If Paige Peterson had his druthers the state golf tournament would be much sooner.
Like last weekend in order to take advantage of how well the Desert Vista boys team was playing at the end of the regular season.
Instead, the Thunder has to practice for three weeks before the Division I state tournament at Aguila Golf Course in Laveen Nov. 1-2.
“With the way they played the last two weeks I wish the championships were here already,” he said. “Golf is a fickle game and when you are practicing for two or three weeks you worry about staying sharp.
“There is such a fine line with golf, more than other sports in my opinion, so we will work hard to stay sharp.”
If the Thunder can match what it did the final two weeks of the regular season Desert Vista could be in line to finally get over the hump as they have finished as state runner-up four straight years.
The Thunder set a team record, and possibly a tournament record, with an 11-under 278 in the two-day Tempe City Tournament at Ken McDonald Golf Course three weeks ago and followed it up two weeks ago with a tournament win in Flagstaff for the first time.
“Kenny Mac is a course you can go low on if we are playing well,” Peterson said. “Our top four seniors played extremely well.”
Another senior playing at a high level has been Mountain Pointe’s Ben Harden, who parlayed a great summer of golf into a fine senior year.
He won two tournaments this year, was the medalist in every dual meet, and finished in the top 10 in every tournament he entered in this year.
The Pride will also be at the state tournament as they reached the required five rounds under the qualifying score.
The local girls teams weren’t as successful in qualifying for state as both Mountain Pointe and Desert Vista came up short.
The Thunder, who finished third at the Tempe City event last week, didn’t get one of the required qualifying scores and the Pride, who were second at the Tempe City tournament, only got two of the five required.
“We missed the other three by a stroke or two,” second-year coach Pete Manigold said. “The girls really improved throughout the season and although we came up short they really got better from each experience. We had some injuries and a few setbacks, but it was a good season overall.”
The Thunder didn’t have any individual qualifiers either, although Sheila Barbee got three of the five required scores and Camilla Wood did it once.
The Pride will have two representatives at the Division I state tournament Oct. 30-31 at Aguila as Lauren Blumears and Cassidy Chase did enough to make it to state.
Both shot in the 80s this season and Blumears shot under par in a match as the junior continued to develop exponentially since picking up the game as a freshman.
“She has made huge strides,” Manigold said. “Her swing mechanics are more sound and she has a good swing. Lauren has a shot to have a top 10 finish at state. If she can finish strong, and play a ton of tournaments this summer, she can be really good next year.”
• Contact writer: (480) 898-7915 or firstname.lastname@example.org. Follow him on Twitter @JSkodaAFN.