It wasn’t a rip roaring start that the 2009 prep golf season swung off to March 5 in Snowflake.
Although attempts were made to play the links opener, it was eventually stopped due to high winds that made tee shots and other attempts virtually impossible.
Conditions didn’t improve much March 10 for 9-hole stroke play at the Rim Golf Club or the following day at Silver Creek near Show Low.
For the Silvercreek three-way tournament, the weather was “cold and overcast with 10-15 mph winds and occasional sprinkles,” veteran PHS coach Bret Morse said. Despite the adverse conditions, the Longhorns emerged victorious, finishing at 185. Trailing were Winslow (189) and host Show Low (193).
Individually, Winslow’s Kalup Bahe took low medalist honors with a 40. PHS freshman Tyler Apps posted a 41 to lead the Horn charge.
A day earlier at the Rim Golf Club, where winds blew 5 to 10 mph, defending state champion Kyle Jones carded a 35 to pace Snowflake to victory. The Lobos burned up the course, finishing at 155. With a 182, Payson was second. Trailing were Blue Ridge (198) and Show Low (241). Cody Waterman turned in the Horns’ low score of 41.
Visit Holbrook tomorrow
The Longhorn varsity and jayvees return to action 3 p.m. tomorrow, March 18, at the Holbrook Invitational.
Leading the Horn effort again this season is the father and son coaching team of Bret and Denny Morse. Bret, the son, coaches the varsity, and Denny the junior varsity.
Bret was also the offensive coordinator on the Longhorn state championship football team.
As for players, the Payson roster features several returners and some promising newcomers.
Leading the returning letter-winners is Waterman, who last season was an all-region team member finishing second in the East finals to Snowflake’s Jones.
At the state tournament held at Fort Mohave, Waterman finished at 187, one stroke behind teammate Chandler Sylvester who is also returning to the Horn fold this season.
Also at state, Alex Korth — a 2008 starter — finished at 186 after posting an 86 on the opening round.
Among the promising newcomers is Apps, a teen who has been making inroads on youth circuits since he was in fifth grade.
As a 12-year-old, he took third while competing against some of the state’s finest golfers in the Southwest Junior PGA Westfield Championships.
He also won several tournaments on the Southwest Section Antigua Junior tour, and was an age group winner in U.S. Kids tournaments as well as Drive, Chip and Putt competitions.
Years ago, some thought Apps would team in high school with promising newcomer Blake Cannon to give the Longhorns a one-two punch reminiscent of ex-Horns Brandon Kelley and Billy Bob Hoyt.
But Cannon’s family moved last year, and the teen is now plying his wares for a Valley-area school.
Also on the Longhorn 2009 roster is an athlete who played a big role in the Horn football team’s run to the state crown.
If Mason Ducanay can transform his skills as an offensive guard to the links, PHS will have another talented golfer.
In the East, the team to beat appears to be defending region and state champion Snowflake. Around the state, Wickenburg and Estrella Foothills are also expected to field strong squads.