Freshman golfer prepped for state
Lately things have been quiet for Meghan Innes at golf practice. That’s good and bad for the Moffat County freshman.
“It’s been good to have the one-on-one time with (coach) Ann Marie (Hamilton),” she said. “But I miss all of the talking with my teammates.”
Innes has been preparing for the state tournament since she tied for third at the Western Regional on May 11 at Montrose’s Black Canyon Golf Course.
She and Hamilton leave Sunday for a practice round at Cotton Ranch Golf Course in Gypsum. The two-round, two-day Class 4A state tournament begins Monday at the course.
“I’m excited and nervous,” she said. “Part of me says that since I’m a freshman it’s more about the experience, but my competitive side wants me to do well.”
The trip to Gypsum will be the first for the coach and athlete. Hamilton, a Moffat County High School graduate, didn’t qualify for state during her time as a Bulldog, but she was competing against the boys.
“It will be an experience,” Hamilton said.
During the past week, Innes has been working on her short game. She said that her chipping had become worse during the season but had improved lately.
“My placement is improving,” she said. “The more chips that put me in place for a one-putt, the better.”
Cotton Ranch is a narrow course that often has hazards on both sides, which makes placement important, Hamilton said.
“We’ve put a lot of attention on placement this week,” the coach said. “Her chipping has improved immensely.”
The golfer and coach recognized that other than technical improvement, mental toughness is key in a high-pressure tournament like state.
Hamilton said her pupil has toughened up mentally as the season has progressed.
“She has learned to control her emotions and keep composed,” Hamilton said. “Early in the season, she didn’t do that well.”
Several early tournaments were frustrating to the point of tears for Innes. She has since realized why she would become so flustered.
“I would let bad shots stay with me,” she said. “I have worked on forgetting about those shots.”
As her coach said, “she needs to take it shot by shot.”
Innes mastered all aspects of her game at the right time this year. Her score of 89 at the regional tournament was her personal best for a round of 18. At state, her goal is to be around the same for both rounds.
“I want to be high 80s or low 90s,” she said. “Really I want to leave the course feeling happy about my performance.”
Hamilton said two good rounds could result in a top 10 placing for the freshman.
“She’s in the lower middle of the field going in,” the coach said. “A score around 160 for both days will probably win it. If she can be within 15 strokes of that, she’ll be close.”
There will be 73 golfers competing for the title in Gypsum. On Monday Innes is paired with Emma Watson of Cedaredge and Ashley Chastain of Rifle. They tee off at 9:15 a.m.
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