Breezy conditions don’t make things easy
Friday at River Valley Ranch, Carbondale
1. Montrose 277; 2. Palisade 279; 3. Eagle Valley 288; 4. Dolores 289; 5. Rifle 291; 6. (tie) Fruita Monument, Glenwood Springs 296; 8. Aspen 305; 9. Grand Junction 306; 10. Coal Ridge 322; 11. Gunnison 347; 12. Moffat County 348; 13. Grand Valley 360; 14. Battle Mountain 371.
TOP 20 INDIVIDUALS
1. Kiselya Plewe, Dolores, 76; 2. Lauren Murphy, Glenwood Springs, 87; 3. Shannon Wise, Palisade, 88; 4. Elly Walters, Rifle, 89; 5. (tie) *Melissa Steinbach, Coal Ridge, Mikayla McKie, Montrose, and Dolores Sharaf, Aspen, 90; 8. Taylor Sanchez, Eagle Valley, 91; 9. Aly Shuman, Palisade, 92; 10. Brooke Brennecke, Montrose, 93; 11. Bethany Wells, Montrose, 94; 12. Baily Summers, Grand Junction, 95; 13. Allyson Ludewig, Eagle Valley, 96; 14. Katie Rice, Fruita, 97; 15. (tie) Hannah Carver, Palisade, and Ryanne Buch, Fruita, 99; 17. (tie) Toni Booth, Rifle, and Hannah Thornburg, Fruita, 100; 19. Hayley Weak, Gunnison, Nicole Mathews, Eagle Valley, 101; 21. (tie) Cheyanne Williams, Coal Ridge, Audrey Jones, Glenwood Springs, and Caitlin Morgan, Rifle, Keyanna Matteson, Dolores, and Alex Hanley, Montrose,102.
* — Took fifth place on a scorecard tiebreaker.
CARBONDALE — Audrey Jones was doing a lot more than chasing her golf ball around on Friday. It turned out she was also chasing her umbrella.
“When I was out on hole No. 7, I put up my umbrella and it got caught in the wind,” the junior on the Glenwood Springs High School girls golf team said with a smile. “Then it fell into a sand trap and, after I chased it, it kept blowing away and finally landed in someone’s front yard. It was really embarrassing.”
Jones, however, wasn’t the only golfer during Friday’s Aspen Invitational girls golf tournament who had trouble with the cold and windy conditions at River Valley Ranch. Unlike the Rifle Invitational at Rifle Creek Golf Course where warmth and sunshine accompanied the gale-force winds at the April 14 tournament, snowflakes occasionally fell from the sky during this tournament.
Those, mind you, were snowflakes that came with wind strength that easily rivaled the strength of the wind at the Rifle tournament. Sometimes, those winds might have been even stronger.
“There was a time on [No. 15] when I was on the tee box, and after I teed off, the wind took my club and it spun me around on the follow through,” Grand Valley’s Kayla Holbrook said. “Then when I was on 18, it hit it just right down the center of the fairway, and the wind must have blown my ball about 50 yards to the left and into the water.
“Yep,” she added with a smirk. “It was that kind of day.”
That wind once again, however, didn’t seem to bother Dolores junior Kiselya Plewe one bit. Just like she overcame the windy conditions in Rifle to win that tournament, she blew away the RVR tournament field with a 4-over 76 for an 11-stroke victory in the individual standings.
Finishing second individually was Glenwood Springs High freshman Lauren Murphy, a Colorado Rocky Mountain School student who has never finished lower than second place in any tournament that she’s played in this season. Finishing third and one stroke behind Murphy with an 88 was Palisade’s Shannon Wise, with Rifle’s Elly Walters finishing just one stroke behind Wise at 89. Taking fifth place was Coal Ridge senior Melissa Steinbach, who tied with Mikayla McKie of Montrose and Dolores Sharaf of Aspen with a 90 but won the fifth-place medal via scorecard handicap tiebreaker.
Montrose (277) edged Palisade (279) for the team title. Rifle was fifth with 291, with Glenwood tying Fruita Monument for sixth with a 296. Coal Ridge was 10th with a 322, and Grand Valley was 13th in the 14-team field with a 360.
Rifle’s Toni Booth has a big role in helping the Bears to their fifth-place finish, though the big gusts of wind played a big part in keeping her from breaking 100.
“When I was teeing off on 1, I hit the ball and … it really seemed like my ball hung in the air forever,” said Booth, who finished in a tie for 17th place with Hannah Thornburg of Fruita with a 100. “My second shot would have hit the green for sure under normal conditions, but it came up about seven feet short.
“Still,” she added, “the weather we’ve had so far has been way better than last season.”
Booth wasn’t the only person who said that on Friday, noting the horizontal snow that blew across Rifle Creek during the Rifle Invite in 2014. Of course, there’s plenty of lessons to be learned in dealing with the temperamental weather during a Colorado springtime.
Some players noted that they’d wait until a steady gust of wind had died down to take any kind of shot. Others, like Glenwood’s Melissa Thrun, said her approach is to simply “play it safe” and conservative during her round knowing that taking a chance in windy conditions like Friday could blow a score out of control.
Then, of course, there’s the aspect of staying warm. Coal Ridge freshman Cheyanne Williams said she got so cold that her wrists wouldn’t break on her swing, which caused her shots to veer far to the right.
“It’s all about making good contact,” she said. “That was really hard though. It got so, so cold out there.”
Holbrook wound up with a 133, with teammate Jori Dovey carding a 109 and Erika Anderson carding a 119 for Grand Valley. Williams had a 102 and her teammate, Brittany Rhodes, finished with a 130. For Glenwood, Callie Jones had a 107, Jordan DeCrow — who admitted that she should have worn pants instead of shorts in the tournament — had a 109 to go with Thrun’s 113. Rifle’s Caitlin Morgan had a 102, Jacey Hauer added a 108 and Raychel Page finished with a 110.
River Valley Ranch will serve host to the Class 4A State Championships, which take place May 18 and 19.
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