A tradition of excellence that few other Arizona high schools can match could be the calling card for the Longhorn golf team. Since the spring of 1999, when Bret Morse took over as coach, the Horns have won four state runner-up titles, a state championship and several region crowns.
Even more impressive is that in 2003 and 2004, the team was aligned in the 4A ranks, which was then the largest “big school” conference in Arizona. Nonetheless, the Horns overcame the stiff competition in one season to win the Grand Canyon Region title and finish seventh at state.
In the recently concluded season, the Longhorns played their way to second-place showings in both the East Region and the 3A conference.
Those accomplishments were racked up partly because all the PHS golfers scored at least one round in the 70s at the state championships held May 11 and 12 on the par 72 Poston Butte Golf Club near Florence.
In taking second, the Horns ambushed a talented Safford squad the Longhorns had not bested in four earlier tournaments.
Also in the tournament, the Horns pulled out a Silky Sullivan-like late charge to erase a five-stroke lead Safford had built over Payson on the first day.
“We rallied to beat them by 10 strokes on day two,” Morse said.
A key to the rally occurred on the last four holes, where the entire team carded sterling one under par scores.
Morse lauded the squad calling its showing at Poston Butte “a great team effort.”
The leading players at state included Cody Waterman, Tyler Apps, Filip Frojd and Mason Dacanay.
Individually, Waterman led the Longhorn links charge, finishing sixth in the 86-player field.