MIDWAY — When you have last year's runner-up to the state medalist playing in the No. 4 spot, have three players finish in the top 10 and also have a No. 5 player who is shooting under par, you've got one powerful high school golf team.
In the words of Fremont coach Bryce Ballif, it's the best bunch the school has ever had. From the mouths of other coaches who watched the Silverwolves roll over the field on Monday and Tuesday at the 5A Utah High School Golf Championship at Soldier Hollow State Park Golf Course, Ballif's 2007 squad is a dominant team and among the best ever in Utah preps.
"From year to year I keep think-
ing it can't get any better than this, but I think this is the best team we've ever had at Fremont," Ballif said after the Silverwolves won their second state championship in the past three years.
Led by Patrick Fishburn (71-71), Jordan Herzog (70-74), Zac Blair (77-70), Denny Job (79-73), Ryan Sarlo (79-71) and Cody Wass (85-78), the Silverwolves finished 23 shots ahead of Syracuse, 25 strokes up on Brighton and 45 in front of Lone Peak, Spanish Fork, Bingham and Skyline. And with the Silverwolves losing only two players from this year's team, seniors Job and Herzog, this year's state title could be just another of many to come.
The Titans, with their runner-up finish, earned the first state tournament trophy in the school's young history. On Tuesday, Syracuse got a 69 from Devon Purser, a 74 from Tre Jordan, a 75 from Jonathan Thomas and a 76 from Cole Ogden.
While the team competition was a yawner, there was plenty of suspense in the medalist race. Herzog, following Monday's 70, entered the final round with a one-shot lead over Fishburn and a four-shot margin over Brighton's Nick Drost. But after seven holes on Tuesday, the Bengals senior had caught Herzog with three quick birdies. Over the final 11 holes the margin between Herzog, Fishburn and Drost was never more than one. In the end, with what looked like a routine par on the final hole, Drost emerged with a one-shot come-from-behind victory by firing a final-round 5-under par 67.
"I think the good start kept me in it," Drost said. "It got me a positive attitude, and once you are tied it's a lot easier than chasing from behind."
Fishburn, playing in the second-to-last group, actually posted the score to beat when he tapped in for par on No. 18 for his second straight 1-under 71. That meant Herzog and Drost, out in the final fairway and tied at 3-under par for the tournament, had to at least make par to stay in front. On the three-shot par 5, Herzog hit his approach shot short and right of the pin a few feet off the green. Drost's wedge landed on the green but spun off, leaving him a 25-foot birdie putt from the fringe.
Herzog's chip from about 30 feet skidded about six feet past the cup, leaving him a treacherous downhill slider for par. Playing next, Drost's straight uphill putt came up about four feet short. When Herzog's par putt, which broke more than a foot to the right, rolled below the cup, Drost won the title when he popped in his four-footer for par.
"It's kind of a big monkey off my back to get something big like this. It feels good, and I can look back on this forever," Drost said.
Herzog thought he had tied Fishburn for second, but as he was walking off the final green he realized that he had moved his ballmark, which was in Drost's line, and had forgot to move it back. By assessing himself a two-shot penalty, he dropped to third. Rounding out the top 10 were Purser in fourth, Lone Peak's Garrett Fotu and Skyline's Jordan Rodgers tying for fifth, and Jeff Holmes (Timpanogos), Adam Anderson (Bingham), Garrett Moss (Spanish Fork) and Blair tying for seventh.