Another crown: Salida’s Emily Wood wins second straight 4A golf title

Montrose’s Kala Keltz follows through on her second shot on the first hole Tuesday in the Class 4A state tournament at Cobble Creek Golf Course in Montrose. Keltz, a freshman, finished 10th.

MONTROSE — Back-to-back state championships weren’t enough for Salida High School golfer Emily Wood.

Tuesday at the Class 4A state tournament at Cobble Creek Golf Course, Wood overcame a four-shot deficit to win her second consecutive state championship by shooting a 3-under-par 69.

Wood’s 69 gave her a two-day total of 147.

Tuesday was the first time Wood ever has had a score under 70.

“I shot in the 60s, which as been a goal of mine forever,” Wood said.

Wood had to two-putt No. 18 to finish below 70. Wood’s approach shot put her in a great position to finish out strong.

“I knew I had the chance to get a 69,” Wood said. “My first putt was long, but my putting was good today so I wasn’t that nervous. It felt good to do it.”

Wood was in the final pairing with Regis Jesuit’s Kathleen Kershisnik and Allie Johnston of Rock Canyon. Both players are sophomores, and Johnston had the lead coming into the day with a 74.

Wood was four shots back when the second round started.

“This one feels a lot better,” Wood said. “I had to battle back and make up those four strokes.”

Wood overcame the deficit by playing a nearly flawless round, finishing with six birdies.

“I knew I could do it, I knew I could come back,” Wood said. “I was playing so good and felt like I couldn’t miss a shot.”

Tuesday also offered a few high moments for Western Slope golfers.

Montrose’s Kala Keltz finished with an 80 and two-day total of 162, which was good enough for a tie for 10th overall. Keltz is only a freshman and said it was a great experience to have her first state golf tournament be on her home course.

“It’s really cool, and I think it’s been an advantage because I’ve played this course a lot,” Keltz said. “Being this is my first tournament, it’s been nice to have it at home.”

Keltz started her second day on a bad note, with a triple bogey on the first hole. Keltz recovered to finish with a solid that included two birdies and nine pars.

“It’s nerve-racking,” Keltz said. “Everyone was really good so I’m hoping I can continue to get better and win this (tournament) sometime.”

Keltz wasn’t the only Western Slope freshman making the most of their state experience. Rifle’s Taylor Walters started the day tied for sixth but struggled on the front nine, shooting a 49.

“The front nine was frustrating but I was glad to get back on and be as good as (Monday),” Walters said. “The back nine was a lot better.”

Walters finished with a 42 on the back nine, and had a two-day total of 172 to finish 20th.

“Being this is my first experience, I wanted to have fun,” Walters said. “I’m at state and overall, I was really excited to be here.”

Walters had two different days, playing consistently on the first day, then struggling at times during the second day. Walters said she learned a lot about perseverance during the tournament.

“You have to be positive and keep plugging away,” Walters said. “You have to keep you head up and tell yourself you can do it.”

Palisade’s Sam Blair didn’t improve her overall score drastically, but the Bulldogs sophomore said she felt a lot better about how she played.

Blair finished with a 131, which was one stroke better than Monday’s score.

“It was a great experience even though I didn’t do very well,” Blair said. “The competition is tough and I learned you have to play well under stress.”

Regis High School won the team title with a two-day total of 494.


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