Only weeks after helping the Payson High School win its first state golf championship, Billy Bob Hoyt turned his attention to the Junior Golf Association of Arizona tournament circuit.
The Rim country linkster was scheduled to compete May 29 and 30 in the 15- to 18-year-old regular division of the Phoenix Metro Junior Championships.
But when he arrived at Falcon Dunes Golf Course, JGAA officials asked if he would move up to the 15- to 18-year-old championship division.
"That seemed to be a great idea for Billy Bob," his father and coach, Bob Hoyt, said. "He would play from the championship tees at every event against the best in the state."
On the first day of the tournament, Hoyt carded a 76, which placed him about in the middle of the 51-player field. On the second day, Hoyt rebounded to finish with a 71. His two-day total of 147 was good enough for a tie for 7th place.
"We were hoping for a top 10 finish and were able to meet that goal," Bob Hoyt said.
The tournament champion, Mark Baker of Scottsdale, tallied a 139 (70 and 69).
Part of the difficulty of moving up the championship division for Hoyt was the length of the Falcon Dunes course.
"The course played at 6611 yards, which is very long," his father said.
"There's a 230-yard par 3 (hole) and two par 5s that are close to 600 yards."
In addition to having to adjust to a longer course, Hoyt struggled to sink his putts.
"Billy had 13 birdie putts on day one, but could only drop one," Bob Hoyt said.
There were, however, several bright spots in his play.
"The highlight was his two under par score on the last nine holes the second day," Bob Hoyt said.
Also representing Payson in the tournament were Brandan Kelley and Tyler Shrum.
Competing in the 15- to 18-year-old regular division, Kelley finished with a two-day tally of 152 (79 and 73). Also in the Regular division, Shrum carded a 165 (84 and 81).