Palisade’s Blair has rough day at Class 4A golf tournament

MONTROSE — Golf has a tendency to bring out some of the highest highs and lowest lows in sports.

It all depends on the day.

On the first day of the Class 4A state golf tournament at Cobble Creek Golf Course, it wasn’t Palisade golfer Sam Blair’s day.

The sophomore struggled with the tough weather conditions and finished with a 132.

“It was stressful,” Blair said. “It was hard to overcome the mental battles, but I kept pushing.”

Blair was appearing in her first state tournament after qualifying at the Western Regional with a 90. Blair admitted to feeling the pressure of the state tournament.

Not helping Blair’s uneasiness was a five-hour delay because of high winds. Blair’s original 9:33 a.m. tee time was pushed back to 2:03 p.m.

“She has never played any type of tournament like this,” Palisade coach Jan Norell said. “But she kept digging the whole time.”

Rock Canyon’s Allie Johnston shot a 74 and leads the tournament. Defending champion Emily Wood of Salida shot a 78.

Regis leads the team race with a 253.

Blair’s troubles boiled down to being unable to avoid a big number on a single hole. Norell said she’d have a few solid holes, then have the blow-up hole.

“Part of golf is learning how to overcome bad holes,” Norell said. “She has the ability to be out here, now it’s just about getting the confidence.”

Blair and Norell agreed the young player would take a lot from a tough first day of the state tournament. Blair has her second round today, and plans to play more carefree.

“I think she was a little blown away today,” Norell said. “Tomorrow she can come back and play well, and she knows what she needs to work on.”

Regardless of Blair’s finish, Norell said getting experience in the state tournament is good not only for Blair but for Palisade’s program.

“This experience will motivate her and the rest of the team,” Norell said. “She’ll come back stronger.”

Although it wasn’t the best day for Blair, the Western Slope was well represented.  Rifle’s Taylor Walters led the way, shooting an 81, which has the freshman tied for sixth place.

Kala Keltz of Montrose was right behind Walters with an 82.

“It was a great day for the Western Slope,” Norell said. “It’s been so nice to have the tournament over here.”

Moffat County’s Heather Nicholson shot a 94 and Callie Papoulas finished with a 99.

Today’s final round begins at 8:30 a.m.


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