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Lone Peak, Timpview, Rasmussen, Howe Win 5A, 4A Prep Titles

By Brady Bingham

Confidence empowered both Connor Howe, from Weber High School, and Rhett Rasmussen, from Corner Canyon, to individual titles. But overall teamwork led Lone Peak and Timpview to team championships at the 4A and 5A Boys Golf State Championships.

Howe, who posted a tournament leading 10-under 62 Monday returned with a solid 4-under 68 Tuesday on Soldier Hollow’s Gold Course to earn the 5A individual title. 

Howe, just a 15-year-old sophomore, held off a furious charge from Cole Ponich, a freshman playing for Davis High, by one stroke. Ponich shot a 9-under 63 that included nine birdies and no bogeys on Tuesday.

But Howe’s two-round total of 130 was enough for the one-shot victory. 

“I’m pumped,” Howe said confidently. “I expected to play well this week, but I don’t know that I thought I would do well enough to win by one shot.”

Howe, who birdied the first hole, said he played a solid front nine — a 4-under 31 — to give him a chance to win. 

“On the back I was steady-eddy with nine straight pars. So I was proud of my round today,” Howe said. 

“This feels great to win. To know that all that hard work paid off. It’s great,” said Howe, who gave credit to working with teacher Boyd Summerhays the last two years for his improvement. “I wouldn’t be here without Boyd. This is what I wanted. This is what you hope for when you work hard.”

Ponich said he received a quick putting tip from a friend’s father before his remarkable round.

“That was really the kicker. I hit probably four times as many putts (Monday) than I did today,” said Ponich, who finished at 131 for the two-day tourney.

Andrew Davis of American Fork took third place in 5A at 137, with Carson Lundell, of Lone Peak and Bridger Norris, of Weber, tied for fourth at 139. Lone Peak’s Jake Livingston, Lone Peak’s Elijah Turner and Brighton’s David Timmins tied for sixth at 140, Fremont’s Dylan Chugg finished ninth at 142, and Viewmont’s Drew Smith, at 143, rounded out the top 10.

Lone Peak took the 5A team title, out-pacing Weber by four strokes. 

“This was an amazing victory for our team,” Lone Peak assistant coach Shawn Brenchley said. “This was a lot more than the scores on the card. Our team really worked hard at accomplishing our core principles — including honesty, hard work and friendship. So this was special.” 

Lone Peak posted a two-round team total of 562 — including a second-round 284 on the Soldier Hollow Gold Course Tuesday.

Weber finished second at 566, while Davis High was third at 572.

In the 4A championship, Rasmussen recovered from what he said was a disappointing first round of 4-under 68, to shoot a sizzling 7-under 65 on the Soldier Hollow Silver Course. He finished at 133 to collect the trophy in his senior year.

The BYU recruit said, “It was like night and day out there. I made some putts today, that was the biggest difference.

“I am very happy with what I did today,” said Rasmussen, who finished three strokes clear of Timpview’s Josh Lillywhite.

Lillywhite posted consecutive rounds of 4-under 68 to finish at 138. East High’s Hayden Banz finished third at 138; Skyline’s Blake Tomlinson was fourth at 139; East’s Jeff Black was fifth at 141; Timpview’s John Lillywhite, Orem’s Brock Stanger and Corner Canyon’s Dylan Bloechel tied for sixth at 144. Bonneville’s Carsen Dopp, Olympus’ Zack Neff and Maple Mountain’s Mark Mortensen rounded out the top 10 at 144.

Paced by the Lillywhite brothers — Josh, John and Spencer — Timpview raced to a six-shot victory over East for the 4A team title.

“I am pretty ecstatic. I am very happy for my boys,” said Timpview coach Jeff Ward, fighting back tears of emotion. “It never hurts having three brothers like the Lillywhites. But my fourth scorer, Evan Moody, came up really big two days in a row.” 

Woods Cross finished third in the team race at 587, one shot better than Orem’s 588.