Salpointe Catholic junior Krystal Quihuis led all golfers with a 4-under 66 on the first day of action at the Division II girls golf championships and has the Lancers in line to defend their state title.
"I made a lot of putts and tried to stay positive throughout the round, but there's still tomorrow," the defending state champion said.
Quihuis' low score on Friday at Silverbell Golf Course combined with 8-over 78s by Brianna Vogel and Araceli Esquivel and Claire Hanson's 11-over 81 has Salpointe leading the 11-team field heading into the final round today with a 303.
Canyon del Oro's Morgan Messick, last year's runner-up, shot a 1-over 71 and has the second-best score heading into today.
"After (Friday) there's not much you can do but go out tomorrow and do your best," Messick said. "I'm happy with my score. I wanted to shoot under par, but you can't always do that."
Messick said she was happy with the distances she was getting but wants to spend a little bit more time on her putting before she tees off at 8:27 a.m. today.
"I was hitting the ball really far off the tee, and that's always a good confidence booster," she said.
Meanwhile, Quihuis felt her short game was working well.
"That really helped me; that's what kept me motivated throughout the round," Quihuis said. "I wasn't really hitting the ball solid, but it still worked out pretty well for me."
She's also going to take the same approach when she tees off today with the final group at 8:36 a.m.
"Just go out there and play happy," Quihuis said. "Have a positive attitude."
Fellow Lancer Vogel said she was disappointed with her 78 and was hoping to rebound today by at least shooting even.
Sahuaro's Desiree Hong rounded out the top five individuals and was in third place among Southern Arizona golfers. She shot a 5-over 75 in the first round.
Cave Creek Cactus Shadows (329) and Scottsdale Notre Dame (333) were in second and third place. Sahuaro (335) was in fourth and Ironwood Ridge was fifth by one stroke.
Abbie Cantwell of Cactus Shadows was in third with a 3-over 73.
Silva wins sectional meet
Rincon/University senior Ryan Silva won the Division I, Section II meet in 15 minutes 5 seconds on Friday and led the Rangers to a fourth-place finish with 88 points to qualify them for next week's state championship meet.
Sierra Vista Buena finished one spot behind Rincon with 141 points at Crossroads Park in Gilbert and also qualified for state.
Rincon's Brandon Dorr was the second Southern Arizona finisher placing 11th in 16:09. Joshua Velazquez finished two spots behind him in 16:11 to lead Buena.
Rincon coach John Radspinner said this was the first time that Silva, last year's Division I state runner-up, has run a 4:59-mile. Silva started the season late because of an injury so Radspinner is happy to see him back to where he left off.
On the girls side, Rincon and Buena were the last two teams to qualify, finishing eighth and ninth, respectively.
Senior first-year runner Kendra Knittel finished fifth in 19:07 to lead the Rangers and was the top Southern Arizona runner. Andrea Haller was Buena's top finisher, placing 31st in 20:41.
Southern Arizona teams in Divsions II, II and IV will run their sectionals today at Marana High School. The state championship meet is next Saturday in Phoenix.