Battling the elements

Wind and cold push scores high in Wildcat Invitational

Gunnison’s Bailyn Salsbury hits a shot out of the brush Tuesday on hole No. 2 of the Desert Course at Adobe Creek National Golf Course in the Wildcat Invitational. Only five players shot lower than 90 because of the cold and windy conditions at the course. Dolores’ Kiselya Plewe won with a 77.

Windy, cold, early in the season, late-winter golf-course conditions.

That was Wednesday in a nutshell at Adobe Creek National Golf Course, and it wasn’t conducive to breaking 90 in the Wildcat Invitational girls golf tournament hosted by Fruita Monument High School.

Five girls managed to do it, though, led by Dolores senior Kiselya Plewe, who carded a 77 on the Desert and Monument courses to win the tournament by eight strokes.

Grand Junction’s Avery Hill tied Eagle Valley’s Taylor Sandoval at 85, and Hill won a scorecard playoff to claim second place.

Plewe and Hill had similar stories about their rounds as each figured to be five to six strokes lower if not for a bad hole and a couple of putts that chose to hang out on the edge of the cup instead of in it.

Given the conditions, Plewe said her 77 was decent, but she was more about blaming herself for not shooting lower.

“I had a lot of missed opportunities,” said Plewe, who placed fourth at the Class 4A state tournament a year ago. “I had one really bad hole. It’s frustrating, but I grinded it out.”

The bad hole came on par-4 No. 6 on the Desert Course, where she carded an 8.

“I lost two balls off the tee,” she said, “and I recovered after that.”

A double-bogey on Desert No. 3 didn’t help, either, but Plewe birdied No. 8, and headed to the Monument Course with a 41.

The second nine was more to her liking as she shot a birdie, seven pars and one bogey to par the Monument Course.

Many of her pars, though, she called mediocre.

“I missed putts that I should’ve made,” Plewe said. “I missed a four-foot birdie putt. I missed a couple of 10-footers that should’ve dropped. I misread them. It was just a frustrating day with the putter.”

Hill, on the other hand, was sharp with her putter, but she knew Plewe’s frustration when Hill barely missed a pair of 15-foot putts for eagle on Monument’s Nos. 5 and 7, a pair of par-fives on which she settled for birdies.

“I was right on the edge on both,” she said, then added about the disappointment, “You almost wish you’d missed by 10 feet.”

Aside from that, Hill said, “Every time I got on in regulation, I came away with birdie or par.”

Hill carded three birdies on the day, but she mirrored Plewe when she blew up on one hole, shooting a 9 on Desert No. 8, a par-five.

“It doglegs right, and I hit into the bushes, took an unplayable, then hit into the bushes again and had another unplayable,” she said.

Minus that mess, Hill had 80 in her sights, which is why she wasn’t thrilled with a score she knows could have been much better.

Still, she was happy to place second, and she said, “It’s a big confidence booster,” especially after a rough preseason.

“I wasn’t shooting very well in practice,” Hill said. “I almost wanted to quit.”

Eagle Valley won the team title Tuesday with 268 strokes, and Dolores was second with 282. Tied for third at 288 were Palisade and Glenwood Springs, which was without its No. 1 player, Lauren Murphy. Grand Junction was fifth in the 11-team field with 288 strokes.

Palisade coach Jan Norell said she and her players weren’t satisfied with their point total.

“Even with the bad weather, we had higher expectations,” she said. “It’s the girls golf season, and we have to play in these conditions.”

Norell and Bulldogs assistant coach Eloy Vendegna said their players are improving, and they’re optimistic they can get to where they want to be.

“Talk to us in a month,” Vendegna said.


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