After struggling out of the gate thanks to pressure and a tough course, Fort Collins area golfers responded in Day 2 of the Class 5A Girls Golf State Tournament.
Katie Larson, Fossil Ridge junior, leapfrogged teammate Nicole Thompson to finish tied for 30th thanks to her second-round 82. That round was eight strokes better than her first round and marked the best round for any Fort Collins area golfer at the state tournament.
It was a better day for most and Fossil Ridge girls golf coach Andy Stevens said there’s a reason for that.
“Their attitude this morning was fantastic,” Stevens said. “They just put yesterday behind them.”
On Monday, Larson, Thompson, Mary Luckasen and Poudre’s Elise Hayashi combined to shoot 33 strokes higher than their season averages. Tuesday was a different story. There was Larson’s eight-stroke improvement. There was Thompson shooting an 86 to finish tied for 32nd, collecting scores in the 80s both days after a Day 1 89. Poudre’s Hayashi was four strokes better than her Day-1 98, finishing tied for 51st despite suffering a painful stomach illness.
“She hit the ball a lot better today; she was definitely more consistent,” Poudre coach Phil Coatman said. “But you could definitely teall she wasn’t at her full ability.”
Coatman said Hayashi’s biggest goal was simply to play and finish her high school golf career. As a senior, Hayashi just finished playing in her fourth state tournament.
“It’s been an honor and a priviledge to have her in the golf program and to have worked with her,” Coatman said.
Luckasen, who shot closest to her average on Day 1 – she carded a 92 while averaging a 90 this season – couldn’t keep it going in Day 2, shooting a 110.
“For Mary, it was just a bad break here, a bad break there,” Stevens said. “We’ve all had those days. But when you’re playing in a round as important as the state tournament, it’s easy to let that get you down. ..I think that jumped up and bit Mary today.”
Luckasen is a junior, and so will have another shot to make the state tournament and play well there, Stevens said.
“I said, ‘Look around. We’re playing golf on a beautiful course,'” Stevens said. “I know she’s disappointed, but she’s got another year.”
Stevens said he’s happy Thompson, a senior in her third trip to the state tournament, had a better day, as it would have been hard to console an outgoing senior after her last high school round.
“I think for Nicole, it was definitely a day of mixed emotions,” Stevens said. “She was pleased with her performance on the course. But I think it really hit her at the end that, “This thing that has been a constant part of my life is over now.'”
Larson still has golf in front of her, and Stevens said Larson should be able to use that final-round 82 as a jumping-off point for off-season tournaments and next year’s high school season.
“Today I think Katie had a wonderful attitude,” Stevens said. “She approached her round with more patience. The first day, there was a lot of pressing and a lot of nerves. Today I think she handled it beautifully.”