Katie Perkins couldn’t help but enter the 2014 Region 9 girl’s golf season with high expectations.
The Desert Hills standout was coming off a league and state championship title in 2013, but despite the increased pressure, the junior seemed to embrace all of it. Perkins simply possesses a strong passion for the game.
Her talent was clearly showcased Thursday, as she cruised to a second consecutive Region 9 tournament title with a solid 71 at SunRiver.
“It means a lot to me,” Perkins said. “I think the biggest difference in my game from last year is attitude. I’m more relaxed and trust my swing much more.”
Perkins didn’t get off to the best start Thursday after bogeying the first two holes, but the poised champion soon gained her composure.
She got her groove going after a birdie on No. 6. Then on the back-nine, Perkins finished -1 under.
“I started off with a little bit of nerves,” said Perkins, who notched her sixth region win of the season. “My coach talked me through the (early struggles) and I was able to bounce back and focus.”
Perkins’ biggest highlight came on No. 17 where she scored an Eagle.
“I had a good drive to about 90 yards and finished off a three-foot putt,” Perkins said.
Desert Hills earned team championship honors with an overall score of 326, while Dixie finished second with a 331. Pine View rounded out the top three at 357.
On the individual front, Gracie Richins of Dixie finished second with a 74. Kyla Smith (Desert Hills) and Megan Welch (Desert Hills) tied for third with a 76. Pine View’s Taylor Bandley rounded out the top five with a 77.
The Panthers’ sophomore rebounded after a tough front nine (42) with an impressive 35 on back end.
The strong finish is a significant motivator for Bandley entering next week’s state tournament at Mountain View.
She said one of the biggest strengths to her game is the ability to make adjustments and improve just like she demonstrated at SunRiver. Bandley added this could be very beneficial as the conditions up north could vary.
“To finish region in the top five makes me feel good about how I’ve improved,” Bandley said. “I got off to a slow start (in the regular season) where I didn’t even place at a couple of tournaments. So to finish where I did is a great feeling.”
In other action, Mikayla Frei (Dixie) and Bergon Nelson (Snow Canyon) finished tied for sixth. Abbey Yardley (Dixie) secured eighth with an 85, while Allison Lawlor (Pine View) was ninth with an 88. Michelle Crenshaw (Snow Canyon) concluded the top 10 with an 89.
Rounding out the team scores were Snow Canyon (370), Canyon View (448), Hurricane (455) and Cedar (472).