If the results of early season matches are any indication, the Longhorn golf team is the class act of the East region.
In a trio of tournaments, only Chandler Seton a 3A West Division member has been able to out-duel the potent Longhorn links squad.
A pair of other links battles, involving most all of the East region teams, have turned into showcases for coach Bret Morse's charges.
In a 9-hole clash March 21 at Chaparral Pines, the Horns, who finished at 159, ran roughshod over Snowflake (169), Pinnacle (176), Show Low (184), Blue Ridge (191) and Winslow (193).
At the Horns' season opener, an 18-hole match March 14 at Silver Creek near Show Low, the Horns outdistanced both Snowflake and Show Low. Payson finished at 317, Snowflake carded a 323 and Show Low turned in a 370.
Of the 45 golfers participating in the event, freshman Billy Bob Hoyt finished as the gold medalist, carding a 72 on the par-71 course.
Also for Payson, freshman Brandan Kelley (79), Tyson McKee (82), Tyler Shrum (84) and Jeff Higgins (88) turned in quality efforts, Morse said.
In the Horns East region tournament win Wednesday, Hoyt again led the Rim country attack with a 35.
Others who contributed to the PHS victory included Shrum (39), McKee (41), Kelley (44) and Higgins (46).
The only match the Horns have had to languish in second place was March 19 at Western Skies in Gilbert.
In the 9-hole match on the par 35 course, Seton (143) which calls Western Skies its home course was first, Payson (149) second and Phoenix Christian (151) third. With a bulging tally of 180, Coolidge trailed in the distance.
Individually, Hoyt shared gold-medal honors with a Seton golfer. Both tallied identical scores of 35.
Also in the Payson mix were Kelley (36), McKee (38), Shrum (40) and Higgins (40).
The Longhorns return to East region action March 29 and 30 at the Show Low Invitational. The first round of the 36-hole tournament will be played at Torreon course. The second round will move to Silver Creek.
Because East region members Alchesay and Round Valley do not field golf teams and Winslow plays in the North where there are only a few links squads, Winslow is petitioning to participate in the East this season.