TAYLORSVILLE — Luke Schone’s spot alone a top the 4A state tournament leaderboard after Day 1 is a position three years in the making.
“The past couple years I’ve kind of taken myself out of it after the first day, so I knew if I just played smart the first day and just gave myself a chance going into tomorrow that I’d be in a good spot,” said Schone.
The Crimson Cliffs senior shot a 5-under 67 to seize a one-shot lead over freshman teammate Boston Bracken and Stansbury junior Braydon Griffith, who both shot 68s.
During his freshman and sophomore year at Pine View and then junior year at Crimson Cliffs, Schone has never finished lower than fifth at the state tournament. Then again, he’s never really contended either.
His success has typically been the result of great seconds days. As a freshman, he shot 80 then 70 to tie for fourth. As a sophomore he shot 76 and 68 to finish tied for third, one shot behind the leaders.
Last year he was steady throughout with a pair of 72s, but never really threatened the leaders despite being one of the top contenders going in.
After finishing fifth during the Region 9 regular season this season, expectations were a bit lower heading into state at Meadow Brook Golf Course. His 67 on the opening day changes everything.
“I just gave myself chances today, and made a couple 6-footers coming in,” said Schone, who made seven birdies and two bogeys.
Led by Schone, Crimson Cliffs is well on its way to another runaway 4A state title.
Last year it won by 25 strokes, and after Wednesday’s 279 team score it owns a 24-stroke lead over second-place Desert Hills, which shot a 303. Green Canyon sits in third with a 304.
In addition to Schone’s 67 and Bracken’s 68, Crimson Cliffs counted a 71 by Zach Felts and a 73 by Cruz Kirchhausen.
Bracken was the tournament favorite coming in after posting a 67.9 average during region play, and he’s in a great spot to try and claim medalist honors as a freshman after making six birdies and an eagle on Wednesday.
He was even at the turn, but shot a 32 on the back aided by an eagle on No. 14 and he nearly eagled No. 18 as well after a great approach put him within 20 feet.
Stansbury’s Griffith is one shot back as well after a great opening day.
“I was hitting really good, I was hitting it within 10 feet a lot, giving myself a bunch of birdie chances. I left a couple out there, missed a couple short putts,” said Griffth.
He bogeyed No. 16 after hitting his tee shot into the weeds, but made a solid birdie at 18 and sits in second place.
Hurricane’s Michael Stirland sits in fourth place all alone after a 69, while four other golfers tied with 71s.
4A State Tournament
At Meadow Brook Golf Course
1. Crimson Cliffs, 279; 2. Desert Hills, 303; 3. Green Canyon, 304; 4. Cedar Valley, 307; 5. Ridgeline, 310; 6. Hurricane, 313; 7 (tie). Bear River, Pine View, 313.
67 — Luke Schone, Crimson Cliffs
68 — Braydon Griffith, Stansbury; Boston Bracken, Crimson Cliffs
69 — Michael Stirland, Hurricane
71 — Boston Dixon, Desert Hills; Jax McMurdie, Dixie; Zach Felts, Crimson Cliffs; Tristan McKinney, Cedar Valley
72 — AJ Whitesides, Desert Hills
73 — Braden Alder, Sky View; Cruz Kirchhausen, Crimson Cliffs; Oliver Adams, Green Canyon; Landon Dunn, Cedar Valley; Beckham Johansen, Ridgeline
74 — Brock Roundy, Pine View