Payson High School golf coach Bret Morse doesn’t spare superlatives when describing his team’s amazing secondday rally during the Wickenburg Invitational.
“The team showed discipline, poise and strong course management to chip away and finally take the lead,” he said about the Horns overcoming Valley Christian’s 15-stroke first-day lead.
The fact the Horns were playing on a “very short, but narrow course layout” rendered the comeback even more impressive, said Morse
The Longhorns’ rally propelled the team to a first-place finish with a team tally of 612. Valley Christian was second at 637 and Estrella Foothills took home the bronze medal at 661.
The tournament was played March 30 and 31 on the par 71 course at Wickenburg Country Club.
In winning the gold, the Longhorn trio of Jeffrey Kelley, Tyler Apps and Dean Harpe swept second through fourth places behind low medalist Gavin de Fisser of VC who shot a tournament low 143.
Kelley was a model of consistency, shooting a 72 and 71 for a two-day total of 147.
Apps posted a 148 (78 and 70) and Harpe turned in a 152 (78 and 74).
Also for Payson, Anthony Smith shot a 77 on the first day and Mason Ridley had a career low 81 on the second day.
Apps’ 70, Kelley’s 73, Harpe’s 74 and the 77 by Smith set a new 18-hole school record of 294, breaking the previous mark of 297.
Just three days prior to traveling to Wickenburg, the Horns were at Antelope Hills participating in a four-team invitational in which Fountain Hills edged Payson, 154-153 for the team title. Florence was third at 208.
Apps swung his way to low medalist honors with a 33, playing the front nine on the par 36 South Course at Antelope Hills. Kelley posted a 38, Anthony Smith tallied a 41 and Harpe rounded out the scoring at 42.
The Horns continue pursuit of even more season honors tomorrow, April 4, at WeKoPa course near Fountain Hills. Although the team has wrapped up a state tournament invitation by virtue of recording five qualifying scores earlier this season, the golfers will be out to further enhance their game in hopes of garnering post-season honors.
The junior varsity travels the following day, April 5, to Pine Shadows in Cottonwood.