Montrose relies on Cherry, Peterson to win Class 4A regional golf team title
Golf regionals don’t care about a player’s previous body of work, and they don’t tolerate an off day. There’s no sense of what’s fair, only a reward for doing things right on one day.
That’s why there’s pressure.
And that’s why at Montrose High School in recent years, it has been the day for seniors to lead the way.
For seniors Jordan Cherry and Chelsea Peterson, it was their turn Tuesday at Adobe Creek National Golf Course, and like they have done all season, the rock-steady duo delivered.
Cherry and Peterson each shot a 78 on the par-72 Desert and Monument courses, tying for second place, to lead the Indians to the team title and the automatic state berth that comes with winning the Class 4A Western Region championship.
Montrose finished with 246 strokes, 16 ahead of runner-up Durango, which didn’t get an automatic berth, but three of its golfers qualified for state as individuals — the top 10 players not from the team champion qualify — meaning the Demons get to compete as a team.
The Indians will compete as a team at state for the fourth year in a row, and Cherry and Peterson will be joined by teammates Brooke Brennecke and Mikayla McKie at the state meet May 19-20 at the Country Club of Colorado in Colorado Springs.
Montrose coach Jim Scarry lauded his players for meeting the challenge Tuesday and achieving the team’s goal of winning the region.
“It’s so pressurized,” he said. “You get to this regional tournament, and if you don’t play well, it feels like your season’s a failure. ... Your seniors have to lead you, and Chelsea and Jordan stepped up.”
Cherry and Peterson were satisfied with their scores, but both said they could have shaved a few more strokes off. There was no catching Dolores sophomore Kiselya Plewe, however, as she shot par to win the medalist honor.
“My drives were solid, and my putting was pretty good,” Cherry said. “Putting is usually one of my weaknesses, so I’m really happy about that.”
Peterson also credited her tee shots for her score, which was a relief.
“I struggled with my driver in the practice round here,” she said. “I was all over the place. Today they were long and straight. I was pretty happy with that.”
More important to Cherry and Peterson, they were thrilled about their team getting back to state, where Cherry will play for the third time, and Peterson will play for the second time.
“I’m so excited,” Cherry said. “It’s been our goal all season to win the regional, so it’s nice to finally have that. Now, we’ll set some goals for state.”
Rifle senior Alyx Carter shot an 85 to finish fifth Tuesday, earning her third trip to state.
She showed her mental makeup when she bounced back from a 46 on her first nine (the Desert Course) to card a 39 on the Monument Course.
“I was able to kind of clear my mind and just let golf happen,” said Carter, adding a birdie on Monument’s No. 4 helped her finish strong.
A repeat of her first nine would have sabotaged Carter’s bid to get back to state as 89 strokes was the cutoff for state qualifiers, and there was a logjam of five players there.
One year ago, six state qualifiers from the West Region shot higher scores, with 96 serving as the cutoff.
Palisade freshman Aly Shuman broke the 90-stroke barrier for the first time to shoot her way into that group at 89.
Playing smart led to the breakthrough, and she appears to like Adobe National, where she shot a 94 for her previous best round this season.
“I just played it kind of safe, didn’t try to go for anything special,” said Shuman, adding she has been prone in the past to take chances that cost her. She fought off that urge Tuesday, played from the fairways, then benefited from a good day with the putter.
She estimated her total putts were under 35 and said, “I’ll take that.”
Shuman also survived a penalty she had to call on herself on her 17th hole. After hitting a shot out of bounds, she failed to declare she was hitting a provisional.
Cracking 89 was a relief in general, and it was a relief again when it held up for a state berth.
“I was really shocked that if I shot 90, I wouldn’t have gotten to state,” said Shuman, whose older sister, Kate, concluded her career at Palisade last spring with her third straight trip to state. “It was eye-opening. You always have to shoot your best (when you get to the regional level).”