Playing in one of her favorite golf courses in Southern Utah, Dixie’s Gracie Richens made the most of her opportunity Thursday afternoon at Sand Hollow.
The senior fired a three-under par 33 in the nine-hole tournament for a dazzling three-shot victory over Snow Canyon’s Lexi Hamel (36).
“I haven’t played my best in the previous tournaments so it felt really good to finally come out and play my game,” Richens said. “This is one of my favorite golf courses and I’m just glad that I could play up to my expectations.”
The senior, who had surgery on her wrist just eight weeks ago, didn’t feel any pain out on the Links Course.
“Everything felt great out there which hasn’t happened in a long time,” she said. “My putting saved me today and helped get some nice birdies.”
Richens birdied three of her first six holes as she quickly jumped to the top of the leaderboard. Mikayla Frei (38) had another top-5 finish for the Flyers to lead the team to another second place finish.
Desert Hills once again took the team title with 10-shot victory.
The Thunder had three girls finish in the top-5 with Kyla Smith (37) finishing third and both Tori Thomas (41) and K’Jahna Plant (41) in fifth. Smith had the play of the day as the senior sank a beautiful 30-foot putt on the ninth hole.
“My putt was all downhill and all I could think about was not letting it roll past the cup,” she said.
Even with the wind starting to pick up, Smith read the break perfectly as the ball rolled up to the cup and dropped in.
“I had a double bogey on the seventh hole so I was glad that I was able to bounce back,” Smith said of her eagle.
But the biggest news of the day came as Bailee Carmack (45) and Kellie Nance (47) posted personal bests for Desert Hills.
“Tori and K’Jahna are always tying so it was funny and not surprising to see them all tied up again,” Desert Hills head coach Laurie Dyer said. “I was also impressed with the performances of both Kellie and Bailee. They both set personal bests and were having a lot of fun out there.”
Pine View held off Snow Canyon for a six-shot victory for third.
The Panthers had four girls with scores under 50. Taylor Bandley led the way with a 41 and Bailia Milne (44), Allison Lawlor (48) and Kaylee Larsen (49) all played well to hold off Snow Canyon.
“I’m so proud of all of the girls,” Pine View head coach Kathy Higgins said. “They all shot under 50 and really played well. Allison was also playing in her first event this year and I thought she played terrific.”
Lexi Hamel took second for Snow Canyon after carding an even-par 36. The sophomore played consistent throughout with nine consecutive pars.
“I hit the ball really well today and was extra focused with my putts,” Hamel said. “Overall I was really happy with my performance after not playing well during the first two tournaments. I didn’t finish top-10 in the first event and so I’ve just been trying to get better each week and so far it’s been working.”
Hurricane had its best showing of the season as the Tigers posted a team score of 205, 16 shots better than its previous top finish this year.
“That was really cool to see them play like that,” Hurricane head coach Steve Jurca said. “Our team is really young but they have come a long way from the first tournament a couple of weeks ago.”
Jurca just wants his players to get better each day and it’s beginning to show.
“That’s all we want is to have them get a little better each day,” he said. “We had a number of girls set personal bests today and I couldn’t be prouder.”
Taylor Anderson fired a 46 and Ellie McDonald and Megan Mulloy each had 52.
Next week’s tournament will take Wednesday at 2 p.m. at The Ledges Golf Club.
1st – Gracie Richens, Dixie, 33
2nd – Lexi Hamel, Snow Canyon, 36
3rd – Kyla Smith, Desert Hills, 37
4th – Mikayla Frei, 38
T-5th – Tori Thomas, Desert Hills, 41
T-5th – K’Jahna Plant, Desert Hills, 41
T-5th – Taylor Bandley, Pine View, 41
8th – Bailia Milne, Pine View, 44
9th – Bailee Carmack, Desert Hills, 45
10th – Michelle Crenshaw, Snow Canyon, 46
1st – Desert Hills 164
2nd – Dixie 174
3rd – Pine View 182
4th – Snow Canyon 188
5th – Hurricane 205
6th – Cedar 252