With all eyes glued to what is expected to be an epic team battle for the 5A state golf crown, West junior Austin Banz stole the show on day one of the 5A boys' golf championship Monday at River Bend.
Banz strung together a 5-under-par 68 to earn a two-stroke lead over Viemont's Kelton Hirsch and Brighton golfers Andrew Reilly and Jacob Meyers, who all fired 70s.
"I just played really solid all day," Banz said. "It was really cold this morning and there was a lot of wind, but I putted really good today."
With two golfers shooting 70s, Brighton's team score was a solid 290. The Bengals lead Lone Peak by eight strokes and Syracuse by nine.
"We shot right about what we've shot all year," Bengals coach Jim Gresh said.
The defending champs, Alta, didn't fare so well. Tanner Howard fired a 72, while freshman Rhett Rasmussen shot 74, but two scores of 84 and 86 were counted into the Hawks' team score.
Lone Peak was a model of consistency, with everyone on the team shooting between 73 and 77, but Knights coach Tyler Pack knows his players will have to go lower.
"We're going to need a couple of guys to shoot low rounds tomorrow," said Pack, whose team has been fueled all season by a disappointing 2011 finish.
While the Bengals have several golfers within range of medalist honors, Gresh said his players will be thinking team first, and then hopefully getting some rest.
"I don't even think my guys are thinking medalist, but if someone shoots 65 then maybe," he said. "The only real advice I gave them was try to go home and relax."
Beaver on track for 2A three-peat
Beaver played like a two-time defending champion, building a 17-stroke lead on the next-closest competition on a warm, windless Monday at Rose Park.
Dallon Murdock, a second-place finisher last year, led the field with 68. The senior had five birdies and a bogey in the first round, a strong start as he aims for the top individual spot.
"I just hit fairways and greens, that's all it is really," Murdock said. "There were probably only 3 or 4 I didn't hit. I could probably putt a little better though."
Manti was the second-place team after day one with 309 strokes, and Grand County trailed at 315 strokes. In contention for medalist is Grand's Dale Thomas and Rowland Hall's Caleb Chodosh, who were tied at 70. Last year's winner, Nicklaus Britt of Millard, was four strokes behind with par.
Scores were generally low, with the majority of competitors hitting under 90.
Kyle Goon 5A standings (River Bend)
1 • Austin Banz, West, 67
2 • Andrew Reilly Brighton, 70
2 • Jacob Byers, Brighton, 70
2 • Kelton Hirsch, Viewmont, 70
1 • Brighton • 290
2 • Lone Peak, 298
3 • Syracuse, 289
2A standings (Rose Park)
1 • Dallon Murdock, Beaver, 68
2 • Caleb Chodosh, Rowland Hall, 70
2 • Dale Thomas, Grand, 70
1 • Beaver, 292
2 • Manti, 309
3 • Grand, 315