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September 22, 2011 8:47 am

Stiff competition forecast for state golf

Written by CJ Baker

After tallying 144 holes of golf last weekend from each of the boys teams, only nine strokes separated first place from third at the Class 3A West high school conference tournament in Star Valley.

Powell High School Head Coach Troy Hildebrand expects a similar leaderboard traffic jam — for both the boys and girls — at the Class 3A State Tournament in Rawlins on Friday and Saturday.

The Panther and Lady Panther squads are coming off a conference meet where they each finished third and had five of their eight varsity players earn top-10, All Conference honors.

Hildebrand is hoping the PHS teams can pick up some more trophies at the Rochelle Ranch Golf Course.

“I feel very optimistic about our chances at state,” Hildebrand said of the boys. “We have been very consistent all year and the hard work these guys have done through the summer and fall has really shown.”

Other predicted contenders on Hildebrand’s not-so-shortlist for a top-3 finish are Jackson, Cody, Lander, Buffalo and Torrington.

On the girls side, he sees a similar list of top foes: Cody, Jackson, Star Valley, Lander, Rawlins and Buffalo.

“It will come down to who can put together two solid rounds on a challenging course,” said the coach. “I would like to think that we will be playing with a lot of confidence and I am looking forward to seeing how it all comes together.”

Golf Digest has previously rated Rawlins’ Rochelle Ranch as the 29th toughest course in the U.S. and, at nearly 8,000 yards from the tips, the municipals course is Wyoming’s longest, says the city of Rawlins’ website. The course has little rough, with the fairways generally bordered by sand, sagebrush and bushes.

If Wednesday’s weather forecast is to be believed, the golfers are in for terrific late-summer weather, with high 70s temperatures predicted for Friday and Saturday.

Tee times begin at 9 a.m. on Friday and 8 a.m. Saturday.

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