Three area golfers make 4A state tournament
MONTROSE — One area golfer is going to the Class 4A state golf tournament for the fourth time. Two others will make their first appearance.
Either way, three of Garfield County’s four schools with girls golf programs will have a representative at the Class 4A State Championships at River Valley Ranch in Carbondale thanks to their standout performances at the 4A Western Slope Regional at Cobble Creek Golf Course on Tuesday.
Glenwood Springs High freshman Lauren Murphy was the highest individual finisher among Garfield County players at the tournament, finishing fourth at 7-over 79. Right behind her was Rifle freshman Elly Walters, who finished tied for fifth place with Eagle Valley’s Taylor Sandoval at 82.
And not far behind them was Coal Ridge senior Melissa Steinbach, who carded an 85 and finished in eighth place. Each golfer earned a spot in the Class 4A State Championships, which will take place at RVR from May 18 to 19.
Steinbach netted her fourth consecutive state tournament berth, finishing just one stroke behind Reiley Waldo of Durango (84) in the individual rankings. It’s the lowest score she’s had since she finished at 84 to finish second at the Tiger Invitational at Bookcliff Country Club in Grand Junction on March 30.
The first time she qualified for state was back in 2012, when Caroline Tham-Johansson of Glenwood, a Swedish exchange student, tied Steinbach for third place in the regional tournament in Gunnison. Murphy broke that streak on Tuesday with her round, finishing fourth despite a week away from the golf course.
The Colorado Rocky Mountain School freshman who plays golf for Glenwood was away last week during the school’s annual spring outdoors trip, which is a regular part of the school’s curriculum. Still, her 79 not only gave her a fourth-place finish, but it helped give the Demons a third-place finish in the team standings with a score of 268. Montrose won it at 255, and Eagle Valley was second at 264.
“The girls were ecstatic,” Glenwood coach Clem Michel said. “This gives them a lot of hope for next year.”
Meanwhile, Walters earned her first state berth in her first regional tournament with her round, helping the Bears finish fifth in the team standings behind Palisade.
Winning the individual title was Dolores junior Kiselya Plewe, who finished at 1-over 73 to earn a two-stroke victory over Montrose’s Bethany Wells. The Indians, by virtue of the team championship, earned an automatic trip to state as a team.
The team hosting the tournament, Aspen High School, will have an alternate in the state field. Dolores Sharaf of Aspen, thanks to her 11th-place tie with Rifle’s Toni Booth at 93, will be the first alternate for the tournament should someone not be able to make it. Booth will be the second alternate and Glenwood’s Audrey Jones, who finished tied with Montrose’s Mikayla McKie for 13th at 95, will be the third alternate. McKie will go to state with her team.
Other finishers for Glenwood included Melissa Thrun at 104 and Callie Jones at 96.
For Coal Ridge, it was Cheyanne Williams at 100, Macy Elmer at 109 and Britanny Rhodes at 114. For Rifle, it was Caitlin Morgan (117) and Savannah Seay (102) finishing. Grand Valley’s finishers included Jori Dovey at 111, Ericka Anderson at 125 and Kayla Holbrook at 120.
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