Murphy’s fifth place leads locals at RVR

Jon Mitchell
Lauren Murphy of Glenwood Springs High School takes a shot from the fifth hole during the Class 4A State Championships at River Valley Ranch in Carbondale. Murphy is in fifth place headed into the second and final day of the tournament today.
Colleen O’Neil / Post Independent |

CARBONDALE — As happy as Lauren Murphy was with her first-round performance at the Class 4A State Championships, she understood the irony of where her one bad hole came.

“My worst hole,” the freshman playing for Glenwood Springs High School said, “came on the hole that I live on.”

That hole would be hole No. 17 at River Valley Ranch Golf Club, which is a Par 5 hole with a slight dogleg to the left. But a couple of unfortunate shots left her with a triple bogey, moving her from six shots off the lead to nine shots headed into today’s second round.

Even after that one hole, Murphy still finished at 7-over 79. That came thanks in part to a 20-foot birdie putt on the first hole to go with birdies on hole Nos. 7 and 13 that, at one point, had Murphy within reasonable striking distance of tournament leaders Jennifer Kupcho of Jefferson Academy, Erin Sargent of Silver Creek and Kylee Sullivan of Cheyenne Mountain. Kupcho, the defending 4A state champion, leads after shooting a first-round 2-under 70.

“I am totally happy with my first round. Let’s hope they can get the second one in.”Lauren MurphyGlenwood Springs High School girls golf team

It still could be within reasonable striking distance considering the weather forecasts for today. The golf course was expected to be wet and soggy for today’s final round, which in many ways could reopen the field to players who adapt more quickly.

“I am totally happy with my first round,” Murphy said. “Let’s hope they can get the second one in.”

Sullivan is three strokes behind Kupcho in the team standings at 1 over, with Sargent (2 over), Mullen’s Hannah More (6 over) and Murphy following.

Murphy wasn’t the only Garfield County golfer in the field. Coal Ridge High senior Melissa Steinbach is making her fourth state-tournament appearance.

Steinbach, who teed off on the 10th hole, had a tremendous first-nine holes and made the turn with a score of 6-over 42. That included a 45-foot birdie putt that she nailed on the Par 4 fifth hole, which wound up being her only birdie of the tournament so far. She heads into the second round at 16-over 88.

The other local athlete in the tournament, Rifle freshman Elly Walters, had a rough outing during her first state-tournament round. She was 11 over after nine and was only able to save par once on the final nine holes on her way to a first-round score of 93, which tied Palisade’s Aly Shuman for 37th place. It was an uncharacteristic round for Walters, whose previous high score this season came April 24 during cold and windy conditions at the Aspen Invitational at RVR.

Tournament play begins again at 8:30 a.m. today. Walters tees off at 8:39 on hole No. 1, Steinbach tees off of the first hole at 9:15 a.m., and Murphy will tee off at 10:18 a.m.

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