Rising star: Rifle’s Walters swings to 2nd at regionals
Post Independent Staff
Glenwood Springs, CO Colorado
CRAIG, Colorado – Rifle freshman Taylor Walters took on a senior and came up just short. Regardless, the young Bear had quite the introduction to regional golf.
Carding an 83 and forcing a one-hole playoff with Moffat County’s Heather Nicholson, Walters managed a second-place finish at her first 4A Western Regional girls golf tournament, held Tuesday at Yampa Valley Golf Course in Craig.
Walters shot a 44 on the front nine and a 39 on the back nine, securing a trip to the May 24-25 Class 4A state tournament at Cobble Creek Golf Course in Montrose.
“I started off really well,” Walters told the Craig Daily Press. “I was just trying to keep it together. … I was bogeying a lot on the front nine. I kind of knew where I was. I just said, ‘Keep grinding, and stay with it.'”
She did just that, forcing a playoff with Nicholson. Playing on her home course, the senior from Moffat County prevailed.
“Heather did great,” Walters said. “She deserved it.”
Walters will be joined at state by Allison Powell, whose round of 99 was good enough to earn her a spot.
As a team, Walters, Powell and the Bears finished behind only host Moffat County. Rifle, which draws players from nearby Coal Ridge as well as from its own school, posted a team score of 288. The host Bulldogs finished 12 strokes better.
All told, 11 golfers at Tuesday’s regional qualified for the state tournament.
Glenwood Springs’ Kelsey Warkentin shot a 95 and Stephanie Wilson a 99 to earn trips to state.
Warkentin, who will be making her second straight state appearance, rebounded from a disastrous start.
“I thought Kelsey really played within herself,” Demons coach Kathy Whiting said by phone on Tuesday. “Her first shot, she delivers it into the river, to the left and out of bounds. Same thing on No. 2. She ended up qualifying for state with a 95.”
Wilson had to come back from a 10 on No. 6 to pull things together.
“She could have just as easily folded up there,” Whiting said. “She came back and shot about five pars in a row. She just really rounded it up and performed after hitting a low.”
The Demons’ Haley Peterson might well make it to state, too. She shot a 101 and is second alternate should a berth come open.
As a team, Glenwood shot a 295 to finish fourth overall.
– Ben Bulkeley of the Craig Daily Press contributed to this report
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