Staff photo by Eric Lusk
MINGUS senior Stephen Cook carded a 68 during last Friday's Verde Santa Fe Invitational.
Playing his final prep match on Mingus Union’s home golf course, the Marauder senior fired a 68 to share medallist honors in Friday’s Verde Santa Fe Invitational. Cook had never been in the 60s before in an 18-hole high school match.
“That was the best round he’s had in the four years he’s been with me,” said Mingus coach John Uidenich. “It was a good finish. I put him with the Payson and Pinnacle (number one players). He did well under pressure.”
Cook’s stellar round paced Mingus to a fourth-place finish in the annual eight team event.
Corey Lay came in next with an 80 for the Marauders. Cody Harkey shot an 81. Ryan Ontiveros fired an 87, and Lindy Wilburn shot an 89. The top four scores count toward the team total. Mingus finished second in the invitational a year ago.
Harkey had one of his best rounds of the season and nearly got into the 70s. He bogeyed the final two holes but otherwise enjoyed a solid afternoon, Uidenich said.
Lay was in the second flight but played alongside two golfers (one from Pinnacle and one from Payson) who matched Cook’s 68.
Pinnacle won the team title by eight strokes over Payson (279-287). The Pioneers only brought four golfers, but the team scorecard read 68, 70, 70 and 71. Pinnacle’s top two golfers came around after nine holes with scores of 31 and 32.
“(Four) was all they needed to win. They cleaned up,” Uidenich said. “We did that two years ago, where our highest was a 71, and beat a good Lake Havasu team.”
Sinagua finished third at 311, followed by Mingus 316, Agua Fria 330, Page 337, Cortez 341 and Buckeye 359.
Mingus will have some ground to make up to beat Payson and Sinagua for the region championship next week at Chaparral Pines in Payson. Since just four Grand Canyon Region schools field golf teams, only one qualifies for the state tournament based on region results.
Mingus has been the league’s representative the past two years, but the Marauders may just be competing for individual berths this time around. The GCR gets three of those from the non-winning team.
“I’m proud of these kids for hanging in there,” Uidenich said. “Stephen, Corey and Cody should compete (for state spots). We’re determined. It’s going to be a pretty good battle that last week.”