High school girls golf: Timpview’s Sunbin Seo repeats as 5A medalist

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There’s something about the thrill of the chase that gets Timpview’s Sunbin Seo fired up on the golf course.

A year after overturning a deficit on the final nine holes to win 5A medalist honors, the BYU commit did it again on Tuesday at River Oaks Golf Course in Sandy to repeat as 5A individual champion.

“The thrill I get of catching up is really fun for me,” said Seo.

Trailing Lehi’s Pati Uluave by three strokes with just seven holes remaining at the 5A state championship, Seo went birdie, eagle, birdie over the next three holes to grab a one-stroke lead. She then parred the final three holes to clinch the win with a 3-under two-day total of 137.

Despite parring the final four holes, Seo stayed agressive and narrowly missed out on several more birdies by a couple inches. That included rolling an 8-foot birdie putt just past the hole on No. 18 after a perfect par-3 tee shot from 140 yards.

“I wasn’t even thinking of two putting, my mentality was I’m making this, and that’s how I played the entire back nine,” said Seo.

Seo’s great outing was the catalyst to another dominant day on the course for Timpview’s girls golf team which won easily with a two-day 619. Alta finished second with a 698, followed by Olympus in third with a 724.

Timpview sisters Emma and Rachel Lillywhite finished tied for third at 150, while Timpview’s fourth golfer, Keilani Hanamaikai, finished in 20th with a 182.

“We showed up yesterday and played really well across the board and I was really proud of my girls the way they came out and posted a good score yesterday. It made today a lot of fun to watch my girls go out and play,” said Timpview coach Jeff Ward.

Lehi’s Uluave prevented a Timpview sweep on top of the leaderboard as she finished second with a 2-under 138. Uluave had a 3-shot lead heading into the final round after a scintillating 64 on Monday. Despite playing from an unusual position in front, she was pleased with a 74 on Tuesday, the third-lowest score of the day.

“It was my first time being in the lead. It was a good experience and I just played the best I could,” said Uluave, who had one birdie on Tuesday after an outstanding eight-birdie day on Monday.

It had the potential to be a 5-shot lead after Day 1, but Seo birdied No. 17 and 18 to close to within three strokes heading into the final 18.

Because of the way the pairings were set up, Uluave teed off seven groups ahead of Seo. It ultimately helped Seo know exactly what she needed when Ulave finished her round.

As Seo approached the par-3 twelfth hole, her brother informed her that Ulave was in the clubhouse at 2-under.

“Three down is big but at the same I thought I can do this,” she said.

Up until that point, however, she hadn’t been doing it with a 4-over on the front nine which included a double bogey on the fourth.

Despite those early struggles, Seo believed she just needed to roll in one putt to get her going for a back nine push. Ironically, it was her wedge that helped get her going. She chipped in for birdie on No. 12 just off the left of the green and then chipped in for eagle behind the hole on the thirteenth. She then rolled in another birdie on the fourteenth, and just like that the 3-shot deficit was a 1-shot lead.

Seo said she missed a lot of greens yesterday and as a result had a pretty good feel with her wedge around the green on Tuesday.

“This was my goal to win again and I’m glad I was able to achieve it. It’s such a fun event, too, so I was just enjoying my time,” said Seo.

A year ago at Spanish Oaks Golf Course, Seo birdied four of her final six holes to rally past teammate Rachel Lillywhite for the individual win. That mental toughness down the stretch should pay off during the next chapter of her golfing career at BYU.


Class 5A state tournament

At River Oaks golf course

Team scores

1. Timpview, 619.

2. Alta, 698.

3. Olympus, 724.

4. Skyline, 732.

5. Lehi, 776.

6. Park City, 787.

7. Wasatch, 793.

8. Bountiful, 800.

9. Jordan, 809.

10. Stansbury, 817.

Individual results

  • 137 — Sunbin Seo, Timpview.
  • 138 — Pati Uluave, Lehi.
  • 150 — Emma Lillywhite, Timpview.
  • 150 — Rachel Lillywhite, Timpview.
  • 152 — Ashley Lam, Skyline.
  • 160 — Katelin Bingham, Spanish Fork.
  • 165 — Brooke Anderson, Lehi.
  • 169 — Dani Gibson, Alta.
  • 171 — Salina Lui, Alta.
  • 172 — Rachel Moore, Olympus.
  • 174 — Adri Summerhays, Viewmont.
  • 174 — Ellie Olsen, Wasatch.
  • 175 — McKenzie White, Uintah.
  • 175 — Mura O’Farrell, Jordan.
  • 178 — Campbell Kato, Olympus.
  • 178 — Sami Gibson, Alta.
  • 179 — Isabel Wade, Northridge.
  • 179 — Kaylie Mumford, Jordan.
  • 180 — Lisa Hwang, Alta.
  • 182 — Keilani Hanamaikai, Timpview.

Frederic M. Kolodziej

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