Horizon Honors golf coach Paul Schneider watched his team compete all spring season without much of a letdown.
The Eagles won 10 of its 14 matches and finished second in the other four.
The Division III state tournament last weekend in Prescott was no different as Horizon Honors finished eighth in the 12-team, two-day event at Antelope Hills Golf Course. The Eagles shot 330-327-657 to finish 40 shots behind winner Yuma Catholic.
“We played well all year,” Schneider said, “and they stepped up in the biggest tournament of the year. I couldn’t ask for much more.”
There is one thing — come back next year even better.
As good as the Eagles played this season, making state by reaching the qualifying score at least five times, all but one of the top six players are expected to be back next season.
“We can be even better,” sophomore Chris Senna said. “Hopefully, we can get into the top three and make a run at it.”
Senna, whose scoring average was just over 32 per nine holes, and junior Dane Allen were the leaders of the team and flip-flopped all year as the No. 1.
“Competition always makes you better,” Allen said. “We are always trying to beat each other.”
At the state meet, Allen got the jump on everyone shooting a tournament best even-par 71 on the 6,844-yard North Course, but came back with an 80 on the par-72 South Course on the second day to finish 11th overall.
“There was a lot of pressure leading and I had a couple of bogeys early,” Allen said. “I fought through it and stayed as low as possible.”
Senna went the other route shooting a 4-over-75 on the first day and came back with an even-par 72 to finish tied for third (officially fourth because of scorecard tiebreaker).
“I played pretty good,” he said. “I started 2-under after the first six holes (on the second day) and kept it going.”
The rest of the players on the team held their own as Grace Marie Schian, who barely missed qualifying as an individual last season, had the third best weekend for the Eagles at the state tournament as she finished 58th overall at 89-83-172.
Lone senior J.R. Cairns was 72nd at 187 and junior Mitch Bartlett was 76th at 228 as four of the five players played better on the second day.
“We put together a really good second day,” Schneider said. “They showed a lot of resiliency and that is something we can really build off heading into the summer and next year.”
Next season the Eagles will have some lofty expectations with four of the top five players coming back along with No. 6 Malhar Markendeya, who shaved 12 strokes off his game since the start of the year in his first season with the team.
“We don’t have any real big hitters,” Schneider said. “They are mostly finesse players who pick their spots to be aggressive. They can go after eagles with proper ball placement. It’s a good group.
“After the experience (of state) and another year under their belts after playing in some tournaments this summer, we could really do something good next year.”
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