Girls golf wins home tourney
It’s hard to imagine the Moffat County High School girls golf team coming away from its lone home tournament of the year, the Moffat County Invitational Tournament, with any better results.
MCHS competed against Glenwood Springs and Grand Valley on Thursday at Yampa Valley Golf Course. Seventeen players from the three schools competed.
• The Bulldogs finished with three of the top four individual scores of the tournament.
• They won their home tournament with a 279 combined team score, 13 strokes better than second-place Glenwood Springs (292) and 77 strokes better than Grand Valley (356).
• And, perhaps most importantly, they built momentum heading into Tuesday’s state qualifying regional tournament at Cobble Creek Golf Course in Montrose.
“It was fun,” coach Ann Marie Roberts said. “It was a great time. That was exciting for them to finish out (the regular season) like that.”
Three performances stood out for MCHS.
Junior Heather Nicholson, the team’s top player and finisher in each tournament this season, shot an 89. That earned her first-place in the tournament.
Although she won the tournament, Nicholson said she left a lot of strokes out on the course Thursday.
She struggled on the green, she said.
“I was really strong on my long game,” Nicholson said. “I was busting out drives I haven’t hit in a long time. : What really got me was my putting. A two-putt was actually good for me today.”
At one point, Nicholson said she four-putted on a par 3.
“I could have shot way less,” she said.
Had Nicholson been off a little more, she might have been caught by two of her teammates, sophomores Callie Papoulas and Nike Cleverly.
Papoulas, a rising player, finished four strokes behind Nicholson, with a 93. It was her first time breaking 100 in tournament play and her score was good for a second-place overall finish.
Cleverly also had never broken 100 in tournament play. She finished with a 97 on Thursday and a fourth-place finish, narrowly missing out on a medal.
“The three girls were so excited,” Roberts said. “Callie is probably walking 10 feet high right now.”
Each team’s top three scores were counted for the team total.
Nicholson said her teammates’ play was the high point of a season that has seen them improve over time.
“I was extremely impressed,” Nicholson said of the two sophomores. “Their ability has come a long way. Them both breaking 100 today meant a lot to them and to us.”
The team now is preparing for Tuesday’s state qualifying regional tournament at Cobble Creek Golf Course in Grand Junction. Earlier this season, Nicholson shot her best score of the year, 86, at Cobble Creek.
The top 10 scores qualify for state.
With the stakes higher, Nicholson said she’s focusing more.
“When I get into regional mode,” said Nicholson, who qualified for state last year, “I usually concentrate better, and it helps me play better.”
And, based on their play Thursday, it’s not hard to imagine MCHS sending three girls to the state tournament.
“I don’t want to go by myself,” Nicholson said.
Roberts said she’s also pleased that some of her players are heading into Tuesday’s event riding the confidence of the home tournament.
“It’s the right timing,” the coach said. “Now, if we can just carry it into Tuesday, it would be awesome.”
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