OREM – It was a grand day Thursday for the Desert Hills girls golf program as the Thunder (not surprisingly) won their eighth straight 3A team title and No. 1 golfer Tori Thomas (surprisingly) won the 3A individual state championship by edging defending champ Gracie Richens and Snow Canyon rival Lexi Hamel in a two-hole playoff at Sleepy Ridge Golf Course.
Thomas, who had not won a tournament this season, shot a 78 in a stiff and cold north wind Thursday, making up the two strokes she had trailed Richens after the first round. Hamel was even more impressive in regulation, firing a 77 to end the regulation play with the three southern Utah golfers tied at 155 for the two rounds.
All three bogeyed the first attempt at sudden death on the 18th hole at Sleepy Ridge. So they returned to the tee and tried again. Thomas, this time, hit within 10 feet of the cup in regulation and her birdie putt was dead on, thrilling the crowd that had gathered for the exciting finish.
Thomas, a junior, was the star, but not the only contributor to the continuation of the Desert Hills dynasty. All six varsity golfers counted a score in the two-day tournament. The team of Thomas, K’Jahna Plant, Gabby Meyer, Abby Leitze, Jenna Welch and Alesa Ashton combined for a two-day score of 612 points in the Modified Stableford scoring system, far outscoring second-place Park City by 24 points. Dixie was third with 563 points and Snow Canyon ended up with 561 points for fourth place.
Richens, who has signed to play next year at BYU and wore a Cougar hat during the second day of competition, almost won the playoff on the first hole, but her short putt for par lipped out.
Pine View finished eighth as a team, with Bailia Milne tying for fifth in the medalist race.
3A Girls State Golf Championship
At Sleepy Ridge Golf Course, Orem
1, Desert Hills 612. 2, Park City 588. 3, Dixie 563. 4, Snow Canyon 561. 5, Bear River 548. 6, Ridgeline 540. 7, Juab 522. 8, Pine View 513. 9, Stansbury, Morgan 511.
1, Tori Thomas (Desert Hills) 155 – won playoff. 2, Gracie Richens (Dixie), Lexi Hamel (Snow Canyon) 155. 4, Kjahna Plant (Snow Canyon) 161. 5, Saylor Rabe (Park City), Balia Milne (Pine View) 162. 7, Jessica Rose (Bear River) 164. 8, Keslee Sherman (Canyon View) 167. 9, Taya Jones (Juab) 172. 10, McKenzie Schow (Park City) 174.
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