HURRICANE – Cold temperatures and windy conditions turned Thursday’s Region 9 tournament at Sky Mountain Golf Course into the survival of the fittest.
In the end, Pine View’s Taylor Bandley came away victorious with her skilled shots and timely putts, to take the top individual spot, and win her first region tournament of the season.
“It feels good to finally be at the top,” Bandley said with a smile. “There are a lot of great golfers in this region and it was good to be able to perform like I did today, despite the rough conditions.”
Bandley finished the day with a 4-over par 40, and impressively, was able to battle back after firing an eight on the par 4, fourth hole.
“Playing in the wind is never easy, but I’ve come to enjoy it,” Bandley said. “It’s fun, adds a twist, and I’m glad that everything was able to work out today.”
Her willingness to not give up or feel sorry for herself was rewarded with several par’s and two birdies to end the day.
“She had a lot of focus today,” Pine View coach Gary Higgins said. “I’m really proud of her. She has been working really hard and it was great to see it all come together.”
Thursday marked the first time this season that nobody was able to crack into the thirties — a true testament of how tough the conditions were and why the tournament switched from an 18-hole format, to nine holes.
Dixie’s Gracie Richens finished second overall with a 5-over par 41, and was back to her usual self after a rough outing last week, when she tried to play through a recent wrist injury.
“My wrist is still sore, but it felt a bit better today than last week,” Richens said afterwards.
Although she’s still not 100 percent, her perseverance and positive attitude helped the Flyers finish in second place for the first time this season.
“The wind definitely changed the game today,” she added. “But if you know how to play it, it’s not too bad.”
Dixie coach Mark Heppler credits his teams second place finish to the hard work his players have been putting in.
“The girls continue to work hard and get better each week,” Heppler said. “Mikayla Frei finished in the top 10 again, and has really been a great team leader for us with some many young girls on the team this year.”
Cedar’s Shay Bauman finished in the top 10 again – her fourth time this season – and sets herself up to compete again in the 3A State Tournament.
While Bauman continues to put the work in on the golf course, it doesn’t mean she’s slacking in the classroom by any means. Bauman was recently awarded the Sterling Scholar award which is given to a select group of high school seniors in the pursuit of excellence in scholarship, leadership and citizenship in the state of Utah.
“It’s been tough dividing my time with my studies as well as playing golf and soccer throughout the year,” Bauman said. “But it’s been worth it. I love playing with all of the girls and the fun that we have together.”
Desert Hills had another great day as it took the team title for the fifth straight time, even after posting its worst score of the year.
“The conditions were tough today and made it difficult on everyone,” Desert Hills coach Laurie Dyer said. “But the girls did great, stayed the course and battled.”
The Thunder have posted great scores week in and week out, but today was the first time that five of the six girls (Katie Perkins, Kyla Smith, Tori Thomas, K’jhana Plant and Abby Morris) all placed in the top 10.
“That was remarkable,” Dyer added. “I’m so proud of each one of them. I’m speechless.”
Speaking of firsts, it was also the first time that six of the seven high schools each had at least one player represented in the top 10.
Next week’s 18-hole tournament will take place at the St. George Golf Club on Tuesday, with a start time at 1 p.m.
Top 10 Individual Scores
Taylor Bandley (Pine View) 40, Gracie Richens (Dixie) 41, Katie Perkins (Desert Hills) 42, Kyla Smith (Desert Hills) 44, Lexi Hamel (Snow Canyon) 45, Tori Thomas (Desert Hills) 46, Mikayla Frei (Dixie) 49, K’jhana Plant (Desert Hills) 50, Abby Morris (Desert Hills) 51, Shay Bauman (Cedar) 52, Hannah Rich (Hurricane) 52.
Final Team Scores
Desert Hills 182, Dixie 205, Pine View 207, Snow Canyon 216, Cedar 233, Hurricane 240, Canyon View 274
Follow Justin Giles on Twitter @Justingiles22.