FARMINGTON — Whether it's in day-to-day life or on the golf course, twin brothers Trey and Tyler Diehl don't get much separation from each other.
During the last two seasons on the Piedra Vista golf team, the two sophomores have jockeyed with one another for the No. 1 position on the team.
The brothers carry a competitive edge against each other in just about everything they do, and on the course, that competitive nature pushes the other to be better. This was most true following last season's 5A state title golf tourney at Piñon Hills Golf Course.
Trey finished as the runner-up, shooting a 5-over par 149 for the two-day tournament while Tyler never got going and struggled to an 18th-place finish at 33 over.
Seeing Trey play so well while he struggled — along with Trey talking a little trash — motivated Tyler during the offseason.
"I won the last three tournaments of the (2016) fall season, then after I played at state I said, 'I'm done with that,'" Tyler said. "I started practicing a lot more and got a lot better over the summer."
Trey saw a new edge to Tyler, saying he noticed an increase in focus and desire to get better during the summer. As Tyler pushed himself to be better and not let a repeat of the state tourney happen again, Trey had to push himself more, as well, letting the competition against his brother fuel him.
"I definitely saw it with him in terms of how hard he practiced," Trey said. "He definitely didn't take it easy and wanted to get better to start beating me."
The two pushing each other also carried over to the other guys on the team.
Trey and Tyler frequent the course and practice facilities at the San Juan Country Club just about every day during the summer, and last year they began pushing the other Panthers to join them for their practices.
Even though they're only sophomores, Trey and Tyler, and fellow sophomore River Smalley were named team captains this year.
"They've been good leaders," PV coach Tom Yost said of the sophomore trio. "They've really built this camaraderie with the freshmen, and we've got a couple of seventh-graders who will be playing next year, and it's going to be a great group of kids. Trey, Tyler and River play with them out at the Country Club when we're not practicing. They've really accepted them and it makes the transition a lot easier."
The Diehls said they think they're fitting into the leadership roles well, simply trying to emulate upperclassmen from their eighth-grade and freshman seasons who helped show them the way.
"Our eighth-grade year, we had Riley Rahm, and we learned a lot from him," Tyler said. "We tried to be like him, and that's what we try to do with the other guys on our team. We're just trying to be good mentors to them."
The Panthers got off to a hot start during the fall season, earning three qualifying legs before the winter break. But at the John Hall Invitational today at Pinon Hills, the team showed signs of winter rust, finishing second with a team score of 330, one shot back of Hope Christian's winning score of 329.
Trey and Tyler said the team is still knocking off the rust from the winter layoff, and they are optimistic the squad will get back to full form for the 6A state tournament at Spring River in Roswell May 8-9.
Yost said he, too, likes the team's chances to compete for a podium spot in Roswell.
"The kids are getting better, and I think they're going to get even better in the next month. We're going to have a chance," Yost said. "We're going to have a chance, and that's all I can ask for."
Karl Schneider is the sports editor for The Daily Times. He can be reached at 505-564-4648.