Cienega entered the 27-hole Santa Rita Invitational undefeated.

Now the Bobcats will enter the state tournament with the same impeccable record after edging Mesa Mountain View by six strokes behind Jacob Coles' 2-over-par 107 at Silverbell.

"This has been a great season so far, and this is just the icing on the cake," Cienega coach Tim Nichols said. "We had some hiccups today, but it's great to finish strong after those."

Nichols said the invitational's format, which ended with 18 holes Saturday, will help prepare for the mental grind of back-toback days of 18 holes during the state tournament on Oct. 29-30.

"You learn so much about your team at the best possible time," Nichols said of the tournament. "That's big-boy ball in Division I and this gives us some confidence."

Cole finished as Southern Arizona's lowest golfer in the tournament after losing to Mesa Mountain View's Hayden Webb in a playoff. Cole said the high finish gives him and the team a confidence boost heading into the state tournament - something he might've lacked in the past.

"I've never been there before in that situation," Coles said. "It really just pushes my game to get better. I've always been a guy that'd rather be at the bottom of the rotation, but now I know I can play with anybody in the city."

But while Cienega looked to improve upon its unbeaten season, some other Southern Arizona schools had different motives. Silverbell will also be the site of the Division II state tournament, and Sabino's Billy Comeaux said that's where the Sabercats' attention was during the invitational's 27 holes - nine of which were played Friday.

"We just tried to mainly look at this as a big practice round," said Comeaux, who finished as Southern Arizona's second-lowest scorer with a 4-over 109. "I'm sure they'll grow the rough a little longer and get the greens a little faster, but it definitely helps to get a look at everything before state."

Salpointe Catholic finished 19 shots behind Cienega to place second among Southern Arizona schools, and Sabino finished two shots behind the Lancers. Mesa Dobson finished in third overall, 13 shots behind Mesa Mountain View.