Hilts helps Mavs lead own golf tourney

Jennifer Hilts wasn’t pleased with her first round, but it was good enough to lead the Quality Inn Mesa State Fall Invitational.

The Mesa State College sophomore shot a seven-over-par 78 on Monday at Tiara Rado Golf Course. She leads the tournament by three strokes over Regis’ Lara Pocs, Alex Semanko and Mesa teammate Jessica Berve.

“I had some bogeys on the front, but nothing too drastic,” Hilts said. “I didn’t have any big blow-up hole. I went in the water on 13 and got a double, but other than that ...

“I was having issues hitting the ball solid. I had some good birdies. The greens were fast. They were rolling well. I had to putt good. I felt like I didn’t play very good today, but at least I kept it in the 70s. I’m trying to get my bad days to be high 70s and my good days in the low 70s.”

Hilts is looking for her second consecutive win after claiming the Regis Invitational last week in Lakewood.

The Mavericks lead the four-team race with a 329. Regis is second at 334, Adams State is third at 357 and Colorado Christian is fifth at 358.

“At the end of the day, the girls, Coach (Scott) Hansen and myself have high expectations for these guys,” said Mesa State Athletic Director and former coach Butch Miller, who is filling in for Hansen, who is with the men’s team in Aurora.

“They’re probably frustrated, but they battled and didn’t give up. That’s all you can ask for. You’re not going to have a good day every time you step out there. It was one of those days; we had two or three struggling and you count four.

“I don’t think we putted well. Downhill putts at Tiara Rado are going to be fast and we didn’t make adjustments. That was the biggest thing. In between I don’t know if we did much.”

Mesa’s Afton Balling is seventh after an 84, Michelle Stripp is ninth at 86 and Kristina Casillas is tied for 10th at 87.

“It’s a great group,” Miller said. “We feel we’re seven deep. I think that’s helped us. I have no doubt tomorrow they’ll come and play good. The course is set up awesome. The greens are rolling fast and that’s a good thing.”

Men’s Golf

John Savage led the Mavericks with a first-round score of 78 Monday in the Colorado School of Mines/Regis Fall Invitational at Blackstone Country Club in Aurora.

The men usually play 36 holes (two rounds) on the first day of an invitational, but ice and cold weather forced a three-hour delay.

Mesa State is in 10th place in the 13-team field with 319. Johnson & Wales (Fla.) University leads the tournament with 289. Wayland Baptist (Texas) University and Colorado Mines are tied for second with 295. CSU-Pueblo is fourth with 297.

Wayland Baptist’s Jonathan Elliott posted a three-under-par 69 and leads by one stroke over Joonas Hinkkanen of Johnson & Wales, Jim Knous of Colorado Mines and Markus Hilger of Fort Hays (Kan.) State.

Savage is tied for 31st. Mesa’s Cody Miller shot 79, Brandon Bingaman 80, Michael Reeve 82 and Eric Farmer 90.


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