Troy Marrs' late charge has propelled the Longhorn golf team to victories over Fountain Hills and Snowflake.
In the three-way match March 31 at Chaparral Pines, Payson's winning tally of 164 outdistanced those of the Eagles (172) and the Lobos (198).
The real drama of the match began to unfold as the tournament field exited the course. When first-arriving players tallied their scorecards, it appeared the Longhorns would have to settle for second place at best. Payson's three, four and five finishers turned in cards of 47, 53 and 53. Team leaders Billy Bob Hoyt and Brandan Kelly's match-leading scores were not enough to carry the Longhorns to a win.
"It looked as if Fountain Hills was going to beat us until Troy came in the last group with a 42," coach Bret Morse said. "That allowed us to drop a (score of) 53.
The three-way match was contested in "play six and keep four" format.
The four scores the Longhorns were able to post were those of Hoyt (37), Kelley (38), Marrs (42) and Kyle Kent (47). A pair of 53s from Brad Meyocks and Tyler Danielson were dropped.
Following the match, Morse praised Hoyt and Kelley for their all-around play.
"They played solid rounds of two-over-par and three-over-par with few mistakes," he said. "Both have been very consistent this year."
If the team is to make a run at the state tournament in early May, the coach says some of the players must improve their individual scores.
"We need to have more consistency top to bottom if we hope to contend," he said.
The Longhorns return to action at 3:30 p.m. April 9 in a nine-hole match at Fountain Hills. April 11 and 12, the team travels to Silver Creek and Snowflake for the 18-hole White Mountain Invitational.