Golfers Advance To State Finals

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A school record two-day tally of 600 has fueled the Longhorn golf team to the 3A East region championship.

On the first day of the 72-hole state showdown played at Pinetop Country Club, the Rim linksters heated up the course with a 297.

Billy Bob Hoyt, Tyson McKee, Brandan Kelley, Tyler Schrum and Jeff Higgins continued their blistering play on the second day, finishing at 303.

Like their overall tally, Friday's 297 was a PHS record.

First year coach Bret Morse who was named East Coach of the Year at the conclusion of the tournament said the team's outstanding play might be attributed to the good scores turned in by the number four and five players.

"Our first three are pretty consistent," Morse said. "Then, when we get good (scores) from the others, it really helps."

About the only team that gave the Horns much of a tussle in Pinetop was the Snowflake Lobos. With a tally of 630, the team finished a distant runner-up. Blue Ridge (674) was third and Show Low (689) fourth.

The schools advance to the state championship May 7 and 8 in Show Low as the East's four representative.

Individual honors in the tournament were garnered by Hoyt who finished as the region low medalist with a 145. McKee (146) was second overall and Kelley fifth (155).

Higgins and Schrum turned in identical cards of 160. Higgins was awarded sixth and Scrhum seventh on a scorecard playoff.

Because of Hoyt's exceptional play all season, he was named the East Golfer of the Year in a voting of coaches.

The Longhorns' domination of the tournament branded this team the most accomplished in the 20-plus year history of golf at Payson High School.

If the team continues its torrid play next week, Morse predicts the Horns could come away with the school's first golf state championship.

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