Payson's 159-173 victory over Desert Christian Saturday in Tucson leaves little doubt golf competition in the 3A conference is a tad better than the smaller 2A.
Payson entered the match as the 3A defending state champion with a solid chance at a repeat.
Highly-regarded Desert Christian, the 2A state runner-up last season, is projected to be among the best in that conference.
What was even more impressive about the victory is that the Horns chalked it up on Desert Christian's home course the 49er Golf and Country Club.
For the Longhorn team, Kyle Kent's round was the individual highlight of the dual match. On a course he had never played before, Kent carded a two-over-par 38.
"Kyle put together a very solid round," coach Bret Morse said.
In the "keep four out of five scores" match format, the Horns also received solid play from Billy Bob Hoyt (39), Jeff Higgins (40), Brandan Kelley (42) and John McDermott (42).
Following the showdown, Kelley who had been the low medalist days earlier at a three-way meet at Sun Ridge Canyon declared the Horn effort only acceptable.
"We didn't play really well, just good enough to win," he said.
The match was originally scheduled to be an 18-hole affair, but was called at the end of nine.
"It didn't begin until 2 p.m. and not all the groups finished," Morse said.
The Longhorns returned to action yesterday (Thursday) against Sedona at the Verde Santa Fe course. (Results not available at press time).
At the onset of the season, Morse pegged Sedona as one of the top three Class 3A teams in the state.
At the Sun Ridge Canyon match, Payson edged past Sedona by just two strokes.
Tomorrow (Saturday), the Horns travel to the Mount Graham Golf Course near Safford for an invitational to be hosted by Thatcher High School.