Forney pulls away at Triple Play tourney

Central graduate wins by three shots

Loren Forney of Grand Junction watches her drive from the ninth tee during the final day of the Triple Play golf tournament at Redlands Mesa golf course..

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Loren Forney of Grand Junction watches her drive from the ninth tee during the final day of the Triple Play golf tournament at Redlands Mesa golf course..

Loren Forney entered the Western Slope Triple Play golf tournament with the lowest handicap of any of the 69 women’s entries, a 3.1 at her home course, Grand Junction’s Lincoln Park.

Danielle Atkinson had the second-lowest handicap in the field, a 6.1, gleaned mostly at her home course, The Pinery, south of Denver.

Form held over the three-day women’s tournament played on three local courses, Bookcliff Country Club, Tiara Rado Golf Course and Redlands Mesa Golf Club.

Forney stormed back from a five-shot deficit in Friday’s first round at Bookcliff to overtake Atkinson on the front nine on Sunday at Redlands Mesa and win the tournament title by three strokes, shooting rounds of 80-73-75 for a 228 total. Atkinson had rounds of 75-77-79 to finish at 231.

Finishing third at 82-76-81—239 was Tami Holt of Glenwood Springs.

For Forney, a 2010 Central High School grad, the win in the rebirth of what was once the popular Elam Classic BLT women’s tournament was a welcome return to competition that this summer has amounted to Monday night Ladies Club nine-hole tournaments at Lincoln Park.

“That’s about all I do,” she said, “live at Lincoln Park. I mow greens, work in the pro shop and play when I can.”

Forney will soon be playing more, having transferred from Portland State (Ore.) where she played on the golf team, to Colorado Mesa, where she will finish her NCAA eligibility as a senior next year.

She gave the Portland State experience as one reason she won over the weekend, citing wet conditions on Sunday that made the Redlands Mesa course play much longer than normal as an advantage.

“I played a lot of golf in Oregon and played in a lot of wet conditions. This was no big deal, not compared to Oregon. This was just like college golf for me,” Forney said.

Forney also said a hot Friday afternoon at Bookcliff was not a negative factor for her.

“We used to be members there and I have played it quite a bit. My mom caddied for me and we both walked (on Friday). I don’t know if I would do that again if I had a choice, but we got through it,” she said.

Atkinson wasn’t as familiar with the local courses as Forney, having played Bookcliff only once, Tiara Rado a handful of times and Redlands Mesa “maybe 10 times.”

Still, she said it was an old friend, the putter, that let her down.

“On the front nine, I couldn’t get comfortable on any of my putts,” she said of the turning point of the tournament, with Atkinson’s 40 giving the lead to Forney’s 36. 

Despite the disappointment with the putter, Atkinson said she had a great weekend striking the ball.

“It was the second hole on Friday when I told myself, just go with it; make the swing and hit it solid. I did that all weekend.”

Atkinson also said she would be back.

“I learned about the tournament from a flyer I got in Moab (Utah). I had heard of the BLT, but didn’t know what the Triple Play was until someone told me it was pretty much the old BLT on three courses,” Atkinson said. “I love the format and will do it again — and next time, I’m going to bring some players (from the Front Range) with me.”

Tournament notes: Sunday’s play at Redlands Mesa was indeed wet and wild. The sand traps were all played as ground under repair due to standing water.

The fourth-place gross finisher in the first flight, Redlands Mesa’s Jackie Skelton, had one of the lower rounds on Sunday, a 79, working her way back from Friday’s opener at Bookcliff.

“I shot myself in the foot (on Friday) with an 89,” Skelton said. “That’s after shooting a 78 on Tuesday in a practice round.”

Skelton wasn’t about to use the heat on Friday as an excuse for her poor round.

“It was just one of those days. I like the heat. I’m an afternoon girl and don’t like having to get up and get ready to play by 8 o’clock.”

Bookcliff’s Lyn Bullen struggled a bit to finish in the middle of the first flight, but was one of many who gave a positive review. “It was brutal out there,” she said of her effort. “But this is a great format and it should just get better and better.

Bullen was also happy to get more than her entry fee back, winning the tournament shootout with partner Tami Holt to grab a piece of the $1,000 prize.

Quote of the Day:  “You want an adjective?” asked Connie Badini, who played in the second flight. “Untalented!”

Badini then went on to explain how she managed to squeeze 19 shots into two holes on her way to a 94.

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