March Madness isn’t over just yet.
While upsets on the hardwood may be over, the euphoria made its way onto the golf course Wednesday afternoon at The Ledges Golf Club.
Thanks to four girls placing in the top 10, Pine View not only won its first Region 9 tournament of the season, but also dethroned Desert Hills, the six-time defending 3A champions in the process. Prior to today, the Thunder’s last region loss came more than two years ago.
“I didn’t even know that we won until it was announced,” Pine View head coach Kathy Higgins said. “I just wanted the girls to go out there and have some fun and to play relaxed and they did just that. It’s a great day to be a Panther.”
While a number of players dazzled a small crowd with some impressive shots, much of the afternoon was more of a grind it out kind of day after battling the tough recently punched (aerated) greens.
“It’s a tough course, and the greens really test your mental toughness,” Pine View senior Taylor Bandley said. “But nobody made any excuses and everyone stepped up on our team at the perfect time.”
Bandley and Bailia Milne each shot a respectable 43 to finish tied for third overall. Bandley birdied both the third and fifth hole for her first birdies on the season.
But the biggest jump of the day came from Brenda Brown. Despite the tough greens, Brown bounced back from her 64 performance at Sand Hollow to finish tied for ninth with teammate Allison Lawlor after both carded a pair of 47s.
“It was amazing to see her play like that,” Higgins said of Brown’s performance. “Allison also had another great outing, but unfortunately, she didn’t get to stay for the results because she had to hurry and leave for work.”
Dixie’s Gracie Richens won medalist honors with a 3-over par 39, beating out teammate Mikayla Frei (41), who finished second for the two-shot victory. It was Richens second tournament victory of the season after taking home honors last week.
“Today was the first time that I played without my brace on and everything went great,” the right-handed junior said.
Because of the challenges on the green, Richens elected to not go all in on the putts, but rather get it close to save par.
“I just wanted to get my putts as close as I could without running into trouble,” she said. “When the greens are like that you just have to hope the bad luck and the good luck balance each other out.”
Liahona Fa’apuna had her best ever finish at 12-over par and was just one-shot back of placing in the top-10 for the Flyers.
“Liahona has been playing really well during our practice rounds so it was just a matter of time that it happened at a tournament for her,” Dixie head coach Mark Heppler said. “She’s really stepped up this year and we’re all proud of her.”
Frei earned her fourth top-5 finish of the season and has arguably been one of the most consistent players each week.
“Mikayla has been so consistent this year, and I believe a big part of that has come from the hard work that she has put in, as well as already getting that college scholarship, which certainly takes a lot of the pressure off,” Heppler said.
Richens had her first hole-in-one in a practice round on Tuesday, but couldn’t repeat the feat Wednesday.
“That was my first hole-in-one ever and I couldn’t believe it,” she said. “Unfortunately, I wasn’t able to do it again, but I did birdie the next hole which I needed.”
Next week’s tournament will take place on Thursday and will be held at Southgate Golf Club. Tee times are set for 2 p.m.
1st – Gracie Richens, Dixie, 39
2nd – Mikayla Frei, Dixie, 41
T-3rd – Taylor Bandley, Pine View, 43
T-3rd – Bailia Milne, Pine View, 43
T-3rd – Lexi Hamel, Snow Canyon, 43
6th – Kyla Smith, Desert Hills, 44
7th – K’Jahna Plant, Desert Hills, 45
8th – Tori Thomas, Desert Hills, 46
9th – Brenda Brown, Pine View, 47
10th – Allison Lawlor, Pine View, 47
1st – Pine View 180
2nd – Dixie 182
3rd – Desert Hills 184
4th – Snow Canyon 193
5th – Hurricane 228
6th – Cedar 233