There’s something about the back nine of a tight state golf tournament that brings out the best in the Skyline Eagles.

For the second straight season on the last day of the 5A state tournament, Skyline outdueled an opponent in the closing holes to pull away and claim the state title.

Tuesday’s triumph secured the school its fifth straight state championship.

A year ago Skyline and Spanish Fork were tied heading into the final nine holes, with Skyline pulling away and prevailing by four strokes.

On Tuesday at Oquirrh Hills Golf Course in Tooele, Olympus enjoyed the better front nine and turned a four-stroke deficit after Day 1 into a one-stroke advantage heading into the last nine.

From there it was all Skyline.

After struggling on the front nine with a 151, Skyline’s quartet of golfers flipped the script on the back nine with a collective 138 (6-under) as it pulled away with a two-day 574, the only team to finish in the red at 2-under.

“I knew we’d be fine once we got to the back nine. We like this nine better than the front nine. That nine’s hard. It was built in the 30s and it’s odd and strange and plays different,” said Skyline coach Kenny James.

“I think our guys know how to handle pressure a bit.”

While Skyline’s golfers excelled under pressure, it caused Olympus some troubles, as it shot a collective 8-over on the back nine to finish second with a team score of 587.

Box Elder ended up in third with a 596.

Leading the way for Skyline was sophomore medalist Jackson Shelley, who was the only golfer to shoot in the 60s both days, as he finished with a 9-under 135 to claim the individual championship.

It was another steady approach for Shelley, who shot a 67 on Monday and a 68 on Tuesday.

“Pretty much the same. I just tried to hit as many fairways as I could and make as many birdies as I could,” said Shelley.

While Shelley was pretty steady on both nines Monday — shooting 34 on the front and back — senior teammate Peter Kim and then junior teammates Daniel Chandler and Landon Robirds made huge improvements on the back nine.

Kim (36-32), Chandler (39-35) and Robirds (42-37) combined to shave 13 strokes off their front nine score, and that was the difference in the Eagles claiming a fifth straight team title.

“Didn’t play great on the front, but got it back. Knew it was tight between us and Olympus so really locked in and played well on the back,” said Kim, who’s a BYU commit.

”I talked to my coach at the turn and we were one shot up and I knew I had to lock in so we could take the team title.”

Kim shot a 68 on Tuesday to finish tied for second with Spanish Fork’s Jackson Rhees at 6-under, 138.

Rhees won last year’s state title, and that taste of success seemed to help him on Tuesday as he shot straight up the leaderboard, finishing with a 65.

It started with an eagle on the Par 5 first hole. He was playing about six holes ahead of Shelley on the course, and when he birdied No. 10 and 11, he cut the deficit to just one stroke.

He only birdied one of the last seven holes.

Shelley wasn’t aware of what was going on ahead of him on the course, and he calmly just went about his business with three birdies on the back nine to pull away.

For Skyline coach James, he was thrilled with the collective mindset of his team after finishing as Region 6 runner-up to Olympus.

“We’ve got great kids and we kind of had a turning point in the middle of the year and we’ve played great since,” said James.

“That’s what I told them when we tied for fifth at the region tournament — every team has its own story, let’s try and make our own story pretty special.”

Skyline did just that with a dream back nine on Tuesday, and with just one senior competing at state it will be back to make it six straight in 2023.

5A state tournament

At Oquirrh Hills Golf Course

Final team scores

1. Skyline, 574

2. Olympus, 587

3. Box Elder, 596

4. Spanish Fork, 597

5. East, 598

6. Park City, 603

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7. Orem, 609

8. Woods Cross, 616

8. Bonneville, 616

Final individual results

  • 135 — Jackson Shelley, Skyline
  • 138 — Jackson Rhees, Spanish Fork
  • 138 — Peter Kim, Skyline
  • 141 — Parker Bunn, Bonneville
  • 141 — Mitt Harris, Olympus
  • 142 — Edyn Tueller, Box Elder
  • 143 — Jon Howe, Woods Cross
  • 143 — Sean Lampropoulos, East
  • 143 — Lance Smith, Olympus
  • 145 — Cooper Nelson, Salem Hills
  • 145 — Dyson Lish, Box Elder
  • 146 — Noah Moody, Timpanogos
  • 147 — Carter Papke, Timpanogos
  • 147 — Preston Cheney, Jordan
  • 148 — Rawson Hardy, Park City
  • 148 — Nason Jones, Highland
  • 148 — Daniel Chandler, Skyline
  • 149 — Chase Shepherd, East
  • 150 — Aiden Taylor, Park City
  • 150 — Stockton Penman, Bountiful
  • 150 — Maddox Nielsen, Orem
  • 150 — Will Pedersen, Olympus
  • 150 — Austin Westfall, Orem
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