The Payson High School golf team took its first step toward qualify for the regular season-ending Division III state tournament by carding a winning 148 score at a three-way match played March 5 at Chaparral Pines.
To qualify for state, prep teams must meet or exceed certain standards at select meets during the season.
At Wednesday’s meet in the play 5, keep 4 scores format, the qualifying standard was 168, which the Payson team beat by 20 strokes.
Valley Christian posted a 156 to earn the school’s first 2013 state qualifying score, but third-place Gilbert Christian came up short with a 171.
Individually for Payson, Dean Harpe claimed low medalist honors with a 3-under-par 33.
Jeffrey Kelley was second overall at 36.
Coach Denny Morse, who is in his first year at the helm of the program after serving as a junior varsity coach for more than a decade, has predicted Harpe and Kelley will this season round into two of the finest high school golfers in the state.
Also for Payson on Wednesday at Chaparral Pines, Mason Ridley carded a 39. Kelsey Bossert polished off a 40, Katie Schouten had a 49 and Tod McCarthy came in at 54.
Following the match, Morse thank the Chaparral Pines staff, including former PHS standout Brandon Kelley for allowing the team, “The privilege to play such a nice course.”
The varsity and junior varsity are scheduled, weather permitting, to return to action today, March 8, at Hidden Cove Golf Course in Holbrook.
On March 12, the team returns to action at Chaparral Pines against long time nemesis Snowflake and Show Low.
In preseason, Morse predicted both the Lobos and Cougars would field strong teams capable of contending for post-season berths.