Career-low round helps Junction’s Freismuth finish 2nd at Tiara Rado

Grand Junction’s Maya Freismuth watches her putt on No. 15 fall into the hole Tuesday at Tiara Rado. Freismuth shot an 80 to finish second.

Consistency and confidence have introduced Grand Junction High School’s Maya Freismuth to a brave new world on the golf course this spring.

Playing more golf last summer than she had in any previous summer, she became consistent with her ball striking.

In turn, the four-year varsity player opened her senior season this spring with an 89 in her first stroke-play tournament. It was better than her previous best round of 91, accomplished as a junior in the final meet of the season, the Class 5A regional. She followed up with an 85 on Monday. New best.

Then came Tuesday. Playing in a group that featured two of the top girls golfers in the state, Fairview senior Kelly Moran and Rifle senior Taylor Walters, Freismuth elevated her game again. She fired an 80 at Tiara Rado Golf Course to finish second by five strokes to Moran in the Central High School Spring Invitational.

“That was pretty awesome,” she said of her score.

Her explanation for the improvement is simple.

“I just know my clubs finally,” she said of her Cobra graphite irons, “and I’m confident in them. So, when I’m 150 yards out, I know which club to use, and I actually get there.”

She was particularly dialed in as she closed the front nine, going par, birdie, then three more pars for a 38. She came back in with a 42.

Her 80 also gave the Tigers the team title as low individual score was the tiebreaker that separated Grand Junction from Central after each team finished with 279 strokes. Tigers coach Clay Tufly said he thinks the team win was Grand Junction’s first in two years.

“It shows they’re growing and progressing,” Tufly said, adding Freismuth was the lone senior playing Tuesday for the Tigers, whose quintet included a junior, a sophomore and two freshmen.

Palisade’s Kate Shuman could relate to what Freismuth was feeling Tuesday. The Bulldog senior, also a four-year varsity player, matched her previous best score by firing an 83, good for third place.

That felt a whole lot better than the 99 she carded Monday at Bookcliff Country Club, when Shuman wasn’t feeling well physically and had the added obstacle of playing a course that’s never been kind to her.

Or, as the two-time state qualifier in Class 4A put it, “Every year when I’ve gone to Bookcliff, it’s been kind of a disaster.”

Tiara Rado is more to her liking, and she shot nines of 42 and 41.

“I was hitting the ball a lot more solid. My drives were a lot better. It was an all-around better day,” Shuman said of her round Tuesday. “Most of my game was elevated. I just felt much better.”

Walters, who finished seventh at the Class 4A state meet last year, would rather forget Tuesday’s front nine ever happened. Instead of dueling with Moran for medalist honors, she found herself dueling with out-of-bounds markers, which sabotaged her ability to shoot in the mid-70s, where she frequently resides.

“I usually don’t go out of bounds,” she said. “I had eight penalty shots on the front nine.”

That saddled Walters with a 46, but she put it behind her — “You have to turn around, don’t let it sink you,” she said — then roared back with a 38, matching Moran on the back nine. Her 84 was good for fourth place.

Walters closed with a birdie on No. 18, to which she said, “It was a good way to finish on a bad day.”

Moran, who tied for 11th at the Class 5A state tourney last year, said she’s capable of shooting better than Tuesday’s 75, but she gained valuable experience on the course where the Class 5A state tournament will be played May 20–21.

“It was a little bit of a short venue,” said Moran, who learned she’ll need to sharpen her short game between now and state. “On such a short course, your short game definitely comes out.”


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