Everything lined up for the Durango High School girls golf team on Tuesday and Wednesday at the Class 4A state championships. At the Thorncreek Golf Club in Thornton, Durango was in sixth place as a team after the first day of competition, but three of its players shot their best scores ever on Day 2 to help the Demons move ahead of four teams and return to Durango with a second-place team trophy.
“It all just kind of aligned for us, and the girls made it happen,” said DHS head coach Kirk Rawles. “I’m not a real big trophy guy, but that’s a big trophy and it makes a statement.”
The Demons shot a two-day score of 490 to place second, finishing one stroke ahead of Discovery Canyon in third. Mullen finished fourth with a 501, followed by Holy Family (509), Cheyenne Mountain (509), Windsor (517), Steamboat Springs (522), Golden (534), Riverdale Ridge (540), Dakota Ridge (543), Pueblo West (544), Niwot (548) and Frederick (646).
Erie, led by individual champion Logan Hale, won their second straight 4A championship with a 441 team score. Hale shot a 66 on Day 2 to win the 4A title with a 7-under-par 137.
“She’s just a powerhouse,” Rawles said about Hale. “(Erie is) the No. 1 team in the state, in 5A, 4A or 3A.”
Senior Zayda Mestas and sophomore Ellie White of Durango both earned first-team All-State honors with top-10 performances at the championships.
Mestas finished fifth in the state with a 156. On Day 1, Mestas hit 14 greens, making three birdies to just one double bogey, but also had six three-putts on the “severe” greens. She shot an 80 in the opening round on Tuesday.
On her first hole on Wednesday, Mestas knocked down a four-foot putt to get a par and kept the early momentum rolling.
“That set the tone for the whole day,” Rawles said. “She made the adjustments, and putted a lot better.”
Mestas hit another 12 greens in regulation on Wednesday, sunk a pair of birdies, 10 pars and six bogeys to finish with a personal best round of 76. She also birdied her final hole, No. 18, right before a lightning and hail delay postponed the action for over an hour. Luckily for Durango, senior Natasha Walcott and freshman Jayden Craig were done before the delay and White only had half a hole to finish.
White finished eighth in the state with a 158. She had one birdie, and one double bogey, on Day 1 to card an 80. On Day 2, White birdied two holes and had 10 pars to finish with her personal best score, a 78. Her previous best score was a 79, which she shot at the regional championships.
“Ellie really finished strong for the year,” Rawles said. “To (shoot a personal record) o the second day of state is quite an achievement.”
The team’s depth, however, is what enabled them to bring back a team trophy.
“We had four players that could get the numbers we needed. Most teams don’t have the depth we do,” Rawles said. “We were nine strokes out of second after the first day and I told them that nine strokes is not that much. Zayda and Ellie were playing good and I told Jayden and Natasha if they shoot in the mid to low-80s, we have a chance.”
Craig and Walcott both recorded 93s on Day 1, but slashed their scores on Day 2 to help DHS win a team trophy. “Both of them were battling,” Rawles said. “It was key for Natasha and Jayden to be there.”
Craig posted a career-low 83 on Wednesday to round out Durango’s team score. “It’s pretty awesome to do that at state,” Rawles said.
Walcott, meanwhile, shot a 39 on the inward nine to finish with an 85 on the day.
Craig ended up finishing 36th in the state with a 176 while Walcott placed 40th out of the tournament’s 84 golfers with a 178.
Making the results even more impressive, the coach said Thorncreek is the toughest rated course the team played on this season.
“I was proud of them; they definitely brought it home and just played smart,” Rawles said. “I kept telling them all year we want to peak at state, and they did.”
In the team race, Erie jumped out to a big lead on Day 1 with a 7-over 223, followed by Discovery Canyon (244), Cheyenne Mountain (248), Mullen (250), Holy Family (251) and Durango (253).
The Demons then knocked 16 strokes off their score on Wednesday, carding a 237 to pass Holy Family, Mullen, Cheyenne Mountain and Discovery Canyon in the team standings.
When the lightning delay was over on Wednesday, White finished with “a really good bogey,” Rawles said. When Discovery Canyon’s final golfer bogeyed her last two holes, the Demons knew they had won a team trophy.
“It was exciting as it gets for me as a coach,” Rawles said. “To leap frog from sixth to second was just ... Click here to read full article