A late spring snowstorm helped the Durango High School girls golf team earn its highest finish in team history after Tuesday’s second round of the Colorado High School Activities Association’s Class 4A girls state golf championship was canceled and the final scores from Monday’s first round held up, as the tournament was condensed into one day.
The Demons finished in third place after they shot a 73-over par 289 at Pelican Lakes Golf Club in Windsor. Monday’s opening round was one of the toughest in recent memory with snow, hail and wind all playing a crucial factor in the bitterly cold round on the par-72 course, which played at 5,226 yards and produced high team and individual scores.
On Monday, the host, Windsor High School, led the field after the first round and won the state championship with a 37-over 253. The Wizards claimed their second consecutive Class 4A state title. Niwot finished in second after it came into the clubhouse with a 58-over 274 after the first round.
Holy Family junior Hailey Schalk took first place after she shot an even-par 72 and was six shots better than Mullen’s Sophia Choi and Vista Peak’s Kylie Severin, who both tied for second.
Durango head coach Kirk Rawles said that his team wanted to earn the third-place finish on Tuesday.
“We got the news fairly early this morning, and we were up and ready to go at 6:45 a.m., ready to compete for third, but with another storm that was rolling through the Front Range, we knew that we wouldn’t likely have played today,” Rawles said on Tuesday. “Last night at dinner when I told them we were in third, they were pretty excited because we knew that despite the conditions, we still played well enough to be in the chase and we wanted to earn that third-place finish fair and square, but we’ll take it none the less.”
Rawles said the conditions definitely played a factor in Monday’s scores.
“When they teed off, it was probably the most horrendous conditions that I’ve ever seen at a state finals as a coach,” Rawles said on Monday. “It was 37 degrees, windy and then started hailing into the second or third hole. That was kind of tough, but we factored that in, so a lot of the scores reflected that.
“The course played a little bit longer as a result of all of the moisture, and it was already set up to play longer. Madalen Meier shot a bit above her average and so did Lilly Tichi, while Quinn (Griswold) couldn’t get it going from the start, but she still shot a 106. The scores for all the teams are going to be fairly high today,” he said.
Meier led DHS and finished in 18th after she shot an 18-over 90 on Monday. On the front nine, she shot an 8-over 44 after she recorded four bogeys and saved par three times and had two double-bogeys. On the back nine, Meier shot 10-over and recorded two pars, four bogeys and three double-bogeys. Rawles said that by playing bogey-golf, she kept herself in contention for a top-10 finish.
“When we came out, we said bogey-golf was going to be pretty good, and that’s what Madalen shot,” Rawles said after Monday’s first round. “The conditions were really tough and to keep it steady at even a stroke or two above her average for a hole, she’s still playing solid, and I think tomorrow we’ll see how she does.”
Tichi was three strokes behind Meier and shot a 21-over 93, finishing at 23rd overall. She shot a 13-over on the front nine for a 49 and had one par, three bogeys and five double-bogeys. On the back nine, she was able to pull off some more pars, going 8-over, and she had a stretch of two consecutive pars but could not extend it after the 12th hole.
“Lilly shot the ball really solid ... but couldn’t get any long-term momentum going,” Rawles said. “She had two pars in a row, and we thought it might be the hole that could get her up and going, but then she’d miss a short putt or chip. She kept at it to have a solid finish.”
Griswold was unable to get her strong iron game going in the rough conditions and shot a 34-over 106 in her first round.
She was 20-over on the front nine. On the back nine, she shot 14-over, with a par on the par-3 17th hole.
“She just couldn’t get going, being all bundled up and all,” Rawles said. “The last few holes coming in, she played better.”
Rawles said it was about as good a finish to a season as he could ask for. “I thought you couldn’t have scripted it any better,” Rawles said.
“Two wins on the season, we took second at regionals and that translated at state. I think this was our best year as far as results go, and we’re extremely happy with the third-place finish.”