Since all of Region 9 was dropped down from the 4A ranks to 3A in 2010, there has been one constant at the state golf tournament.
Laurie Dyer’s Desert Hills Thunder have held the championship trophy three years running. And they’ll try to make it four today when the 3A tournament is played at Schneiter’s Riverside Golf Course in Ogden.
So what will it take for the Thunder to do it again and extend their streak? Dyer believes there’s no need to tinker with a formula that’s been working for a while.
“The girls are playing really, really good right now,” Dyer said. “We’ll just try to keep doing what we’ve been doing and hope for best.”
What may scare the rest of the field — including fellow Region 9 qualifiers Snow Canyon, Dixie and Pine View — is that the Thunder are young. Ashley Kraft is the lone senior to go with three juniors, a sophomore (Katie Perkins) and a freshman.
Perkins, who dominated the rest of Region 9 on an individual basis during the season, is looking forward to the challenge of going after another title. The team’s togetherness also helps.
“These girls are like family,” Perkins said. “Being part of a team and being around the game means so much to us.”
If there’s one thing that may trip up the Thunder players, it’s that the Schneiter’s Riverside course is lined with trees down the fairways.
“It’s not something we’re used to in St. George,” Dyer said. “The course isn’t terribly long, but you have to be accurate and watch out for tree limbs.”
With the amount of experience the Thunder bring to the table, it eases the pressure somewhat for players like Perkins.
“We’re all pretty long (off the tee) and consistent,” Perkins said. “As long as we hit the right clubs, we’ll be fine. It’s all about managing the course.”
But when it comes to managing nerves, Perkins said they go away pretty quickly.
“There’s always an adrenaline rush before we step on the first tee,” Perkins said. “The challenge is to talk yourself through it, but remember what you’re there for.”
And the Thunder’s continued success still amazes Dyer.
“There have been surprises, but they’re pleasant surprises,” Dyer said. “These girls play a lot of golf, practice themselves and play a lot on the weekends. They have a high level of commitment.”
At the center of the commitment for Perkins and the rest of the Thunder is the team concept.
“We’re all vying for the top two spots and we’re really competitive,” Perkins said. “In the end, we’re all happy to be together, no matter where we are.
“Every score counts, and we’re all doing what we love.”
In addition to the four Region 9 team qualifiers, Hurricane’s Lani LeBaron and Cedar’s Taylor Davis earned spots in the tournament as individuals. Play begins at 9 a.m.