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'Stangs, Choi dominate another regional

By Neil H. Devlin, Mullen Sports Information Director
Mullen wins a 2nd-straight team title in regionals, by a whopping 20 shots, Choi, with a 4-under 68, takes her 3rd medalist title in a row; 'Stangs finale in 2022 will be May 31-June 1 in Grand Junction at the 4A Championships.
In many ways, it has been a rough season for Mullen girls golf.
But they won’t complain.
Forget about the inclement weather from start to finish. Dismiss the resulting cancellations of high-end tournaments, a staple unique to the sport. Don’t recall players missing matches for any number of reasons. Direct conflict with examinations and graduation wasn’t taken to heart. Having a short memory about two-dozen players bulging the roster and how to handle them never really arose.
And, especially for the Mustangs, they didn’t become unglued about late-season travel.
No, Mullen has simply been grinding and it was rewarded again on Monday, when it won its second-consecutive regional crown. The Mustangs blew away the Class 4A Region 4 field at The Links at Cobble Creek in Montrose by a whopping 20 strokes.
They finished at 236. Durango was next at 256.
Individually, it was even better – senior Sofia Choi repeated as medalist for a third-straight time. (There was no season in 2020 because of the coronavirus, COVID-19, pandemic.)
“So she has won at regionals in every opportunity she has had,” Mustangs head coach Kate Walker said. “Too bad her sophomore year didn’t happen ...”
Also the top player in the 5A-based Centennial League, Choi went 34-34 for a 4-under-par 68, the only player to finish in red numbers. She really impressed with a couple of birdie binges. She went back-to-back-to back on Nos. 8-10 and another three in row on Nos. 16-18 for six birdies over 11 holes.
Walker pointed out Choi played freely and wasn’t dealing with getting to college (she eventually signed with Washington University in St. Louis), graduation or finals, “so she didn’t have the weight of the world on her shoulder.”
Other Mustangs experienced issues coming into the round, including studying for finals next week before and after the drive into the mountains (the 2022 season has been extended by a week, past Memorial Day), but Kaitlin Zingler’s 77 turned out to be her highest in competition this season, yet good enough for third on the tricky layout, and freshmen Sammy Yates (91) and Riley Sullivan (96) gained valuable postseason experience.
“I’m still pleased with how well they’ve done,” Walker said.
In all, Mullen appears sound heading into the 4A Championships in Grand Junction May 31- June 1. The Mustangs were third as a team a year ago and Choi has been runner-up twice.
“If we’re going to do better than we did last year, we have to be firing on all cylanders,” Walker said. “And as well as we’ve done (this season), we haven’t seen everybody at their best.
“That would really be exciting to see that (in next week’s finale).”
At The Links at Cobble Creek, Montrose
Par 36-36—72
Top team scores – 1. Mullen 236; 2. Durango 256. Both qualify for state.
Mullen scores – 1. Sofia Choi, 68; 3. Kaitlin Zingler, 77; 14. Sammy Yates, 91; 18. (tie) Riley Sullivan, 96.