Prep golf coaches use Palisade Invite to give youngsters a chance to play
The high school girls golf season is just getting started.
Most Western Slope teams have been practicing for two weeks and took advantage of Thursday’s Palisade Invitational at Chipeta Golf Course to play some rounds against competition.
“This is a positive thing for the girls,” Palisade coach Jan Norell said. “It gives them a chance to get out and hit some balls against competition.”
Palisade finished second with 246 points, led by Kate Shuman’s 72.
Along with Shuman, the rest of the Bulldogs varsity will be made up of Savannah Latham, Nicole Summy and returning state-qualifier Sam Blair.
Chipeta is an executive course — mostly par-3s and some short par-4s.
Central didn’t bring its top four players for the event and was led by Shannon Jacquez’s 81.Warriors coach Casey Doss said the short course is a good start for inexperienced players.
“It’s an excellent course because of the shortness and it’s big greens to shoot at,” Doss said. “(Thursday) was all about improving the swing, and getting some experience because some of these girls have no experience in tournament golf.”
Central’s varsity will be led by returning state qualifier Brittany Hoppe, along with Sarah Robbins, Jordan Eller and Kendra Martinez.
“We are going to have three solid scores every tournament,” Doss said. “And it may not be the same girls every time.”
Fruita Monument followed Central’s approach, choosing not to bring its varsity to the event. The Wildcats’ top scorer Thursday was Kelsey Ruse’s 86.
Wildcats coach Tim Coit said he used the tournament as an opportunity to get a look at his younger players.
“I use this as a freshman tryout,” Coit said. “I like to see what they can do under the gun. It’s competition and it’s a really easy way to do it.”
The Wildcats’ varsity will be led by returning state-qualifiers Jessica Sinner and Summer Igo.
“Sinner will be good,” Coit said. “She’ll have a good year, she’s committed and focused.”
Other possible varsity players for Fruita are Alison Sessum and Hannah Englbrecht.
Grand Junction did bring its varsity and finished with a score of 254. Clay Tufly replaced Kevin LaDuke as head coach and Tufly said he’s excited about the group.
The Tigers’ varsity is led by returning state-qualifier Jordan Tufly followed by Kori Kerkman, Maya Freismuth, Kaylena Chessani, Camille Goodsell and Hanna Starrit.
“We want the girls to have a good time when they come out,” Tufly said. “We wanted to get out so we know how it’s going to feel to play 18 holes of tournament golf.”
Freismuth led the Tigers with an 83.
Montrose won the tournament with a 231, and had the top medalist in Kala Keltz, who shot a 67.