9-time state champion Desert Hills off to another strong start in girls golf

Gracianne Gardner of Dixie putts on the third hole of the Southgate Golf Club during Region 9 match, as Cedar's Ashley Davis watches from edge of green, St. George, Utah, March 28, 2019 | Photo by Jeff Richards, St. George News / Cedar City News

ST. GEORGE — Three weeks into the high school girls golf season, Desert Hills is once again off to a strong start, handily winning all three Region 9 matches to date.

The first two matches, held at Hurricane’s Sky Mountain Golf Course and the Sunbrook Golf Club in St. George, were just 9 holes each. However, Thursday’s competition at the Southgate Golf Club went a full 18 holes, as will the remaining weekly region matches scheduled over the next six weeks.

Desert Hills’ top four golfers – Kelli Nance, Robin Kim, Abby Leitze and Kesley Ranson – shot a combined score of 334 at Southgate on Thursday, while second-place Cedar High finished with a team score of 372.

Desert Hills, which has won the state championship nine years in a row, is pursuing its 10th straight title this year, but the Lady Thunder will be doing so under a new coach. Todd Meyer has taken over coaching duties from Laurie Dyer, who has retired from coaching after guiding Desert Hills to all nine state titles.

“Coach Dyer’s done a really great job with this team because all these girls are easy to coach,” Meyer said, adding that he hopes to pass along some of his own golfing expertise to his players.

Jordan Hicks of Pine View sinks a putt on the third hole of the Southgate Golf Club during Region 9 match, St. George, Utah, March 28, 2019 | Photo by Jeff Richards, St. George News / Cedar City News

“I probably bring a little bit more knowledge of the swing,” Meyer said. “I played competitively in college, and I still can play competitively in the pro am and the senior division now, so I think I bring a little bit of that to the table.”

Meyer said he has full confidence in his team.

“We have 10 juniors and one senior and four freshmen with a lot of potential,” he said. “It’s a strong group. My top six is pretty solid.”

Rather than thinking about beating the other Region 9 teams, Meyer said his players are simply focusing on achieving a target score.

“We know that our goal is to shoot 320. That’s our number we want to shoot. Which is, you know, four girls shooting 80,” he said. “We just shot 334 at Southgate. That’s 14 shots above (the target score), but that score would have won the state tournament, because if you double that, it’s 668, and last year they shot 669 to win state.”

“I think we’re competitively getting to that point,” Meyer added. “That’s where I’m trying to get them, just to a number, and I think it will help us win the state tournament for the 10th time.”

Meyer’s daughter Gabby Meyer is a senior golfer at Snow Canyon. She was one of about a dozen golfers to shoot below 90 on Thursday’s match at Southgate. The best score of the day was by Pine View’s Bailia Milne, who shot a 71.

Next week’s Region 9  match is Wednesday at Cedar Ridge Golf Course in Cedar City.

Region 9 results and team scores, Southgate, March 28

  1. Desert Hills 334
  2. Cedar 372
  3. Snow Canyon 376
  4. Dixie 379
  5. Pine View 384
  6. Hurricane 411
  7. Canyon View 432

Email: jrichards@stgnews.com

Twitter: @STGnews

Copyright St. George News, SaintGeorgeUtah.com LLC, 2019, all rights reserved.

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