LOVELAND | In a rare season that didn’t see at least one individual from an Aurora program finish in the top 10 individually at the Class 5A girls state golf tournament, improvement still characterized play in the city.
Cherokee Trail junior Bead Boonta finished just outside the group of medalists in 11th place as one of six qualifiers (out of 13 total) that shot at least two strokes better Wednesday in the second round at challenging The Olde Course at Loveland, while three others shot identical scores in both rounds.
Boonta and senior Devin Gilbreath — the two qualifiers with previous state experience for coach Justin Jajczyk’s team — helped the Cougars to a sixth-place team finish, which was three spots higher in the team standings than they finished a year ago. The duo finished in 11th and 27th place, respectively, to help Cherokee Trail finish significantly in front of the two other Aurora programs who had enough qualifiers for a team score in Regis and Grandview, which were 11th and 12th, respectively.
The sxith-place finisher a year ago, Boonta came into the final day tied for 13th after she shot 83 on opening day and while she didn’t make as big a drop as last season — when she shot a 68 in the final round to rocket up the leaderboard — she improved by three strokes. Boonta shot just two-over on the front nine of her final round, lost seven strokes on a five-hole stretch to open the back nine, then made a birdie on Hole No. 15 and closed with three straight pars.
Gilbreath finished five places higher than in 2021 and helped herself with a strong front nine in the final round, which included a birdie on the par-5 Hole No. 7. A double-bogey on No. 17 brought her in with an 88, one stroke higher than the first day.
Cherokee Trail’s third score came from freshman Kaleigh Babineaux, who also shot a single stroke higher on the second day than on the first (90-91) to tie for 38th. Babineaux’s lone birdie of the tournament came on the back nine of her second round as she shot a three on the par-4 Hole No. 12. Fellow freshman Haylee Clark shot 94 in the first round (which included a birdie on Hole No. 9) and 98 in the second to tie for 58th.
The biggest risers were Eaglecrest junior Savanna Becker and Regis Jesuit freshman Audrey Whitmore, who each shaved 10 strokes off their opening round scores to make significant finishes.
Becker finished in a tie for 41st in her first state tournament appearance last season and made a significant move up in her second opportunity as she came in alone in 22nd place with a two-day total of plus-26 170.
The southpaw shot 90 in the opening round and closed with an 80 that moved her up 11 spots in the final standings. Becker played her best golf on her final nine holes, as she handled them at 2-over par with a stretch that included a birdie on the par-4 Hole No. 12 that was in the midst of four straight holes of par or better.
Regis Jesuit finished 10 strokes better in the second round and much of it had to do with the play of Whitmore, who had the same margin of difference in her rounds.
Whitmore shot a 97 in her first state round and finished with an 87 in her second round, with how she played two holes making all the difference. The opening round saw her shoot a plus-7 11 on the par-4 Hole No. 15, but she went in the opposite direction by making a birdie on it the second time, which was an eight-stroke swing, while Whitmore also birdied Hole No. 1, which she had triple-bogeyed on the previous day.
Junior Georgia Meysman-Sharpe gave Regis Jesuit another player with a significant drop between rounds as she went from 100 to 94 and played her best on her final nine holes.
The Raiders’ highest-finisher — junior Ella Denslow — and its only player with previous state experience (junior Caitlin Neumann) each shot the exact same scores in each round to finish tied for 36th and 48th, respectively.
Grandview had only three players in the field and sophomore Caroline Ryan led the way as she tied for 38th place with a two-day total of 181, which was the exact same score she shot in 2021 at Denver’s City Park G.C. as she tied for 50th.
Another returning qualifier for the Wolves, junior Courtney Ladymon, improved by five positions in the leaderboard from the previous season as she got 91 and 91 to finished a stroke behind Ryan in a tie for 42nd place.
Junior Allie Arritola, a first-time qualifier, had a more difficult second round and finished tied for 78th overall.
Smoky Hill senior Caroline Gardland was another of the locals who had a better second round than a first, as she shot a 102 in the opening round and 100 in the second. Her final round included a birdie on the par-4 Hole No. 3.
Courtney Oakes is Sentinel Colorado Sports Editor. Reach him at [email protected] Twitter: @aurorasports. IG: Sentinel Prep Sports
2022 CLASS 5A GIRLS STATE GOLF TOURNAMENT
May 31-June 1 at The Olde Course at Loveland
Final team scores (par 216-216 — 432): 1. Valor Christian 233-236 — 469; 2. Loveland 246-231 — 477; 3. Cherry Creek 250-249 — 499; 4. Rock Canyon 262-238 — 500; 5. Mountain Vista 258-257 — 515; 6. CHEROKEE TRAIL 260-259 — 519; 7. Arapahoe 272-256 — 528; 8. Legend 270-261 — 531; 9. Castle View 282-265 — 547; 10. Chaparral 274-275 — 549; 11. REGIS JESUIT 280-270 — 550; 12. GRANDVIEW 280-291 — 571; 13. Heritage 290-284 — 574; 14. Broomfield 294-283 — 577; 15. Legacy 285-295 — 580
Aurora individual results (par 72-72 — 144): T11. Bead Boonta (Cherokee Trail) 83-80 — 163; 22. Savanna Becker (Eaglecrest) 90-80 — 170; T27. Devin Gilbreath (Cherokee Trail) 87-88 — 175; T36. Ella Denslow (Regis Jesuit) 90-90 — 180; T38. Caroline Ryan (Grandview) 92-89 — 181; T38. Kaleigh Babineaux (Cherokee Trail) 90-91 — 181; T42. Courtney Ladymon (Grandview) 91-91 — 182; T45. Audrey Whitmore (Regis Jesuit) 97-87 — 184; T48. Caitlin Neumann (Regis Jesuit) 93-93 — 186; T58. Haylee Clark (Cherokee Trail) 94-98 — 192; T62. Georgia Meysman-Sharpe (Regis Jesuit) 100-94 — 194; 75. Caroline Gardland (Smoky Hill) 102-100 — 202; T78. Allie Arritola (Grandview) 97-111 — 208
— Full Class 5A second round and final individual results, here
— Full Class 5A first round individual results, here