Tough greens created a true championship test at CommonGround Golf Course in Aurora.
Jessica Mason of Holy Family tamed the challenge on the par-72 setup Monday and Tuesday. The junior shot rounds of 3-under 69 and 1-under 71 to win the Colorado High School Activities Association Class 4A Girls Golf State Championship tournament by 10 shots. Sofia Choi, a junior at Mullen, also shot 71 on Tuesday and finished 6 over to take second place.
Emily Cheng led Discovery Canyon to the team title with her third-place finish at 8 over. The sophomore shot 78 on Monday and was four shots better Tuesday.
As a team, Discovery Canyon shot 53 over to run away with the championship. Windsor was another 34 shots behind the Thunder to take second. Mullen shot 94-over 526 to finish in third, two shots better than Cheyenne Mountain.
The Durango High School Demons placed sixth as a team, 12 shots behind Holy Family and two better than Northfield. There were 12 teams that had three players compete in order to record a team score.
“We’ve got mixed emotions about it, but I thought it was really good experience for our sophomores,” DHS head coach Kirk Rawles said. “To go up there and see what the big show is about and what they need to do the next two years was good for them.
“The course was pretty forgiving off the tee, but there was a lot of length to it,” Rawles continued, referencing the 5,920-yard layout with five par-5s and five par-3s. “If you did hit into the native area, it was pretty penalizing because it wasn’t a lateral hazard. We didn’t have a ton of issue dealing with the native grasses or fairway bunkers, but the biggest thing was the greens. They were undulating and massive. Trying to figure out the breaks and speed on them was difficult for us.”
In the 85-player field, Durango senior Lilly Tichi tied for 21st. She shot rounds of 87 both days with six pars in the opening round and seven Tuesday.
“She really just didn’t get anything going and had a few things like hitting into an old divot and that creating a more difficult shot,” Rawles said. “She would get in good positions and then just not hit the best of shots. But she had two really solid days. With her graduating and going to college, we are going to miss her a lot. We’ve had four great years having her on the team.”
DHS sophomore Natasha Walcott played into a tie for 33rd after she shot 88 on Tuesday to greatly improve upon Monday’s 97.
“She got it going on the back-nine stringing together a bunch of pars,” Rawles said of Walcott, who made five pars on the back during the round. “Her goal coming into this week was to break 90, and she was able to do that.”
Right behind Walcott was fellow sophomore Zayda Mestas, who shot rounds of 93 and 94 to tie for 35th. She made 10 pars in the two days.
“She was really pretty solid. If we can just get away from a couple of big numbers on holes here and there, we are going to be fine with her game going forward,” Rawles said.