PROVO — The Park City Miners and Ogden Tigers played so well in the final round of the Class 3A state golf tournament Thursday that both teams got to play one more hole.
The Miners and Tigers blistered the watery Reserve at East Bay to storm from nine and 11 shots back respectively to pass first-round leader Tooele by two strokes in the 36-hole event. The two-stroke penalty assessed to a Buffalo player who showed up Wednesday wearing shorts kept Tooele from joining Ogden and Park City in a playoff.
In sudden death, a playoff with four players from each squad, the Miners didn't sit back and wait for Ogden mistakes. Good thing, because the Tigers didn't make any. They didn't do anything spectacular in the extra hole either, with all four Ogden players two-putting lengthy birdie putts for par on the par-5 first hole.
The sixth player to putt was Park City's David Cunningham, who benefited by seeing the line on four putts before him. The Miners sophomore calmly rolled in an 18-foot birdie to put the heat on Ogden's final hope and take the heat off teammate Zach Fischer. Ogden missed its final try and Fischer then quickly dropped his 10-foot birdie putt right into the middle of the hole — giving the Miners the crown by two strokes.
"I knew it was the winner when I hit it because I knew it was in," Cunningham said of his perfectly rolled putt. "I knew it took the pressure off of my teammates."
The Miners comeback was aided by a final-round 73 from Ryan Smith, 75 from Fischer, 76 from Cunningham and a 77 by Barrett DeWald. Fischer is the only senior in that group, which makes the Miners a good bet to be the team-to-beat next season.
Ogden's second-day scoring was led by Curtis Smith's 72, a 73 from Brett Jessen, Patrick Smith's 74 and an 80 posted by Zack Larsen. The Tigers team total of 299 Thursday was low for the day.
Two-time defending champion Dixie finished alone in fourth place, five shots behind Ogden and Park City and three shots back of Tooele.
Delta's Jordan Fowles fired a final-round 73, to go with his opening-round 72, to win medalist honors by two strokes over David Poggi of Judge and Jacob Abraham of Tooele. Fowles trailed both golfers by one shot heading into Thursday's final 18 holes, but all of the leaders struggled.
Fowles, however, didn't falter quite as much and led both Abraham and Poggi by one shot after 16 holes. Fowles and Poggi both narrowly missed birdie putts on No. 17 and both hit perfect drives on the par-4 18th. Fowles knocked his iron shot to 10 feet below the hole. Poggi sailed right over the pin but into the long grass behind the green. His chipped stopped three feet from the cup. Fowles needed only to two putt to win, but knocked in the final-hole birdie dead center.
"I didn't think I needed to make it to win, but I wasn't sure what was going on behind me so I tried to make it," Fowles said.
The Rabbits senior joins his brother Casey Fowles, now a member of the University of Nevada-Las Vegas golf team, in winning a state title. The younger Fowles was surprised that his second-day 1-over par score was good enough to win.
"I thought that it would take a better score than that, but I'll take it," he said.
Four players finished tied for fourth place at 148 — Ogden's Curtis Smith, Dixie's Matt McArthur, Tooele's Hayden Farley and Union's Brendon Dennis. Cunningham and Wasatch's Brandon Wagstaff finished at 149.
The low round on Thursday was a 1-under par 71, fired by Fowles' teammate Ryan Nickle. Tooele's Matt Lane and Curtis Smith of Ogden both fired 72.