Dynasty continues as Desert Hills wins 9th straight girls golf title

L-R: Desert Hills assistant coach Jodi White, players Kellie Nance, Robin Kim, Tori Thomas, K'Jahna Plant, Jenna Welch, Abby Leitze, and head coach Laurie Dyer pose with 4A state championship trophy, the team's ninth straight state title. St. George, Utah, May 17, 2018 | Photo by Jeff Richards, St. George News

ST. GEORGE — The Desert Hills High School girls golf team won its ninth straight state championship Thursday, dominating the two-day event by 32 strokes.

Tori Thomas of Desert Hills chips toward the 18th green on the final hole of the 4A state tournament, St. George, Utah, May 17, 2018 | Photo by Jeff Richards, St. George News

DHHS seniors Tori Thomas and K’Jahna Plant led the way for the Lady Thunder both days, with Thomas shooting a 76 and an 80 for a total of 156, and Plant carding an 80 and an 82 for a 162. Desert Hills tallied a two-day total of 669 strokes as a team, while runner-up Park City posted a score of 701.

The state 4A tournament, which featured more than a dozen teams, was held at the Sunbrook Golf Club in St. George. The field was cut to the top 10 teams after the first day.

Desert Hills scored 337 Wednesday to stake a 23-stroke lead the first day, then scored 332 the second day to extend its margin even further.

As the final threesomes made their way to the par-3 18th green Thursday afternoon, a palpable excitement mounted among the Thunder players, parents and fans.

Desert Hills’ Abby Leitze sank a long putt for par on the last hole, giving her an 86 for the day, a four-stroke improvement from the previous day’s round.

Although Plant and Thomas both shot over par on the last hole, they knew the title was well in hand as they headed to the clubhouse to hand in their scorecards and await the presentation of the awards.

Top 10 individual scorers during the 4A state golf tournament, starting with 10th place on the far left and ending with individual champion Lexi Hamel on the far right, St. George, Utah, May 17, 2018 | Photo by Jeff Richards, St. George News

DHHS head coach Laurie Dyer, who has coached all nine of the state title teams (and 10 region titles in a row), said the Thunder’s depth is what carried them throughout the season.

“Sometimes in region, we’d be in the 70s and the 80s, but we didn’t have anybody in the 70s today,” Dyer said. “But we’ve been very solid throughout the season. We could have any four scorers (in any given match).”

None of Desert Hills’ six players at state had a single-day score higher than 97. Leitze had the Lady Thunder’s fourth-best overall score with 176, which equaled or bettered the top player’s score of four of the other teams in the tournament and was also the 13th best score overall.

Also contributing for Desert Hills were Robin Kim (91-84-175), Jenna Welch (91-94-185), and Kellie Nance (97-94-191).

“Winning never gets old,” added coach Dyer.

Snow Canyon senior Lexi Hamel won the individual state title with a two-day score of 144. She followed her first-day score of 75 with an impressive three-under-par 69 on the second day to capture first place. In region play, which awarded points based on placings during the eight matches during the regular season, Hamel had finished just one point behind individual co-champions Thomas of Desert Hills and Bailia Milne of Pine View.

Tori Thomas and K’Jahna Plant of Desert Hills hug after the Lady Thunder won the 4A state golf championship, St. George, Utah, May 17, 2018 | Photo by Jeff Richards, St. George News

Milne, who competed at state as an individual only, shot a 77 followed by an 82 for a total of 159, good enough for fifth place overall.

Another highlight of the event was Rachel Gardiner of Uintah’s hole-in-one Thursday. She aced the third hole en route to a two-day score of 177, second best on her team.

Following are the top 10 placing schools at the 4A state tournament: 1. Desert Hills, 669; 2. Park City, 701; 3. Uintah, 712; 4. Snow Canyon, 721; 5. Lehi, 722; 6. Ridgeline, 728; 7. Stansbury, 754; 8. Dixie, 768; 9. Bear River, 770; and 10. Logan, 814.

The top 10 individual scorers at the 4A state tournament are as follows: 1. Lexi Hamel, Snow Canyon, 144; 2t. Apelila Galea’i, Lehi, 151; 2t. Alexis Wilson, Ridgeline, 151; 4. Tori Thomas, Desert Hills, 156; 5. Bailia Milne, Pine View, 159; 6. Rheagen Hartfiel, Bear River, 161; 7. K’Jahna Plant, Desert Hills, 162; 8.McKenzie Schow, Park City, 168; 9. Grace Donahue, Park City, 170; and 10. Kali Ofahengaue, Lehi, 173.

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Email: jrichards@stgnews.com

Twitter: @STGnews

Copyright St. George News, SaintGeorgeUtah.com LLC, 2018, all rights reserved.

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