Rifle’s Powell captures invite
For the first time, Rifle’s Allison Powell broke 90.
Also for the first time, Powell defeated teammate Taylor Walters, although by a third-hole, scorecard tiebreaker (more on that later.)
And after Powell and Walters had blow-dried their hands to warm their digits from a windy afternoon at Bookcliff County Club, the Rifle golfing team also found out it had won the Tiger Invitational — the first time the Bears have won a “major” invite in Rifle coach Britt Choate’s three years as the Bears’ head coach.
Rifle was led by Powell, who shot an 87, Walters (87) and Alyx Carter (95), who took sixth.
The Bears, who shot a 269, defeated a field of 16, including second-place Central (285) and third-place Fruita Monument (299).
Durango’s Lexi Whalen took third (88) and Sam Medina (89) and Brittany Hoppe (92), of Central, took fourth and fifth, respectively.
But first place came down to a teammate tiebreaker.
“I love Taylor,” Powell said, “She’s huge competition. But I’m glad I got first.”
The tie between Powell and Walters was broken based on how the golfers fared on the course’s toughest holes.
The toughest, in terms of the hole’s handicap, was hole No. 7. Powell and Walters shot a 5.
Second toughest? Hole No. 8. Both carded 5s.
Then the tiebreaker went to hole No. 4. Walters shot a six, and remembered the hole had a difficult pin placement — many girls, she said, would hit a first shot onto the green, and then watch the ball roll back down the green onto the fairway or rough. Walters teed off over the green, then chipped the ball down the hill, eventually settling for a bogey.
Powell, however, could not remember what she did on the hole that would become the most important one she shot.
“She just plays,” Walters said.
“We’ve been working hard for three years to get a win like this,” Choate said. “It means everything.”
Walters had one of the invitational’s best shots, a 35-yard chip-in for birdie on hole No. 3.
Making the shot even more impressive was how Walters began the hole. She teed-off into a water hazard. Fortunately for Walters, the ball landed on a bank. Walters chipped into the fairway, then missed the green to the right.
On her fourth shot on the par-5, she just wanted to hit a solid shot and hopefully get the ball close to the pin.
Instead, she nailed it.
“I was surprised,” Walters said. “But then I was like, ‘Alright, let’s move on. There’s a lot more golf in front of me.’”
In fact, her next hole was Hole No. 4 — the one that would decide the tiebreaker.