The course played a lot longer than in previous tournaments, there were a lot more nuances and trouble spots, the competition was better, the attention was unlike any other during the season and it’s being held a week later than usual.
Still, Mullen remains in position for both team and medalist honors after Tuesday’s first round of the Class 4A Championship at Tiara Rado Golf Course in Grand Junction.
Teamwise, the Mustangs are tied for third place with Discovery Canyon at 255, 42-over par. The leader is Erie at 237. Windsor sits in second at 248.
Individually, Mustangs senior Sofia Choi is tied for sixth at 8-over 79 and Kaitlin Zingler is tied for ninth at 10-over 81.
Head coach Kate Walker termed it as “a difficult, challenging first day,” alluding to all of the goings-on, “but I think the girls played well enough, just not their best.”
Choi, 4A runner-up in the past two finals – there was no season in her sophomore year due to the coronavirus, COVID-19, pandemic – struggled on the front nine before coming home on a roll. The senior birdied No. 1 before making the turn at 8-over 44. However, she parred the back side to remain within range.
Zingler, too, improved on the back side, turning in 43-38, a birdie-less round, but a grind-it-out, stay-in-contention effort.
Mullen’s two freshmen, Sammy Yates and Riley Sullivan, turned in 95 and 100, respectively, so Walker knows about growing pains against what she referred to as “a very deep field, which is great for 4A.”
Interestingly, Erie’s Hadley Ashton (74) and Windsor’s Macy Kleve (75), both ninth-graders, occupy the top two spots.
“All things considered,” Walker said, “I feel good about it.”
Wednesday’s second round will cap the 2021-22 sports year.
CLASS 4A CHAMPIONSHIP
At Tiara Rado G.C., Grand Junction
TUESDAY'S FIRST ROUND
Top Team Scores – Erie 237, Windsor 248, Mullen and Discovery Canyon 255.
Mullen Individuals – 6. (tie) Sofia Choi, 79; 9. Kaitlin Zingler, 81; 28. (tie) Sammy Yates, 95; 43. (tie) Riley Sullivan, 100.