Peterson, Cherry shoot rounds below 80 as Indians win Wildcat

Fruita Monument High School junior varsity golfer Kelli DeCrow watches her chip Monday as it is launched towards the the second green on the Adobe Creek Golf Course’s desert course during the Wildcat Invatitational golf tournament.

Montrose lost the Class 4A state champion to graduation, but life after Kala Keltz is going to be all right.

Led by Chelsea Peterson’s 77 strokes and Jordan Cherry’s 79, good for second and third place individually, the Montrose Red team ran away with the team title at the Wildcat Invitational girls golf tournament Monday at Adobe Creek National Golf Course.

Montrose Red finished with 243 strokes, 23 fewer than runner-up Aspen, giving the Indians their second tournament win in six days.

Peterson and Cherry, both seniors, were two of five Indians to break 90 strokes Monday, joined by Bethany Wells (87) and MiKayla McKie (89) on the Red team and Brooke Brennecke (89) on the Montrose White team, which finished seventh in the 18-team field.

Montrose coach Jim Scarry said those scores are a reflection of how hard his players worked since last season, and he added, “This is not our best round. We’re going to keep working hard and get better.”

Peterson fired the best round of her high school career, two strokes better than her previous best, on St. Patrick’s Day, and she gave an emphatic, “I am, indeed,” to the question about whether she’s Irish.

And part of her response to the luck of the Irish being with her Monday was: “My Irish ancestors were looking down on me today, I guess.”

Peterson carded her first eagle in tournament play and nearly had a second one.

She got her eagle on No. 8 on the Monument Course, driving the green on the 239-yard par-four hole and leaving the ball eight feet from the cup.

Knowing her putt would break to the right, she aimed a little left and sank the putt.

She nearly recaptured the magic on No. 8 on the Desert Course, a 414-yard par-five.

Her second shot was about 20 feet away from the green, 20 yards from the cup, and her subsequent chip stopped “a couple of centimeters away,” she said.

Peterson said her putting saved her some strokes, and her drives were her strong suit on the day. And, like any good, analytical golfer, she could lament the shots that got away.

“It could’ve been better,” she said of her 77. “There were some strokes I missed and opportunities I didn’t take, but it’s a new personal best.”

Cherry, fresh off the winning the medalist honor at Devil’s Thumb Golf Club last week, had similar thoughts about her round.

“I was definitely happy to shoot in the 70s, but I definitely missed out on some opportunities with my putting and approach shots,” she said.

Her chipping, she said, “was really good,” and her drives put her in position for many of those chips. She also liked the way she finished. She knew she needed a par on her final hole to break 80, and after the wind knocked down her approach shot, she went up and down for par.

As good as Peterson and Cherry played, though, Monday belonged to Kiselya Plewe, a Montezuma-Cortez sophomore who plays for nearby Dolores because her high school doesn’t have a girls golf team.

Plewe had never broken par in a tournament until Monday, when she blew past it and carded a 5-under 67 to win the tourney by 10 strokes. It was her first time playing at Adobe Creek, where the Class 4A regional will take place this spring.

“I was putting really well. I made a lot of long putts,” she said. “I had a couple of good saves, and I hit my drives well, and I was hitting my irons well. I hit a lot of greens in regulation.”

One of her saves was courtesy of a 10-foot par putt that she thought was off.

“That was a slider, and I was expecting to go take my medicine and get a bogey,” she said. “I was pretty excited when it went in.”

Cherry played in the group with Plewe and marveled at the sophomore’s consistency.

“It was crazy to see,” Cherry said. “She kept pounding those pars and sinking those long putts. It was a lot of fun to watch.”

Fruita Monument finished third with 273 strokes, one stroke better than Central, and Grand Junction was fifth at 285.

Sammi Medina paced Central with an 83 to finish fourth individually, and fellow Warrior Brooke Heidt shot 94 to land in the top 20.

Fruita’s Katie Rice carded an 85 for fifth place, and teammate Megan Volkmann joined her in the top 10 with an 88.

Hanna Starritt led Grand Junction with a 93, and teammate Shafer Rubalcaba was one stroke back.

Freshman Aly Shuman shot a 94 to lead Palisade, which finished eighth as a team.


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