Chip away

Desert Ridge's Shalee Allison chips onto the 17th.

LAVEEN - The rain and lightening that rolled over South Mountain drowned out second day of the Division I girls state golf tournament.

The second delay, which happened around 3 p.m., made it hard to complete the second round after the two-hour delay that started Thursday’s final round at Aguilla Golf Course.

It was the second time with 1987 being the other in Arizona history weather forced the girls event to be called early and revert back to the first day results.

"It was fair," Hamilton coach Steve Spykstra said. "You can only do so much with the weather as it was."

The Huskies finished as state runner-up to Xavier by two strokes. The Gators pushed the lead to more than 15 shots when the horns blared with the final group on the 13th hole.

“The team race wasn’t going to change so (the cancellation) wouldn’t have made a difference,” Spykstra said. “We can play better than we did the first day, and I thought we would today but it didn’t happen.”

The Gators finished the first day at 5-over 293 and the Huskies 7-over 295.

Millennium (24 over), Red Mountain (35 over) and Corona del Sol (62 over) rounded out the top five.

Desert Ridge and Desert Vista tied for sixth at 67 over par and Highland (74 over) was ninth 15-team field.

The loss of the round didn’t allow the three-way tie at the top of the individual leaderboard to change.

Hamilton’s Hannah Li tied for the title at 2-under 70 with Xavier’s Ashley Menne and Elizabeth Caldarelli.

“My irons and driver were absolutely great,” Li said. “I was playing OK. It makes me very happy I can say I finished in first place.”

Rounding out the top 10 to earn medalist honors were Xavier’s Emily Mahar (1-under), Hamilton’s Alyzzah Vakasiuloa (even-par 70), Red Mountain’s Belle Balkan (1-over), Hamilton’s Toni St. John (3-over), Millennium’s Ava Smith (5-over), Desert Ridge’s Brooke Beyer (5-over) and Corona del Sol’s Emma Lower (5-over).

Balkan’s development from last year when she shot 36 over par in two rounds as a freshman.

“My short game has really improved,” said Balkan, who was player of the year for . “I worked really hard. I have a lot to work forward to and excited about what I can do.”

The big leap in performance has Balkan, who the player of the year for the JGAA, ready to return to the course as often as possible.

“When you see improvement like that it make you want to keep coming back,” she said. “I just want to play golf as much as I can and keep getting better.”

In Division II girls, Mesquite’s Tara Greig finished sixth with an 11-over par 151 finish in the two day event at Del Urich Golf Course in Tucson on Wednesday.

Campo Verde’s Bailey Anderson was the second highest finisher from the East Valley at 18 over 158 to finish in a tie for 13, while Mesquite’s Maisey Alsen (20-over 160) was 16 and Seton Catholic’s Evan Toon (30-over 170) was tied for 27th.

Mesquite was the highest finishing team as the Wildcats were eighth at 157-over 361-356—717 compared to champion Cactus Shadows, which had a two-day total of 69-over 629.

Campo Verde was 12th at 191-over 751.

In the boys DII event at Randolph Golf Course in Tucson, Williams Field finished sixth 32-over 301-307 608 and Seton Catholic was seventh at 34-over 305-305-610 on Wednesday.

Mesquite was 12th at plus 84 at 333-327-660 to finishes 63 shots off the pace of team champion Catalina Foothills (21-over 300-297-597).

Seton Catholic’s Matt Schwab finished as the state runner-up at even par 144 after shooting 72 both days while champion Gavin Cohen shot 71 each day to win by two.

Other are top 10 finishers were Seton’s Alejandro de Zavala, who finished tied for seventh at 72-73-145 and Williams Field’s Logan Eatherton was tied for ninth at 73-73—146.

The Wildcats’ Wade Klein carded a 3-over 75-72-147 for a 12th place finish.

The Division I boys tournament begins Monday at the newly renovated Grand Canyon Golf Course, formerly Maryvale Golf Course.

Hamilton finished the year as the top ranked team, while Desert Vista, Perry, Campo Verde, Desert Ridge and Red Mountain finished among the top 10.

As far as the chase for the individual title goes, it is going to take two very good runs tp pull it off.

The year ended with Desert Vista’s Brian Seo as the top-ranked player with Hamilton’s Mason Andersen and Campo Verde’s Branden Meyer second and third.

Highland’s Brock Goyen, Perry’s Caden Christopherson, Desert Vista’s Tyler Dvendson, Desert Ridge’s Damon Vilkauskas and Desert Vista’s Davis Evan all finished among the top 15.

Contact writer: (480) 898-7915 or jskoda@evtrib.com. Follow him on Twitter @JasonPSkoda.

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