Eaglecrest sophomore Emma Bryant tracks her short putt as it is about to drop on Hole No. 9 at Foothills Golf Course during the Class 5A Southern Regional girls golf tournament on May 6, 2019. Bryant won the tournament by a stroke to earn her way into the 5A state tournament May 20-21. (Photo by Courtney Oakes/Sentinel Colorado)

DENVER | To defend the Class 5A girls state golf championship she won in 2018, Emma Bryant had to earn her way into this season’s state tournament.

The Eaglecrest sophomore did just that in fine form Monday, as she shot a 2-over-par 74 to win the 5A Southern Regional tournament at Foothills Golf Course and secure her spot in the May 20-21 state tournament at Fort Collins’ Harmony Golf Club.

Bryant made bogey on the opening hole and ran into difficulty on the par-4 Hole No. 7 with a triple-bogey, but otherwise played a strong round on her way to a one-stroke victory over Highlands Ranch’s Haena Kim.

Bryant made three birdies on the front nine, birdied the first two holes of the back nine and sat at even-par with three holes left before consecutive bogeys on Nos. 16 and 17.

Cherry Creek earned the chance to defend its 5A team title with a 10-stroke victory over Highlands Ranch, which secured the other automatic team berth in the state tournament.

Bryant’s teammate Rian Nelson, a state qualifier last season, shot a 101 to finish 29th in a field of 47 golfers that finished (50 entered).

In addition to Bryant, Grandview advanced as a team out of the Northern Regional (where senior Morgan Ryan won the individual title) and Overland senior Sasha Parker earned an individual spot out of the Central Regional (where she had the top result of players from three Aurora teams).

Aurora’s 5A state representation should grow with the results of Tuesday’s 5A Western Regional at Tiara Rado G.C. in Grand Junction that featured Cherokee Trail, Rangeview, Regis Jesuit and Smoky Hill.

Courtney Oakes is Sentinel Colorado Sports Editor. Reach him at 303-750-7555 or [email protected] Twitter: @aurorasports. IG: Sentinel Prep Sports

2019 CLASS 5A SOUTHERN REGIONAL GIRLS GOLF

Team scores (par 216, top two teams qualify for 5A state tournament): 1. Cherry Creek 235; 2. Highlands Ranch 245; 3. Rocky Mountain 253; 4. Legend 257; 5. Palmer 262; 6. Doherty 201; 7. Brighton 285; 8. Lakewood 296; 9. Legacy 316; 10. Adams City 252; 11. Mountain Vista 330; 12. Pomona 344; EAGLECREST no score

Top 20 individuals (state qualifiers, par 72): 1. EMMA BRYANT (EAGLECREST) 74; 2. Haena Kim (Highlands Ranch) 75; 3. Charlotte Cliatt (Palmer) 76; T4. Sydney Taylor (Rocky Mountain) 77; T4. Kaylynn Xia (Cherry Creek) 77; T4. Rachel Penzenstadler (Cherry Creek) 77; T7. Clara Hosman (Legend) 81; T7. Merielle Gojo (Cherry Creek) 81; 9. Alyssa Chin (Cherry Creek) 82; 10. Shelisa Derr (Brighton) 83; T11. Kat Kachel (Doherty) 85; T11. Sydney Brennan (Highlands Ranch) 85; T11. Alaina Oscai (Highlands Ranch) 85; 14. Lauren Axe (Rocky Mountain) 86; T15. Kate Kennedy (Legend) 88; T15. Paige Carlson (Legend) 88; T17. Elan Fleetwood (Legend) 89; T17. Leticia Delgado (Northglenn) 89; T19. Alisha Butki (Rocky Mountain) 90; T19. Mia Blackard (Legacy) 90

Eaglecrest results

Eaglecrest (NS): 1. Emma Bryant 74, 29. Rian Nelson 101