Freshman golfer leads the way to 2nd
MONTROSE — After the final putt dropped in the hole, Moffat County freshman Meghan Innes hopped, skipped and jumped her way off the green. She gave her mom a hug, then hugged her coach and smiled big.
“I broke 90, I broke 90,” she said with a big smile.
For the first time, she had broken into the 80s, and on the difficult and windy Black Canyon Golf Course, that was going to be a hard score to beat.
Only two other golfers, Aspen’s Kristin Walla (77) and Glenwood Spring’s Jacy Reynolds (82) finished better. Emma Watson of Cedaredge and Kammi Ivie of Glenwood also turned in 89s.
Innes’ stellar score helped the Bulldogs to a second-place team finish.
“I was excited,” she said. “I set a goal of an 89, and I did it exactly.”
All four Moffat golfers finished with three groups still to play. At that point, the team score of 290 was in first place, and Innes had the lead. Senior Kaylee Perry was also in position to qualify for the state tournament with a score of 100.
As the final groups came in, the Bulldogs started to slip in position. Innes dropped to third, and Perry moved down to a three-way tie for 12th. Ivie and Reynolds also put the Glenwood Springs team in first with a score of 272. Only the first-place team from the Western Regional earns a trip to state.
“It was way nerve-racking,” Perry said about waiting for all of the scores to come in.
The top eight individuals who aren’t on the first-place team qualify for the state tournament. When the two Glenwood golfers’ scores were removed, Perry was in a three-way tie for 10th. She finished her golfing career with a playoff to be the second and third alternate for state.
“I was happy with my day,” she said.
Sophomore Amber Nicholson (101) and junior Amy Coulter (108) were disappointed that things didn’t quite go as well as they would have hoped, but Hamilton didn’t think they had anything to hang their heads about.
“Second place as a team is great,” she said. “There were points where they could have blown it but didn’t. I thought they played the wind better than the first time we were down here.”
Nicholson said her low point was on the ninth hole, where she four-putted.
Coulter said her fairway play was horrible, but she found consolation in receiving “my first ribbon since fourth grade.” The team received a trophy and individual ribbons for the accomplishment.
With her best score ever, Innes earned a trip to the state tournament. She said a birdie on 14 and her ability to navigate the 17th hole successfully were the day’s highlights.
Before her tee shot on the 17th, Innes turned to Hamilton and said, “I hate this one.”
The 17th fairway is intimidating from the tee. It doglegs to the left and sets up a difficult approach to the green. In front of the green, there’s water to the right and a threat of out-of-bounds to the left. Innes’ second shot hopped toward the water but stayed inbounds, and she survived the hole without any penalties.
“After 17, I knew I was going to have a good day,” she said. “That hole scares me, but I picked the right time to have a good day.”
She followed up a 47 on the front nine with a 42 on the back.
“I had a 47, and I wanted to keep it up,” she said.
The second-place team finish was the second in three years for the Bulldogs. Two years ago, they finished behind Eagle Valley with Brittany Hutton and Morgan Cobb earning individual berths at state.
With three of four golfers as well as the top two junior varsity golfers returning next year, the Bulldogs already are talking regional title.
“They improve everyday,” Hamilton said. “Glenwood loses three seniors, so we could be there next year.”
Innes will have a week-and-a-half to prepare for the state meet at Cotton Ranch Golf Course in Eagle. Her teammates were deciding what they wanted to write on their shirts. A couple ideas were “Meghan Rocks!” and “We love Meghan!”
They, too, will have a week-and-a-half to come up with more shirt ideas.
David Pressgrove can be reached at 824-7031 or email@example.com.
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