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Rifle wins Western Regionals

Post Independent/Kelley Cox
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CARBONDALE ” Cedaredge’s Emma Watson carded a first-place 86 at Tuesday’s Western Regional girls golf tournament at Aspen Glen Golf Course, winning by seven strokes.

That was the easy part.

Breaking the tie between Trisha Wailes and Ashley Chastain of Rifle and Moffat County’s Amber Nicholson, who all shot 93s to tie for second, was the hard part.



After all shot bogies on the first two holes and double bogeys on the third hole of the tiebreaker, Wailes landed her drive on the par three hole four, right on the green. Two putts later, she parred the hole for a second-place finish.

“Finally got the seven iron to come through for me,” Wailes said. “I thought it would never end ” seriously. It was getting cold, and I think we were all getting a little tired.”



For Wailes, who crushed the ball off the tee and had three of four tiebreaking drives go farther than Chastain’s or Nicholson’s, it was her best performance of the season.

“I haven’t placed at any other tournament, and I finally did it at regionals when it really counts,” Wailes said. “It’s amazing.”

After sending her drive into the sand and taking two strokes to get out, Chastain settled for fourth place. Walking down fairways together, cheering each other on and laughing all the way, Wailes and Chastain supported each other throughout the whole tiebreaker process.

“She’s my girl,” Wailes said of Chastain. “We’ve been through thick and thin, and she’s pulled out in front of me the whole time, and it’s finally good to be equal.”

With their finishes, both Bears landed invitations to the Class 4A state championship on Monday and Tuesday at Elmwood Golf Course in Pueblo. The top 12 golfers from the Western Region will compete at state.

“I knew we could do it,” Wailes said. “True colors show when it counts.”

Wailes’ and Chastain’s scores, along with a 97 from Kori Kosht, netted Rifle a team score of 283 for a Western Regional title against 10 other teams. Kosht tied for seventh and will also go to state.

Led by Emily Hauptli’s 97 and Lisa Richards’ 100, the Glenwood Springs golf squad shot a 305 to tie for fourth place. Hauptli, who had her best round of the season, tied for seventh and will compete at the state championship.

“My drives were really good,” Hauptli said. “I started playing better short game on the back nine.”

Richards and three other golfers tied for 11th with scores of 100 and also had to return to the course for a tiebreaker. This one went much faster than the battle for second as Richards won it on the first hole.

“Everyone had a five-foot putt and missed it, and I had a two- or three-foot putt and made it for bogey,” said Richards, who will also be competing at state. “It was good. It was fun, nerve-racking, but you just have to take it stroke by stroke, and I did it.”

After missing a few short putts throughout the day, Richards was determined to sink the one that mattered most.

“I had putts that I just didn’t hit to the hole. They just sat, so I had to take that extra stroke to just pop it in. I had five of those today, and then on the last hole I was like, ‘I am not leaving this short. I don’t care if I blow it by ” it is going in the hole,'” Richards said.

Coal Ridge shot a 450 to take ninth in the tournament, with Callie Schlegel and Kayla Groves hitting 147s and Nadine Chavez hitting a 156. Shari Heikkle and Danielle Noble carded a 151 and a 160, respectively, for Grand Valley, who only had two girls competing and couldn’t compete for a team score.


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