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Junior Gary Schlee shot a match-low 36 and sophomore Keagan Webster had a 37 as Sedona Red Rock High School punched its ticket Monday, March 31, to the Division III state golf tournament, shooting a 156 at Hillcrest Golf Course in Phoenix.

Junior gary Schlee, center, of Sedona Red Rock High School hits his drive on the fourth hole at Oakcreek Country Club, a par 4, on March 20, in front of Scorpions sophomore Keagan Webster, left, and Estrella Foothills High School junior Boston Richardson (above). Schlee is one round away from qualifying for the Division III state tournament after his match Monday, March 31, at Hillcrest Golf Course in Phoenix.

The Scorpions shot the only team qualifying score at the five-team match, shooting 10 strokes better than host Northwest Christian High School. Arizona Lutheran Academy, Joy Christian School and North Pointe Preparatory Academy all shot in the 200s for the day to finish well off the pace for the Scorpions, now 13-1 in match play.

“Hillcrest was our first trip to the Valley this year for match,” assistant golf coach Monty Cooper said, “and after the way our kids played, I want [to] go back.”

Even though Savanah Cooper is already in State after having shot five qualifying scores, and fellow junior Jasper Herrick is only two such scores away from qualifying himself, head coach Dennis Mobley called it a “horse race” for team leader.

“Essentially we have four number ones,” he said, as prior to March 31, Schlee was shooting an average of a 41.4, Webster 41.5, Herrick 41.6 and Cooper 41.8 per round. Junior Skylar Richardson, who needs to shoot four more qualifying rounds to qualify individually, is averaging two strokes off their pace at 43.8.

What set apart Schlee and Webster, who shot his second state qualifying round in Phoenix, from the rest of the field, Monty Cooper said, was their putting and other aspects of their short game.

“It doesn’t matter whether you are a beginner or a PGA or LPGA player,” he explained. “If you want to shoot lower scores and win more tournaments, then improve your short game.

“Gary had 12 putts and Keagan had 13, respectively. The rest of the team would have shot similar scores if they, too, would have had 12 or 13 putts rather than 16 to 20 putts.”

For the full story, please see the Wednesday, April 2, issue of the Sedona Red Rock News.

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