After the opening round of Saturday's Utah Ladies State Amateur, it's hard for Stephanie Brockbank to look at the tournament as an uphill competition. In fact, she might even describe it as a class reunion.
Brockbank, a current member of the Brigham Young women's golf team, stands in first place with a total of 76 at Toana Vista Golf Course. Only one stroke behind her is former Cougar Lachell Simmons, winner of this summer's Women's City Parks tournament. And trailing by only two strokes is another former Y. teammate, Sharon Probst.Competing in her third State Am, Brockbank is ironically the youngest of the Cougar trio that leads a small championship flight of six golfers in the Wendover tourney. "Lachell and I finished (at BYU) a year ago and Stephanie is still in the program," Probst said. "But we've all played together several times since then."
The three old friends will team up again for today's action to make the best of perfect conditions in this weekend's competition. High temperatures, with no real threatening wind, made Saturday's play a dream for the 110-player field. Among those giving the highest praises to the always-challenging greens at Toana Vista was Brockbank, who ended the back nine with a stellar score of 37.
"The greens were really smooth and the course was in great shape," Brockbank said. "They had some tough slopes with the pins on the greens, but it was fun."
After a hot summer of dry, fast greens I wasn't in too much trouble except for one hole."
The sole error came on the par-3 No. 7 hole, where Brockbank landed left of the green and came up short again on her second shot and ended the hole with a double-bogey.
Edging her way into the leaderboard from the first flight was Ogden native Valerie Green who scored 41 on the back and front for a sixth-place overall score of 82, which leads the first flight.
"The course has made a big difference," Green said of Toana Vista conditions, which have been lengthened for the State Am. "When you come to a long course, it means more to your playing ability."
Leaders in the remaining brackets included Anetta Ramos with a gross score of 89 in the second flight, Carlie Andrews heads the third flight with a 95 and Vardell Laursen the fourth with a 102 gross.