Moffat County High School sophomore Heather Nicholson watches her tee shot last month while participating in the Bulldog Invitational. Nicholson and senior Meghan Innes competed Monday in the girls 4A state golf championships at Rolling Hills Country Club in Golden.

Photo by John Vandelinder

Moffat County High School sophomore Heather Nicholson watches her tee shot last month while participating in the Bulldog Invitational. Nicholson and senior Meghan Innes competed Monday in the girls 4A state golf championships at Rolling Hills Country Club in Golden.

A long way back

Moffat County High School golfers have tough first day at state

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Golf results

Results from girls 4A state golf championship tournament:

Rolling Hills Country Club, Golden

Par-73 5,809-yards

23. Meghan Innes 50-44 - 94

53. Heather Nicholson 55-56 - 111

Meghan Innes let out a sigh, followed by a long pause.

"It was bad," the Moffat County High School senior said of her round Monday in the girls 4A state championships. "My nerves really got to me. It was rough."

The first day of the two-day tournament didn't go as planned for MCHS' two golfers.

Innes finished with a 94 in her 18 holes of work, and sophomore Heather Nicholson shot a 111.

Moffat County coach Ann Marie Roberts said the weather was perfect and the course was beautiful, but Rolling Hills played anything but for the Bulldogs.

Innes and Nicholson entered the state tournament having shot their lowest rounds of the season at regionals, but Roberts said the state tournament is "an entirely different round of golf."

"The greens are slick. Really slick," she said. "It's actually a short course, but the greens, man they are fast."

Innes found out about the greens the hard way.

Starting in the last group on the 10th tee, Innes double-bogeyed the first four holes, needing 14 putts.

"The greens really slope a lot," Innes said. "It was my worst round of the season. Everything just felt off."

Roberts said Innes' start is what hurt her bid for a run at the state title.

"Right off the bat, she was eight over," Roberts said. "Before the fifth hole, she was that far back. It's hard on you when you realize that."

Innes birdied hole 14, cutting her strokes-over-par to seven, but she admitted she just couldn't put a complete game together.

"I wasn't in too much trouble out there," she said. "I only hit one hazard. In golf, everything has to come together, and today it didn't."

Nicholson said her nerves got the best of her in her first state tournament appearance.

"The first tee of the first hole was horrible," Nicholson said. "My nerves came up and hit me bad."

Nicholson started on the 10th hole and worked her way to a 55-56 for a 111 total.

"It wasn't that I had one or two bad holes," Nicholson said. "My whole round was bad. I kept finding ditches off the fairways. Off a tree and in to a ditch. Short drive : into the ditch. It was awful."

Second round action resumes today, and Roberts said the girls will have to shoot their best rounds if they plan on getting back into the tournament.

Innes is 20 shots back of the lead and Nicholson, 37.

"Meghan can still medal (top-10)," Roberts said. "And if Heather can get into the 80s, she'll be fine."

Both golfers have a plan for today's round.

"I have been trying for four years to get into the top-10," Innes - whose best finish was 12th two years ago - said. "I just have to come out and shoot my best round. I know it's possible."

For Nicholson, her tactic is simple:

"I have to start better," she said. "And stay away from the trees and ditches."

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