Standing on top of a hill, just off the fairway of the first hole, a Canyon View golfer struck a high shot that had every appearance of being green-bound when a gust of wind arose and knocked the ball down into the rough, 40 yards short of the hole.
Having watched her perfect shot fall so imperfectly, the frustrated Falcon shouted out, “I hate the wind.”
She wasn’t alone.
Tuesday’s wind-whipped, nine-hole Region 9 golf match at the St. George Country Club saw many squall-inflated scores.
The one team not affected by the elements was naturally the team named the Thunder. Desert Hills, the Region 9 girls golf powerhouse, kept its scores low en route to another region victory.
“This is a pretty typical showing for us,” Thunder head coach Laurie Dyer said. “These girls play a lot of golf in a lot of different conditions, and that includes the wind.”
Desert Hills won by 17 strokes, led by Katie Perkins’ one-under 36, the top score Tuesday.
“The wind didn’t really bother me,” said Perkins, a junior who was the medalist at last year’s state tournament where the Thunder won their fourth straight state championship. “I was swinging nice and easy and staying under the ball.”
Perkins said she had just one shot that was affected by the wind — a chip shot that a gust knocked down — largely because she strategically decided against trying to hit the ball hard. Otherwise, it was just another day at the golf course for Perkins.
In addition to Perkins, the Thunder had good showings from Megan Welch, whose score of 39 was tied for second with Pine View’s Taylor Bandley, and Kyla Smith, who shot 42.
“The thing about these girls is that they are very consistent,” Dyer said. “They finish up with the same scores; whereas, some of the other teams are up and down.”
The rest of the St. George schools are fighting for a second-place finish in region. Toward that end, Dixie extended its advantage over Pine View and Snow Canyon, but not by much.
The Flyers scored 188, just three strokes better than the Panthers and nine strokes ahead of the Warriors.
Dixie was led once again by emerging sophomore Gracie Richins, who shot a 40, the fourth-best individual score on the day. MiKayla Frei, who drove well in the wind, finished with a 45.
Besides Bandley’s 39, the Panthers also got 49 out of Allison Lawlor.
Snow Canyon also placed two players in the top 10, in Bergen Nelson (43) and Stephanie Hall (49).
Hurricane took fifth behind the play of Nicole Miller, and Canyon View beat Cedar by four strokes.
As the Thunder take aim at a fifth straight state title, Dyer said the Thunder’s focus will be on improving their short game.
The Desert Hills team, however, will enjoy that preparation.
“Our main thing is that we’re really competitive,” Perkins said. “We know we’re each others best competition, so we make practices a lot of fun, having little competitions with each other.”
Region 9 Girls Golf
Team: 1. Desert Hills 177, 2. Dixie 188, 3. Pine View 191, 4. Snow Canyon 197, 5. Hurricane 247, 6. Canyon View 263, 7. Cedar 267.
Individual Results: 1. Katie Perkin, Desert Hills, 36; 2 (tie). Megan Welch, Desert Hills, 39; 2. (tie). Taylor Bandley, Pine View, 39; 4. Gracie Richins, Dixie, 40; 5. Kyla Smith, Desert Hills, 42; 6. Bergen Nelson, Snow Canyon, 43; 7. Mikayla Frei, Dixie, 45; 8 (tie). Allison Lawlor, Pine View, 49; 8 (tie). Stephanie Hall, Snow Canyon, 49; 10 (tie). Nicole Miller, Hurricane, 50; 10 (tie). Shay Bauman, Cedar, 50.