Area golfers ready for regionals

Phil Sandoval

It’s not just a tournament. To area prep girls golfers, today’s Class 4A Western area regional tournament is the event of the year.

A lot will be riding on the line when 10 Western Slope teams, including Glenwood Springs, Rifle and Grand Valley, tee off this morning at the Cotton Ranch Golf Club course in Gypsum.

The winning four-person team and the next nine golfers with the lowest scores will play at the two-day 4A state golf tournament in Arvada on May 19-20.

Everyone else in the field can pack their clubs in the closet until next year.

Glenwood and Rifle have played Cotton Ranch earlier this season, so they have experience with the course. But it’s still tough to play, according to Demon coach Kathy Whiting.

“Cotton Ranch is a narrow course with lots of rough and water hazards around it. It’s not a forgiving course and you can get into trouble early,” Whiting said.

Rifle coach Doug Bair agrees.

“If you play safe and hit the ball where you see it, it’s fine,” Bair said.

Both coaches said avoiding making bad shots is a key to obtaining a state berth.

“We’ve got to make good decisions and not beat ourselves up for making a bad shot,” Whiting said. “We have to play each shot like it’s a new shot.”

“We adopted a `play your favorite club,’ philosophy the last time we played here. That helped,” said Bair.

Weather, along with the narrow course, could also become a factor.

“Usually there’s a lot of wind that comes up in the afternoon at Cotton Ranch,” said Whiting.

Three of the four Demon golfers – Jacy Reynolds, Ali Tonozzi and Michelle Whidden – have regional tournament experience.

Junior Kammi Ivie is the other player in Glenwood’s foursome.

All four golfers are “at the top of their games,” and should be in the hunt, Whiting said.

Reynolds, a sophomore, shot an 82 and finished second at last week’s Aspen Invitational. Ivie and Whitten had career-best rounds at the River Valley Ranch Tournament in Carbondale two weeks ago, said Whiting, and Tonozzi “is very accurate with her approach shots.”

After a slow start, Rifle has improved weekly.

The Bears have momentum on their side after winning the team championship at last week’s Craig Invitational.

Jenny Hughes, a junior, is Rifle’s No. 1 golfer. The rest of the team includes seniors Caitlyn Wagner, Skylar Bell and Christian Holybee.

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