Mutual admiration society
Forney, Walters thrilled to be on same golf team at Colorado Mesa
Taylor Walters grew up admiring Loren Forney and her golf game.
Forney, meanwhile, was well aware of Walters, knowing she had the potential to be a good player.
Now, the two lead the Colorado Mesa women’s golf team.
“I’m super-excited to play with these girls and Taylor,” Forney said. “It’s destiny.”
The Division I transfer and Central High School graduate said she wanted to be closer to home for her senior year.
She played the past three years at Portland State (Ore.) University.
“I think Division I college is a lot of pressure,” Forney said. “I wasn’t enjoying myself anymore. I wanted to have fun with it and get my passion back for the sport.”
She was especially excited to see Walters, who graduated from Rifle High School in May, decided to play at Mesa.
Forney’s family lived in Rifle when Forney was a junior and Walters was in eighth grade. They didn’t know each other personally, but they knew of each other.
“I’ve always looked up to Loren,” said Walters, who qualified for the Class 4A state tournament all four years at Rifle. “We always kept up on where she played. I always wanted to be as good as Loren.
“Now, getting to play with her is so much fun. I’ve already told her, ‘If you have any advice, I’d like to know.’ “
Forney said she kept tabs on Walters and her high school career, adding, “I knew she was a great, upcoming player.”
“I think when you come from a small town ...,” Walters started saying, “... you keep tabs on each other,” Forney finished.
Forney’s presence makes a big difference for Walters in her freshman year at Mesa, even though Mesa is only an hour from home.
“I was really nervous at first, not knowing what to expect with college itself,” Walters said. “Coming here, knowing Loren, meeting some of the girls and Coach (Scott Hansen), it’s been a lot of fun. I’ve definitely gone to my comfort zone. I’m really comfortable around everyone.
“The more fun I try to have, the less pressure I put on myself, and I do better that way. It’s been really enjoyable.”
Hansen said he believes Forney’s experience and Walters’ talent will often lead the team in scoring.
“Loren adds experience,” Hansen said. “I think that experience will help her whether her game is on or off. She’ll be consistent and post a good score. She hits it great. She has a really good short game.
“Taylor has been as good as advertised. Her swing is really solid. She hits it a long way and has a good short game. She’s always smiling and has a great personality.
“She’s got the talent, but she doesn’t act like she’s any better than anyone else.”
Another transfer, sophomore Sara Swaney, joins the team after playing for the University of Sioux Falls (S.D.).
“Sara is a mature player,” Hansen said. “She knows her game. She doesn’t hit a shot where she doesn’t know what she wants to do. She knows her way around a course.
“She’s not afraid to hit different clubs off different tees. She’s played really well.”
Sophomores Zoe Woodworth and Torrie Sauer and juniors Rachel Cavalier and Summer Igo return.
Woodworth played No. 2 last year, but will play No. 4 this year. Cavalier will play in the No. 5 spot, Hansen said.
“Zoe is solid,” Hansen said. “She played real well in the RMAC Championship. The competition for that fifth spot is good.
“I feel like we’re back on track.”
The Mavericks began the 2013-14 season Saturday at the CSU-Pueblo Invitational at Desert Hawk Golf Club in Pueblo. The season takes a hiatus during the winter and concludes in the spring.