High school girls golf: Timpview runs away with repeat 5A title, with Sunbin Seo claiming medalist honors with 4 birdies down the stretch
With a 41-stroke advantage after Day 1 of the 5A state tournament, Timpview’s repeat state title on Tuesday was as inevitable as they come in high school sports.
Knowing that, and wanting to make sure his golfers stayed focused and motivated for their final round, Timpview coach Jeff Ward gave his players a goal to shoot for on Tuesday at Spanish Oaks Golf Course. It was similar to what he’d been doing all year, but considering it was state, he really wanted to make the challenge notable.
Ward’s goal for Timpview on Day 2 was to shoot a team 309, a modest improvement over Monday’s 311. The T-Birds did him one better, shooting a 308 to run away with their second straight state championship. It inevitably would’ve been a three-peat, but last year’s season was canceled because of COVID-19.
“I try to set a team goal each day, and that’s what we worry about. I tell them if we can shoot this we’ll be OK,” said Ward.
Timpview finished with a two-day 619, followed by Olympus in second with a 730 and Bonneville in third with a 732.
Timpview’s Sunbin Seo pulled away from teammate Rachel Lillywhite on the back nine to claim medalist honors by shooting a sensational two-day 7-under, including a 5-under on Tuesday.
Seo birdied four of the final six holes, including a birdie on 18 with all her teammates surrounding the green watching. Lillywhite was behind her in the final group and also birdied to finish second with a two-day 142.
Seo and Lillywhite were the only two golfers to shoot under par in either round during the 5A state tournament, and they did it on both days.
“I’m usually pretty good under pressure so I like the feeling of being in a pressure situation,” said Seo, who said winning the team title was just as special. “I think it’s a blast. I love my team, and I love the team aspect of it, because golf is such an individual sport I’m always so focused on myself but having a team aspect of it.”
Skyline freshman Ashley Lam finished second with a 148, with Timpview freshman Emma Lillywhite finishing fourth with a 153 and Bountiful senior Vanna Einerson rounding out the top five with a 154.
Rachel Lillywhite actually had a one-stroke advantage over Seo after Monday’s opening round, and Seo knew that pulling ahead of her teammate and claiming a state title to go along with her region title wasn’t going to be easy.
She said that having assistant coach Michelle Landers walk with her for the majority of the round helped her stay relaxed and have fun.
Seo said she was hitting her irons pretty close all day, but only could get two birdie putts to drop on the front nine. She rolled in a 10-footer for birdie on 13, and her confidence swelled the rest of the round.
“That one pumped me up to make more, cause I finally made something,” said Seo.
“That was huge for her and it was huge for us too. We need four scores and she shoots her best round of the year which is fantastic.” — Timpview coach Jeff Ward on Sunbin Seo
As excited as coach Ward was to see Seo and the Lillywhite sisters have success near the top of the leaderboard, he said watching junior Kami Howard shoot a season-best 91 was just as exciting.
“That was huge for her and it was huge for us too. We need four scores and she shoots her best round of the year which is fantastic,” said Ward.
After shooting a 110 in her opening round, Howard’s 91 on Tuesday was Timpview’s fourth score that counted toward the 308 team score.
All six golfers for Timpview are underclassmen, which means a year from now it will be the overwhelming favorite again.
Class 5A state tournament
At Spanish Oaks Golf Course
1. Timpview, 619
2. Olympus, 730
3. Bonneville, 732
4. Alta, 748
4. Skyline, 748
6. Park City, 751
7. Bountiful, 763
8. Lehi, 767
9. Farmington, 792
10. Springville, 800
139 — Sunbin Seo, Timpview
142 — Rachel Lillywhite, Timpview
148 — Ashley Lam, Skyline
153 — Emma Lillywhite, Timpview
154 — Vann Einerson, Bountiful
166 — Aubree Johnson, Bonneville
170 — Rachel Moore, Olympus
175 — Patiola Uluave, Lehi
179 — Josie Marshall, Park City; Brooke Anderson, Lehi
181 — Emily Hawksworth, Park City; Parker Nolan, Alta
183 — Thea Maxwell, Olympus
185 — Lori Hwang, Alta; Lilly Wagstaff, Olympus
188 — Maura Hawkes, Farmington; Mikelle Burdett, Bonneville
189 — Gwen Poelman, Skyline
190 — Sami Gibson, Alta; Aubi Eaves, Farmington