OREM – There were no real surprises at the outcome of Thursday’s 3A girls state golf tournament at the Links of Sleepy Ridge, but the final-round excitement kept everyone’s interest until the end.
Desert Hills won its eighth straight trophy and planned to celebrate afterward with a trip to Provo’s Olive Garden. It wasn’t Disneyland, but what mattered was that it was indoors – and considerably warmer than what they had experienced all day.
Despite cloudy, windy conditions and temperatures in the 40s that had most players wearing jackets, hats and even gloves, Tori Thomas was in no hurry. The Desert Hills junior relished her time carrying the trophy off the 18th green, a few moments after she won the medalist trophy by carding a two-day score of 155 and then edging Dixie’s Gracie Richens and Lexi Hamel of Snow Canyon on the second playoff hole.
Thomas shot a 77 Wednesday and followed it with a 78 to force a three-way tie for first place. She got lucky on the first playoff hole – the 18th – when Richens’s short putt lipped out. When the players returned to the same hole for a second time, Thomas ended the tourney when she hammered home a 10-foot putt for birdie.
“A great way to finish it off,” said Desert Hills coach Laurie Dyer, who has been part of each of the Thunder’s titles.
Desert Hills finished with 612 points, using the Utah High School Activities Association’s Modified Stable Scoring System. Park City was second with 588, then Dixie (563), Snow Canyon (561) and Bear River (548).
After Thomas, Desert Hills also had Kjahna Plant in fourth place and Jenna Welch, Gabby Meyer and Abby Leitze narrowly missed the top 10.
“It was all about if they played their best we would not have any problem,” said Dyer. “Every one of our players was able to contribute either the first day or the second.”
The warm feeling from playing well should make the trip home seem faster, and all 3A teams should look forward to next year’s state tourney, which Dyer said will likely be in St. George’s warmer climate. The Thunder had only one senior this season and should again be a heavy favorite.
3A Girls State Golf Tournament
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.
Bruce Smith grew up in Boise, Idaho, and is a longtime newspaper sports writer. He writes primarily high-school sports articles for the Deseret News.