While there are high school golf teams around the state still struggling to record the five qualifying scores needed to quality for the Division III state tournament, the Longhorns have met the standard and will be advancing to prep golf’s “Big Dance” on May 10 and 11 at Antelope Hills near Prescott.
Impressively, it took the Horns less than a month to qualify for the post season partly because the team has one of the state’s finest players, Dean Harpe, on the roster.
But high school golf is a team game, and to be successful the Horns need others to step up.
This season, those contributions have come from others on the roster including Jeffrey Kelley, Mason Ridley and Kelsie Bossert.
On March 19 at Snowflake Golf Course, the Horn golfers flexed their collective muscle by dominating the six-team field with a match low 149.
With a 167, Show Low was second and Snowflake’s 171 was good enough for third. Blue Ridge finished fourth at 184, but Mogollon did not place.
Individually, Harpe finished at 3-under-par 33 to take low medalist honors.
Also for Payson, Ridley tallied a 38 and Kelley and Bossert came in at 39.
The Longhorns were equally as dominating in the 12-team Thatcher Invitational played March 15 at Mt. Graham Golf Course as they were in Snowflake.
With a meet low 318, PHS ran away with the Thatcher title easily disposing of runner-up Safford (330) and bronze medalist Morenci (334).
Desert Christian was fourth at 340 and Tanque Verde took fifth with a 344.
Harpe again emerged as the tournament medalist with a 70. Kelley finished just two strokes off that champion’s pace at 72.
Bossert contributed an 87 and Ridley posted an 89.
Tod McCarthy, who tallied a 90, highlighted his tournament appearance by winning the longest drive contest.
Also in the win, Ridley roared back on the back nine to tally a score the Horns needed to attain one of their five state qualifying scores.
The Horns return to play tomorrow, March 27, in a three-way match at either Payson Golf Course or Chaparral Pines. Wickenburg and Fountain Hills will compete
The younger set
On the jayvee front at Snowflake on March 19, PHS’s fledgling golfers took first over runner-up Snowflake and third place Blue Ridge.
The win kept the Jayvees 2013 record unblemished
Individually at Snowflake, Clayton White’s 41 was good enough for low medalist honors. Also for Payson, Ben Myer finished at 43 and Hunter Harrison scored a 44. McCarthy posted a 48, Austin Moss and Chris Wacker both rounded out their day at 53.
The jayvees return to action, Tuesday, April 2 vs. Camp Verde at a course to be determined.