Keltz within striking distance at 4A tourney
ENGLEWOOD — For Kala Keltz, it was a normal 18 holes of golf.
“It was like any other round,” the Montrose High School senior said. “There are shots I could’ve had back.”
On the other hand, the shots she wouldn’t take back kept her near the top of the leader board following Monday’s opening round of the Class 4A Girls Golf State Championships at Broken Tee Golf Course.
Keltz shot a 39 on the front nine and 37 on the back for a score of 76. That put her two shots off the pace set by Valor Christian’s Tori Glenn and in fourth place heading into today’s final round of the two-day, 36-hole tournament.
After playing a practice round at the course Sunday, Keltz determined it was the back nine that concerned her the most.
“The front nine has fewer trees, (and) it’s easier,” she said.
That’s why shooting 1-over-par on the back nine, especially when a five-minute rainstorm hampered play, bolstered her confidence.
The day began with a light drizzle for the players with early tee times, but it stopped quickly.
“I just wanted to hold it together on the back,” Keltz said, noting course management played a large role for the players who scored well.
“Kala had an excellent round,” Montrose coach Jim Scarry said. “She had a great day driving the ball. She hit her irons and putted well.”
Glenn has a one-shot lead over Jennifer Kupcho of Jefferson Academy and Taylor Dorans of Broomfield following the first round, with Keltz a shot behind them. All four finished in the top 10 last year as Kupcho was third, Doran fourth, Keltz fifth and Glenn ninth.
“I’ve just got to hit my short irons better,” Keltz said of her goal of moving up the leader board today.
By hitting her approach shots and chips closer to the hole, she hopes to reduce her total putts.
Keltz’s teammate, Jordan Cherry, shot an 85 and is tied for 15th place, while the Indians’ Chelsea Peterson scored 100, giving the team a total of 261, good for third place. Montrose also got a 102 from Madison Gill.
Cheyenne Mountain leads the team standings with 248 strokes. Valor Christian is second at 253.
Of the 13-stroke deficit the Indians will try to overcome, Scarry said, “It’s significant, but not impossible.”
Gill and Peterson each have low rounds this year of 78, and just cracking 90 today would be a double-digit improvement for each.
Rifle’s Taylor Walters, who was in the lead threesome with Kupcho, shot 87 and incurred a two-stroke penalty for taking an incorrect drop on No. 14. Her teammate, Alyx Carter, playing in the threesome behind Walters, scored an 88. Walters is tied for 22nd, and Carter is tied for 25th.
Palisade’s two state qualifiers both had tough opening rounds. Kate Shuman shot 98, tied for 52nd, and Sabrina Barslund carded a 106.
In today’s pairings, Glenn, Kupcho and Dorans are in the final threesome, with Keltz playing one threesome ahead.