Desert Hills off to strong start as Region 9 girls golf season gets under way

High school golfers make their way along a fairway in the rain during a region match at The Ledges, St. George, Utah, March 22, 2018 | Photo by Jeff Richards, St. George News

ST. GEORGE — Two matches into the Region 9 high school girls golf season, the Desert Hills Lady Thunder have once again established themselves in the top spot.

Pine View sophomore Jordan Hicks prepares to tee off during a region match at The Ledges, St. George, Utah, March 22, 2018 | Photo by Jeff Richards, St. George News

It’s a familiar place for Desert Hills to be, as the Thunder have won the 3A state title every year for the past eight years. This year, Desert Hills and the other six Region 9 teams have all moved up to the 4A classification, and judging by the first two region matches, there’s plenty of strong competition at both the team and individual levels.

At last Thursday’s region match on a rainy afternoon at The Ledges in St. George, Desert Hills posted a team score of 168 strokes for nine holes, 22 strokes ahead of second-place Snow Canyon, which scored 190.

Both teams’ scores were more than a dozen strokes higher than the totals they’d posted in the region opener two weeks earlier, when they’d played the back nine at SunRiver Golf Club in St. George.

“The weather did make things more difficult and increased our scores a bit, but our girls were troopers,” Desert Hills head coach Laurie Dyer said of her team’s March 22 performance at The Ledges.

Despite the wet conditions, however, four of the other region teams showed score improvements between their first and second matches. Dixie, which had finished sixth with a team score of 238 at SunRiver on March 7, took third overall with a 198 at The Ledges. The Cedar Lady Reds, who had taken third place with a 217 the first week, dropped to fourth overall in the second match but still improved their score by 17 strokes, posting a 200.

Region 9 high school golfers practice driving balls prior to their match at The Ledges, St. George, Utah, March 22, 2018 | Photo by Jeff Richards, St. George News

Although up to six golfers may compete for each team, only the top four scores count toward the team totals in any given match. Individual scores are kept cumulatively throughout the season.

In addition, although Utah high school girls golf has previously used a modified Stableford scoring system, starting this year, the scores are simply the number of strokes taken, so lower numbers now reflect better scores. The maximum number of strokes counted on any given hole is 10.

Individually, Desert Hills has five of the top eight scorers in the region after the first two matches. Desert Hills senior Tori Thomas, who’d tied for fourth place with a 40 in the first region match, scored a 39 to lead the way at The Ledges. Sophomore teammate Abby Leitze, who shot a 36 to lead the field at SunRiver, posted a score of 43 at The Ledges, tying her with five other golfers for fourth place individually. Full individual and team results for both matches are posted below.

The next scheduled Region 9 match is at Southgate Golf Club Thursday, March 29, with the one after that being April 11 at Cedar Ridge Golf Course in Cedar City.

Region 9 Match 1 results at SunRiver Golf Club, St. George, March 7

Team scores

  1. Desert Hills 155
  2. Snow Canyon 177
  3. Cedar 217
  4. Hurricane 221
  5. Pine View 229
  6. Dixie 238
  7. Canyon View 243

Individual top 10 results

1. Abby Leitze, Desert Hills 36; 2. Lexi Hamel, Snow Canyon 37; 3. K’Jahna Plant, Desert Hills 38; T4. Tori Thomas, Desert Hills 40; T4. Bailia Milne, Pine View 40; T6. Jenna Welch, Desert Hills 41; T6. Brianne Green, Snow Canyon 41; T8. Keslee Sherman, Canyon View 45; T8. Kellie Nance, Desert Hills 45; T10. Morgan Stout, Hurricane 46; T10. Gabby Mayer, Snow Canyon 46.

Region 9 Match 2 results at The Ledges, St. George, March 22

Team scores

  1. Desert Hills 168
  2. Snow Canyon 190
  3. Dixie 198
  4. Cedar 200
  5. Hurricane 209
  6. Canyon View 223
  7. Pine View 245

Individual top 10 results

1. Tori Thomas, Desert Hills 39; 2. Bailia Milne, Pine View 41; 3. Keslee Sherman, Canyon View 42; T4. Abby Leitze, Desert Hills 43; T4. Jenna Welch, Desert Hills 43; T4. Kellie Nance, Desert Hills 43; T4. Amber Hawkins, Dixie 43; T4. Kinzi Kelsch, Dixie 43; T4. Lexi Hamel, Snow Canyon 43; T10. K’Jahna Plant, Desert Hills 44; T10. Robin Kim, Desert Hills 44.

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