Mullen’s Tait leads state golf after Round 1
GYPSUM – Mullen’s Ashley Tait will be wearing a bull’s-eye on her back in today’s final round of the 2005 Colorado State 4A Girls Golf Tournament at Cotton Ranch. The Mustangs senior, a two-time state champ, fired a 2-under-par 70 Monday, a new women’s course record at Cotton Ranch, to lead the field by six strokes.Tait’s 70 helped Mullen pull into first place with 257, just one stroke ahead of Pueblo South and 10 ahead of Cheyenne Mountain (267). “I knew that I could score on this course,” she said. “I was surprised how low I shot. I wasn’t expecting to shoot under (par). I was trying make pars and shoot low-70s.”
With two practice rounds under her belt at Cotton Ranch, Tait came out on fire, with birdie on the par-4 second. She missed a 3-foot birdie putt on No. 3 and got a clutch birdie on the fourth, a very difficult uphill par-5.The key to her round was her play up on the mesa (holes five through eight). While a lot of the field was melting down on Cotton Ranch’s toughest stretch, Tait stayed steady with pars.”Basically through the front in the (mesa) area, I just wanted to get through that, make pars,” Tait said. “That’s the toughest part of the course. I did that. I played really well. I was 1-under on the front side. It really opens up on the back, so I could hit my driver.”Tait proved that she was mortal with bogeys on 10 and 11. But she rebounded with trips to the bird sanctuary on the bank nine’s two par-5s, 13 and 16.Behind Tait’s 70, there is a log jam at 76. Aspen’s Kristin Walla, Cheyenne Mountain’s Karen Wanersdorfer, Pueblo South’s Sarah Ruybalid and Harrison’s Cierra Ko are all at plus-four.
Broomfield’s Stefanie Ferguson and Evergreen’s Cecillia Silfverskiold are lurking with scores of 77 and 78, respectively.For Walla, who has played in several tournaments at Cotton Ranch including a victory at the 2003 Western Slope regionals, it was a frustrating day with the flat blade.”I just was not putting up to my normal ability,” Walla said. “Putts were not dropping for me. I hit some good shots and some bad shots. It was mostly inconsistent putting. I mean, it was good to play out here without wind. I just didn’t capitalize on my breaks and didn’t get up and down enough.”Though Tait is definitely in the driver’s seat, Walla and company could make things interesting today. The course should as well. Cotton’s Ranch’s winds were mild Monday. Tuesday’s forecast calls for warm temperatures, but for winds gusting up to 30 mph, according to weather.com.”I think we’re all still in it,” Walla said. “Ashley’s a tough person to chase, but anything can happen. I’m just excited to finally have such awesome competition out here, all being seniors. I’m excited for tomorrow. I’ve got my whole town pulling for me.”
By leading after Round 1, Tait assured herself a spot in the final grouping, set to tee off No. 1 at 10:09 a.m. A drawing put Ko and Wanersdorfer in that final threesome. Ruybalid, Walla and Ferguson are in the second-to-last group off the first at 10 a.m.Huskies make first state appearanceBattle Mountain’s Courtney Davis and Erica Ring became the first Huskies girls to compete at state and they both put up scores of 113.Though the scores were better than the Huskies usually get at Cotton Ranch, Huskies coach said the two were tired from graduation the day before.
“They had some good holes. They had some bad holes,” Desmone said. “Overall, they were pretty tired. They couldn’t swing the club like they normally do. I’m not making them hit any balls. I just had them go home and eat and rest up for tomorrow.”Tomorrow will be a better day for us. I know that after they get a little more rest.”Davis tees off today at 9:06 a.m., while Ring starts at 9:15 a.m. Both will start on No. 10.Sports Editor Chris Freud can be reached at 949-0555, ext. 614, or firstname.lastname@example.org.Vail, Colorado
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