Sun, Jan. 26

Sweet Repeat<br><i>Sedona golf team sets state record</i>

Staff photo by Eric Lusk

JIMMY Bicking, who fired rounds of 78 and 71, finished fourth in the overall standings behind teammates Jake Grodzinsky (first) and Sean Ernes (second).

Just the mention of that course name brought back a flood of bad memories for the Sedona Red Rock coach.

It was at Johnson Ranch four years ago that the Scorpions won a 2A state title, only to have it taken away when it was discovered a player had signed an incorrect score card.

"I honestly said to myself I would never come back here as long as I lived," Mobley remembers. "I was not happy to hear we were going to play here."

By Wednesday night, however, Mobley was singing a much different tune. Led by three seniors who had been part of that 2000 heartbreak, Sedona captured the 3A state golf championship with two amazing rounds on the Johnson Ranch desert layout.

The Scorpions set a new 3A record in the process, coming in after 36 holes with a 592 team tally – six strokes better than the previous best set by Cactus Shadows in 1999 at Dove Valley.

Jake Grodzinsky won the individual state title, the second of his career, with rounds of 72 and 67. His closest competitor was teammate Sean Ernes, who carded rounds of 75 and 70. Red Rock's Jimmy Bicking finished fourth in the standings with scores of 78-71.

Payson was Sedona’s nearest competitor in the race for the team title, finishing at 618 – an astounding 26 strokes back.

"We thought this was going to be a special year," Mobley said shortly after getting the customary championship ice-water bath. "You can’t figure on breaking the state record by 6 strokes – that’s just above everything we thought. We mostly wanted to repeat, we desperately wanted that, and the kids played beautifully."

Grodzinsky – who remembers well that sinking feeling of sitting outside the Johnson Ranch clubhouse and hearing his team get disqualified – led the way in the beautiful play department.

The future Duke University player overcame early jitters to win his fifth-straight tournament of the season.

To watch his expressions after drives and putts during his final round Wednesday was to think he was having an off day. But the scorecard read differently. He finished five-under-par for the day.

"Yesterday (Tuesday) I was really nervous, I don’t why," Grodzinsky said after the trophy presentations. "Today I was really calm. I started getting nervous again around 14, 15, but it was weird because the last two, three holes I was just super calm.

"I just figured I was strong, I could do it."

Grodzinsky, in the last group, enjoyed a roar of applause from teammates and fans after putting out on 18. He didn’t realize until well after the scores had been posted that Sedona had edited the state record, and by so much.

"That was our goal from the beginning of the season," Grodzinsky said. "We’ve always had this great team. We had never really played to our potential I think, especially at state.

"Freshman year we had the whole disqualification thing. Sophomore year we all played bad. Last year, we played well (as a team), but I didn’t play well."

This week, though, everything fell into place. Even the number four and five starters had great rounds on Wednesday, following a season trend of sensational second days in tournaments.

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