Heather Nicholson finishes 24th at golf state championship
When Moffat County High School golfer Heather Nicholson chipped a shot on the 10th hole at Patty Jewett Golf Course and had it land on the green, a feeling of relief came over her.
It was time to start having fun again.
On Monday and Tuesday, Nicholson, a junior, was in Colorado Springs competing in the girls state golf championship. After a rough first day, she found her shot the second time around the course.
“My head wasn’t in it (Monday),” she said. “I guess I had a different mindset (Tuesday).”
The first day of the tournament, she shot 96 on the par-74 course, which dropped her to 42nd place. On her second day, she shot an 85 to give her a final score of 181 – good for 24th place.
The state champion, Emily Wood, of Salida High School, shot a combined 152.
Nicholson said she wasn’t just battling with competitors on the course her first day – high temperatures and nerves got in her way.
But on the second day of state, there was more cloud coverage, the jitters had disappeared and Nicholson was able to focus on her game.
“I realized that it was just golf,” she said. “I had made it that far, and I just wanted to play for fun.”
That fun included a birdie on a par five for the MCHS junior.
Another part of her turn around was where she started on the course. Monday she started on hole one, and Tuesday she started on 10.
“It was a good change-up,” she said. “It was good to get a different look.”
The first day of the tournament, Nicholson wasn’t the only golfer having problems, coach Ann Marie Roberts said.
“I was surprised, actually, because her 96 put her in 42nd out of 84 golfers,” she said. “Today, I think she finished in the top ten, and if it wasn’t for her 96 the first day, she would have finished higher.
“If you’re going to shoot bad, shoot bad the first day. That way, you don’t shoot yourself out of it.”
Roberts said there were several problems with Nicholson’s first day.
“Yesterday, I think she was nervous,” Roberts said. “She three-putted quite a bit, her chipping was awful, and it cost her.”
One day later, it was a different story for the golfer.
“Today, everything was going good,” Roberts said. “It was fun to watch.”
Nicholson said she felt more comfortable in her stance the second day.
One of the things Nicholson wasn’t worried about was the competition.
“There were a lot of girls from the Denver area, and they have more time to play than girls from the Western Slope,” she said. “But I don’t think about that. I go out and play myself.”
For the summer, Nicholson will continue to compete in women’s tournaments and hone her short game.
The team will have weekly practices during the summer, Roberts said.
“Next year will be a lot more fun,” Roberts said. “I have high hopes for next year.”
Nicholson, along with sophomores Nike Cleverly and Callie Papoulas and freshmen Sam Fox, all will hit the links again for the Bulldogs.
Roberts said Nicholson’s strong showing at the end of the state tournament bodes well for next year.
“It was a good season for Heather – she medaled at every tournament,” Roberts said. “I see a lot bigger and better things for her in the future.”
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