It all came down to the final hole.
A teenager from Providence made par, which proved to be the difference Tuesday evening in the Ladies’ Club Championship at the Logan River Golf Course. Alyssa Buist started the second and final round in third place, down five strokes to first-round leader and one-time champion Kelsi Kartchner.
But the determined 17-year-old daughter of Brent and Jeni Buist didn’t seem to mind. By the time the leaders had reached No. 18, Buist trailed five-time and defending champion Kaycee Hunt by a single stroke.
“I knew it had come down to the last hole,” Buist said. “I usually hit driver, but my driver wasn’t going well.”
So, Buist hit 6-iron off the tee and again on her second shot. On her approach, she used a 7-iron to get out of a bad spot to reach the green. The senior-to-be at Ridgeline High School two-putted for par and an 8-over-par 79.
Meanwhile, Hunt got in a little trouble and recorded a double bogey on the par-5 18th.
“I got myself into trouble too much today,” Hunt said. “But Alyssa was super good, phenomenal. She played some good golf and deserved to win.”
Hunt, who had won the Logan River title the past three years, didn’t make any excuses, but had played 18 holes in the morning as she won the Logan Golf & Country Club Ladies Championship before heading across town to play the second round at Logan River.
Buist knows how hard playing 36 holes in a day can be. She had played in a tournament last week on the same day of the first round at Logan River and carded an 82.
“I was a little tired playing in the first round,” Buist said. “... Today, I woke up early, came and hit a bucket of balls and rested (before the final round).”
Buist said playing with Hunt was a bit intimidating. She didn’t know any of the ladies in the group, but knew Hunt was a good player.
“She (Hunt) is a very good player,” Buist said.
Starting the day, Kartchner had a one-stroke lead over Hunt. Buist kept an eye on both of them, but as Kartchner started to struggle, it was evident the championship was a two-lady race down the stretch.
Buist began her round with three pars. Four bogeys by the turn had her 4-over-par through nine holes. Buist has shot in the low 70’s during practice rounds at Logan River, so she was confident that she could play well.
“I had it in my head what Kaycee was shooting, so I was trying to beat it or tie it,” Buist said. “I like having that competition in my head. It helps me.”
With the River being a shorter course, Buist stuck with her trusty irons. It paid off on Tuesday.
Buist missed out on most of her junior season of high school golf when COVID-19 brought high school spring sports to a halt. However, she was able to play in a state tournament in early June that was put on by the Utah Golf Association. Buist finished fifth among 4A golfers.
As a sophomore in 2019, she was a big part of the Riverhawks winning state as a team as she placed 15th overall.
“I ended up doing a lot of tournaments for the junior PGA and UGA, so that has helped me,” Buist said.
Buist ranked this win the best or at least right up there with finishing fifth at state in June in her young career. She has been working on her golf game nearly every day and is trying to earn a scholarship to play in college.
Buist’s two-round total of 161 edged Hunt’s 162. Kartchner was third at 169. Taylor Kettell had the best round on Tuesday with a 77 to pull into fourth at 170.