SNOWFLAKE — Denny Morse has seen a lot in his 16 years as a coach for the Payson High golf team.
But he’d never seen this.
Junior Dean Harpe fired a 4-under-par 32 and classmate Mason Ridley was one stroke back at 3-under 33 to power the Longhorns to victory in the season-opening nine-hole event at Snowflake Golf Course on Tuesday.
“I have never seen two golfers from the same team with a 32-33,” Morse said. “They shot lights out.”
The strong performances by the two 11th-graders were instrumental in Payson shooting 151.
Freshman Mitchell McGuire carded a 39, which is also a state-qualifying round. Players shooting 41 or better earned one of five individual qualifying rounds needed to earn an individual berth in the state tournament.
“Dean and Mason both have a way of elevating team members around them,” Morse said.
Ben Myer’s 47 was Payson’s fourth and final counting score as the Longhorns came into the clubhouse 11 strokes under the team qualifying standard of 162. They’ll need four more qualifying scores to make the state tournament as a team.
Tod McCarthy also played for PHS, which beat runner-up Show Low (154) by three strokes. Lakeside Blue Ridge (167) was third, followed by Snowflake (168) and Holbrook (185). Heber Mogollon only had two golfers.
Hunter Harrison shot 47, Austin Moss 48 and Jordan Jones 49 to lead Payson’s junior varsity team to a third-place showing with 204. Snowflake won with 177 and Blue Ridge was second with 201.
Chad Nez’s 41 led Snowflake’s JV.
PHS was scheduled to play host to Blue Ridge and maybe Snowflake at Chaparral Pines on Wednesday before heading back to Snowflake GC for nine-hole rounds on Tuesday and again on March 18.
Team standings: Payson 151, Show Low 154, Blue Ridge 167, Snowflake 168, Holbrook 185.
Dean Harpe, Payson 32
Mason Ridley, Payson 33
Cody Goza, Blue Ridge 36
Ace Johnson, Show Low 36
Skylar Kourey, Show Low 38
Andon Hatch, Holbrook 39
Mitchell McGuire, Payson 39
Ian Crowe, Show Low 40
Steffen Kourey, Show Low 40
Tyson Binnie, Snowflake 41
Parker Nielson, Snowflake 41
Matt Johnson, Blue Ridge 41
Payson varsity 151 — Dean Harpe 32, Mason Ridley 33, Mitchell McGuire 39, Ben Myer 47, Tod McCarthy 52.
Payson JV 204 — Hunter Harrison 47, Austin Moss 48, Jordan Jones 49, Matthew Myer 60.