The Durango High School girls golf team hosted an 18-hole match Tuesday against Dolores at Hillcrest Golf Club. Though the top three Demons on the varsity team beat the Bears’ best trio by nearly 100 strokes, the Durango newcomers – some of whom had never even played 18 holes – came away with the biggest victory of the day.
Durango senior Katrina Chandler earned medalist honors and shot her best round to date with a 90, 19-over par at the par-71 course. Quinn Griswold broke 100 for the first time with 99, while Lauren Biery and Faith Mewmaw shot 101. The 290 total from the top-three players was 98 better than Dolores’ 388.
“I don’t even know what I did differently out there this time,” Chandler said. “In golf, you either hit it good or you don’t, and I hit it good out there. I was just trying to make good contact.”
Chandler has plenty of experience competing at the high school level, but many of her teammates had none to start the day. Demons freshman Grace Meyer played alongside Chandler and had a memorable start to her high school golf career and first 18-hole round of golf.
“I got up there and realized that my nose was bleeding really bad,” Meyer said. “I had to play for a while with my nose plugged. It was awesome, though. I think I played well for the most part and I just loved being out there.”
Meyer shot 125 and was one of several Durango first-timers when it comes to tournament play. After the round, she shared experiences with fellow freshman Claudia Luthy, who had also completed her first full 18-hole round in competitive action. Luthy had a bizarre incident similar to Meyer’s.
“I was surprised at how physically demanding the 18-hole walk really is,” she said. “I needed a break, so I sat on a bench and got stung by a hornet. I loved playing out there, but I need to work on my consistency.”
While many schools have trouble finding enough athletes to fill a golf team, the Demons had an impressive 18 players commit to the girls program this season, and 17 played Tuesday.
“I didn’t see those kind of numbers coming,” Durango head coach Kirk Rawles said. “We try to keep the game as fun as we can, but these girls aren’t afraid to work. It’s important for the girls to get some miles on the course and get over some of that intimidation factor.”
Mewmaw knows all about the intimidation factor. As a freshman, she was the only Demon to make it to the state tournament last year and has the experience under her belt to help the others deal with playing under pressure.
“I let them know every time they are nervous that it’s OK to be nervous because everyone’s nervous,” she said. “They’re all so nice and interested in learning. I try to make sure they know the rules and all that. They all work so hard at practice, too, so I think it’s great that we have such a young team.”
Claire Nickerson shot 107; Natalie Biery shot 117; Grace Cornett carded 127; Liana Bygel posted 133; and another newcomer, Avery Wickes, fired 129 in her first 18-hole round.