s on Monday at the par-72 course.
For the second straight outing, Sky View sophomore Hayden Howell was the medalist with a 2-under-par 70. He has moved his way up to sixth in the individual standings after not being in the top 10 two weeks ago.
“He did awesome,” SV coach Eric Kleven said. “Hayden is playing well right now.”
Howell not only celebrated being the medalist Monday, but also his 16th birthday. However, he celebrated by doing homework after getting home from the golf course.
“Maybe, I will do something later in the week to celebrate,” Howell said.
He began his round on the par-4 12th hole with a birdie. The Bobcat then suffered a bogey, but was able to bounce back with three birdies in a row. He liked the links course.
“There wasn’t a lot of trouble, just OB and hazards left and right and no trees in the way,” Howell said. “I think everybody was hitting greens and making putts. The greens were very soft, so you could stick a shot on the green. If you go for pins, you have easier looks for birdie.”
Bear River’s Jarett Giles fired an 1-under-par with a 71 to take second. He has already wrapped up the region medalist title.
Green Canyon’s Jace Blotter was third Monday with an even-par round of 72. The senior has moved into second in the region individual standings, just ahead of Skinner and Johansen.
The Riverhawks have been the deepest team all season, but really proved that point at Glen Eagle with six players finishing among the top 12 and earning points for the individual standings. For the first time this season, neither Skinner or Johansen counted toward the team score. Only one other time did one of the top Ridgeline golfers not count, but never both of the sophomores.
Isaac Peterson led the Riverhawks with a 1-over-par 73. The junior was fourth Monday. Junior Fletcher Hamblin and senior Jackson Stokes tied for fifth with two others with 74s. Senior Cooper Gunnell was one shot back in ninth with a 75.
Green Canyon had four golfers shoot in the 70s. Following Jace Blotter were Abe Olsen (74, tied for fifth), Kenden Blotter (75, tied for 10th) and Justice Ballingham (77, tied for 12th).
“Our kids really battled hard today and refused to give away extra strokes to the field,” Baldwin said. “We have been working hard in that area to mentally be tough minded. I love these kids.”
Two Bears joined Giles in the 70s in Dalton Jones (74, tied for fifth) and Ryker Bennett (78).
Joining Howell in the 70s from Sky View was Logan Cromwell (79).
“I think I’m peaking at the right moment,” Howell said. “I want to try and go make another good score tomorrow.”
Logan was led by Kobe Larsen, who tied for 12th with a 77.
Ben Smith led Mountain Crest with a 79.