Payson High School golf standout Brandan Kelley took a brief break from the prep circuit to test his skills in the Desert Junior Golf Tour.
Competing April 5 and 6 at Johnson Ranch Golf Club in Queen Creek, Kelley played his way to second place in the boys 15-19 years-of-age division. With a card of 157, Kelley tied with Michael Williams of Phoenix for the runner-up slot.
Casa Grande's Zachary Aulick won the tournament with a total of 153 (75 and 78).
Kelley finished 79 on the first day and 78 on the second. On the 6,700 yard course, 72 is par.
"I was consistent, not anything great, but consistent," he said.
The teen, who as a freshman helped lead the Longhorns to the state championship, entered the junior tournament to improve his overall game.
"I was invited and thought it was a good chance for some extra practice," he said.
The tournament also gave the youngster the opportunity to preview the course where the Class 3A state tournament will be contested.
The season-ending showdown begins with 18 holes of play May 8 at Johnson Ranch. The tournament continues with 36 additional holes May 13 and 14, also at Johnson Ranch.
Many of the young golfers entered in the Ranch Classic were players Kelley knows from his summer participation in the Junior Golf Association of Arizona tour.
While his main focus this spring is on helping the Payson High School team earn postseason honors, he is considering participating in the next Desert Junior competition, April 26-27 at Bear Creek Golf Club in Chandler.
After the high school campaign wraps up at the state tournament, Kelley plans on returning to JGAA summer competition.