Five high school golfers make state tournament
PARACHUTE — Meet the first-timers, the first in a long time and latest in a long line.
Eagle County golf will be well represented at the 3A state tournament later this month by a quintet of golfers at the Broadlands Golf Course in Broomfield.
Chloe Pesso and Lauren Dirvonas, both of the Vail Mountain School, Battle Mountain’s Kendal Sego and Eagle Valley’s Kaitlin Medina and Nicole Matthews all punched their tickets to state golf with impressive performances in regionals earlier this week at Battlement Mesa.
This is the first year of Gore Rangers varsity golf, so, yes, Pesso and Dirvonas are the first two ladies from VMS to qualify for the show.
As was the case with all spectators down in Parachute, their coach, Gary Pesso, was nervously watching iwanamaker.com, the live-timing golf scoring app on his phone, to see if his charges would make the cut.
In fact, all of Eagle County’s golf coaches were wearing out their cell-phone batteries, but specifically not telling their players where they were on the leader board.
A theme for this tournament and this quintet, regardless of the school was simple, yet effective — focus on the next shot only.
Chloe Pesso finished 11th, easily within the cut, while Dirvonas was 17th.
So it’s off to state for these two.
“We’re going to focus on the short game,” coach Pesso said of the next two weeks. “That’s where we’re losing most of our score. The girls’ long game and putting are great. It’s about 50 yards and in.”
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Battle Mountain has not had a female golfer qualify for state since 2008. Meet Kendal Sego, who broke the drought.
Sego’s mother, Joan, played on the LPGA tour, but Kendal put in the work on her own at the Country Club of the Rockies with and its head professional, Chad Hansen.
“I focused on being able to par the par-3s and stay out of the hazards,” Sego said.
And while, naturally, with her focus on avoiding those hazards, she went into a hazard on her first hole, Sego was 4-for-4 on the par-3s at Battlement Mesa on her way to tying for 12th.
Eagle Valley is no stranger to the state tournament.
Matthews, a junior, is making her second straight appearance at state, after qualifying last year.
“I think it’s great for Nicole to have a second go-round,” Eagle Valley coach Blake Scott said. “Nicole wants to play college golf, and no one wants it more, to go out there shoot a low score.”
Matthews has company at state because freshman Medina decided to take up golf last summer. She had never played before starting lessons with Scott at Gypsum Creek and, a little less than a year later, she’s heading down to Broadlands.
Sports Editor Chris Freud can be reached at 970-748-2934, firstname.lastname@example.org and @cfreud.