They were hoping for a golfing state championship, but the Morgan Trojans ultimately had to settle for second place in last week’s state tournament at Cove View Golf Course in Richfield. It was Morgan’s best finish at state since it won the 2A title in 1994.
Five Morgan golfers finished in the top 15, led by senior Holden Welsh, who scored a two-day total of 155, good enough for sixth place overall. Welsh’s even-par 72 on Day 2 tied for the second lowest round of the tournament. While his first round total of 83 doesn’t sound all that wonderful, it was a very good score considering the weather.
“(The first day) was way hard,” Welsh said. “It was pretty dang windy.”
Nathan Preslar tied for eighth place with 156, while Matthew Millburn finished in 11th with 157. Drake Fawson was two strokes behind at 159 – 13th place overall – and Holden’s twin brother Colton Welsh tied for 14th at 162. Freshman Eric Watts struggled a bit in his first-ever tournament experience, finishing the two rounds with a score of 177.
As a team, the Trojans finished the tournament just four strokes behind state champion Grand County, which won its third consecutive state title – the previous two at the 2A classification. Carbon finished in third, 10 shots behind Morgan. Morgan’s second day total of 300 (only the top four scores count in the team total) was one of the best scores the Trojans have ever had at the state tournament.
“To get 300 at state, that’s just a huge score,” MHS coach Dennis Peterson said. “You’ll win a lot of championships shooting 300.”
While a state title was clearly the goal, Welsh said that he and his teammates were pleased with the outcome.
“For sure we thought we were going to have it,” he said. “But we’re happy with the way we played. We did really good in region this year. Overall this season we did pretty good.”
Before the season began, Peterson felt like his team had the ability to win a championship. And though they fell just short, he had nothing but praise for his players.
“I said we would be disappointed if we didn’t win,” Peterson said. “And we are disappointed. But I’m certainly not disappointed in the effort we made there. And I’m definitely not disappointed in any of my players because they performed as well as I could expect them to.
“In my opinion, I think we lost it the first day,” Peterson added. “I don’t think we handled the wind as well as some of the other teams did. But you know, that’s just the way golf is.”
A second-place finish is a great way for Colton and Holden Welsh to finish their high school careers. Peterson will miss what they brought to the team.
“The twins are going to be irreplaceable.” he said. “More for their leadership and the class they bring to this program. I’ll never be able to replace that and would hate to even try. They’ve been great leaders and I couldn’t ask for any more out of them than what I got. Score-wise they were right there with the rest of them. They helped us all throughout the year. For Holden to have his personal best that last day was so gratifying for me to watch him do that. That was good stuff.”
Although the Welsh brothers are moving on, the Trojans are loaded with talent and have high hopes for next year. Millburn and Preslar – both juniors – were the Trojans’ top two golfers most of the season and expect to be there again next year. The two were particularly frustrated with their scores at state, but Peterson doesn’t see that happening again.
“I had to smile on Friday, the day after we got home from state,” Peterson said, “that three of my juniors, Matthew Millburn, Nathan Preslar and Drake Fawson, were up here (at the golf course) practicing. They’re not going to let another one get away from them.”