NEW CASTLE, Colorado - Coal Ridge High School's Melissa Steinbach got some early momentum at Lakota Canyon Golf Club on Wednesday. It didn't lead to a victory, but it led to what was, by far, her best round of the year as an individual.
Steinbach carded an 87, making par on the first three holes she played to top her previous season-best round by eight strokes at the Coal Ridge Invitational.
"I don't know what it was," and ecstatic Steinbach said. "I guess I was just focused enough to get it done."
She wasn't the only one who was focused on Wednesday. Taylor Walters and Alyx Carter of Rifle finished first and second in the individual standings, helping the Bears win the team championship.
Walters, who last week committed to play golf at Colorado Mesa University in Grand Junction, was solid. She didn't have a birdie in her round, but shot par on 11 of the 18 holes she played. She nearly had a birdie to finish her round on the par-5 18th hole, but she two-putted after her third shot from the fairway landed seven feet from the cup. She finished with a back-nine score of 42.
Carter was consistent, netting birdies on holes 12 and 14. Double bogies on 6 and 16, however, hurt her overall round. Her front-nine score of 41, however, helped her come in just behind her teammate.
There wasn't much that went wrong with Steinbach's round in her eyes, however. She netted a birdie on the par-4 10th, nailing a 30-yard putt to cap her best hole of the day.
"There is kind of a slope," she admitted, adding, "I'm not even sure how I got it in."
Rifle finished with a first-place team score of 275, with Aspen finishing three strokes back in second. Moffat County was third with 318, followed by fourth-place Glenwood Springs (328) and Battle Mountain (347).
The top finisher for the Glenwood Springs girls was MaClay Bruce, who finished with a score of 102 to pace the Demons. She was right in the thick of things on the front nine with a 45, but an 11 on the 10th hole and a 10 on the 18th set her score back.
Birdies on the third and fifth holes helped her to finish where she did. Bruce is still trying to get her game back to the level it was at when she carded a 91 at Chipeta Golf Course in Grand Junction last March.
"I'd like to get back down into the 90s, and maybe into the 80s by the end of the season," Bruce said.
Also faring well for Glenwood on the day was Kylie Flemming (106) and Audrey Jones (120). Emily Neuroth capped the Bears' scoring with a 109, and Coal Ridge golfer Allie Hay carded a 117. Delores Sharaf of Aspen finished fourth overall with a 90.
Aspen, Battle Mountain, Eagle Valley and Delta joined Coal Ridge, Rifle and Glenwood at the tournament. Each team will be on the course again today when Aspen hosts a tournament at River Valley Ranch in Carbondale.