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South Valley Riverton Journal

Riverton golfer takes fifth at state after impressive second day turnaround

Jun 06, 2023 09:11AM ● By Travis Barton

Hunter Gledhill was struggling the first day at state. 

Wind was howling and she was nervous, wanting so badly to play so well that every bad shot felt even worse. But the junior golfer from Riverton High School ended her first round of the 6A state championship on a high. She birdied the final hole of the day and thought, “If I do really good tomorrow, it will balance out.” 

It balanced out. 

Gledhill followed up her first-round 82 with an astounding 3 under 69 on day two, one of only two golfers to have a round under 70 in the tournament, to finish fifth.

“The second day was just awesome,” she said. “Every shot was just going where I wanted and all those putts where I just wanted it up there were going in.”

“It was cool. To go from 82 to 69 was crazy.” 

The junior started on the back nine, the section she said she struggled with both days, and kept her cool. She birdied 16 to help offset bogeys on 10 and 18, setting up her final stretch on the front nine. After birdying the first hole, she would then birdie three of the final four holes (with the other one featuring a 50 foot putt for par) to finish with the second-best score of the day. 

“I was pumped out of my mind,” Gledhill said. “I could not believe it. My goal this year was to be first in region and top 10 at state. First day I was tied for 10th so I wanted to be in the 70s the second day. I did really well, then was told I was in fifth place. 

“It was cool to be up there with all the big hitters that I’ve heard about and they’re always a couple groups in front of me, so it was cool to stay next to them up there with the medals.”

Gledhill was informed of her placing because she didn’t think about her score once during the final round, placing her concentration elsewhere. She wouldn’t even let her coach tell her.  

“I would just take it one shot at a time and just focus on where I needed to put the ball next,” she said. “I didn’t think about my score at all. It really helped me.” 

Head coach Trish Marshall added she forced herself to remain calm as well to not affect her, but knew Gledhill had a round like that in her. 

“It was channeled that day and it was amazing to watch,” Marshall said. 

She had no idea how well she did until her teammates and friends came running at her after the final hole.  

“I felt like a proud mom…went and gave her a big hug, it was cool to see,” said teammate Chayse. 

Gledhill started playing as a toddler when her dad introduced her to the sport, she would carry her little wooden putter and wooden golf balls, putting around the house. At 6 she started playing in tournaments, enjoying it because she kept winning. 

But around 9 she stopped playing competitively and tried other sports including swimming and volleyball (she plays on the high school volleyball team, too). Freshman year, she decided to pick up the putter again and try out for the Silverwolves golf team. 

“And ever since I’ve just loved it again,” she said. “I loved hitting a good shot and just wanted to keep doing it over and over. I just love it.” 

Gledhill won the region title this season, both the region tournament and held the overall best stroke average. She said it was a challenging feat to accomplish because she was always paired with Herriman High’s talented Maycee Dehlin.

“She would win a couple and then I would win a couple and then we’d tie, it was crazy,” said Gledhill, who dreams to play in college. “It was fun because it kept me determined, pushing myself to always beat her.”

While her skills are sound—she highlights her irons as the best part of her game—those around her identified a mental equilibrium as Gledhill’s great asset. 

“She has a great skillset, very good fundamentals, she works hard, but a lot of girls work hard, and I think the thing that sets her apart is she keeps her emotions really in check,” Marshall said. “She’s a very steady, calm player.”

Marshall highlighted Gledhill’s ability to avoid the “emotional spiral” that can happen in golf. Gledhill doesn’t react much to good or bad shots, Marshall said. The most she’ll see is a small fist pump with a little smile or if the junior turns her hat backwards during a bad round. 

“She definitely has an edge there, some of that is inherent but she’s mastered that pretty well,” Marshall said.

For the team, the junior-heavy Silverwolves finished second in region behind Bingham a year after placing second to Herriman. It’s a result that both rankles the girls but also adds an extra fire for next year. 

“We all have a little bit more motivation and determination to actually win it,” said junior Kayci Wells, who finished sixth in region this year. 

“I feel like it’ll be a good year,” Gledhill said of her senior season that could feature seven returning seniors. “If everyone buckles down and really practices this summer, I think we could be really good next year.”

Marshall, who just completed her first season with the team, was quick to recognize the parents and the girls as they prepare for next year. 

“The girls were great, the parents were great, the administration is really supportive,” she said. “I had a lot of luck with a great group of girls and I’m lucky enough to get Hunter and a bunch of these girls back next year and hope we can be even better.” λ