Aurora’s old and new guard in girls prep golf were both pretty good in 2016.
While veterans Mary Weinstein of Regis Jesuit and Grandview’s Morgan Sahm caped their careers with individual and team Class 5A state championship, respectively, freshmen Amy Chitkoksoong (Grandview) and Amisha Singh (Smoky Hill) began a new era of promise for the city.
The two veterans and two youngsters, plus Regis Jesuit junior Jaclyn Murray, make up the 2016 Aurora Sentinel All-City Girls Golf Team, as determined by play at the May 23-24 5A state tournament at Aurora’s CommonGround Golf Course.
Aurora claimed individual and team titles for the first time since Somin Lee (Overland’s 5A medalist) and Regis Jesuit (4A team champion) accomplished the feat in 2011.
Weinstein and Sahm — who have shared a coach and played together since they were 10 years old — got to enjoy the final rounds of their illustrious prep careers together and both had a joyous end.
Weinstein knew the feeling of hoisting the 5A state team championship (which she’d done the past two seasons with the Raiders) and she got to compare it to the feeling of being an individual state champ.
Shooting under par in both rounds at state (a minus-1 71 in the opening round and 3-under 69 in the second round), Weinstein managed to keep a four-stroke edge over Chitkoksoong in the final standings, even with a frustrating four-putt on the last hole.
“I think that’s the best I’ve played all year so far,” said Weinstein, whose previous best career finish at the state tournament was seventh last season.
“Hopefully it will get better in the future, but I had a good couple of days. I’m proud of how I played,” the Regis University signee added.
Weinstein also enjoyed the first season under new coach Eric Ptolemy and she served as a team captain, which helped her get to know the entire team from top to bottom.
Sahm suffered a back injury that kept her out of one of the five Centennial League tournaments during the regular season, but time off and treatment helped her get ready to play at state.
Though she wasn’t exceptionally happy with her scores at state — a 75 and 73, which put her third — Sahm couldn’t have written a much better script for the final holes of her prep career.
The Northern Colorado signee got to play in the final group with longtime friend Weinstein — who also gets instruction from Terry Stearman — and she also got to walk off the 18th green as a state champion, giving a fist pump to her waiting team o Chitkoksoong, sophomore Caitlin O’Donnell and freshman Morgan Ryan.
“I’m really happy that we won as a team and its exactly the way I wanted it to end,” said Sahm, who finished a career-best third among four top-nine state results.
“Mary and I go to the same coach and I’ve known her since I was 10, so to be in the final group with her and see her win, I was so proud of her. She deserved it, she’s such a hard worker.”
Weinstein’s win also provided inspiration for teammate Murray, who improved her all-time best state finish by taking seventh. She was 18th as a freshman in 2014 and ninth a year ago.
“Mary winning as just incredible; I’d love to do that if it works out (next year),” Murray said. “We had a great team this year and gave it a good run.”
Murray carded a 76 in the first round at state and was two-under through six holes of her second round, which she finished at 79.
A potential path to a championship next year is barred by a lot of up and coming young talent, including Chitkoksoong, who had a phenomenal debut varsity season.
She found comfort playing with familiar players in the Centennial League and flourished. Chitkoksoong shot a 4-under-par 68 in the second league tournament at Aurora Hills Golf Course and went on to win the individual league title.
At state, Chitkoksoong overcame a quadruple bogey on the fourth hole of her first round and played eight-under par for her next 32 holes (including another 4-under 68 in the second round) to finish even and in second place.
“I had so much fun this year, I loved playing with the team and against good competition,” Chitkoksoong said. “Everyone was so friendly, it was just comfortable. I felt like I improved from the start of the season, even though I came out with a really big bang.”
Chitkoksoong said coach Mary Danielson and her other coaches helped her stay calm at state, especially on the final day where she didn’t find out how close the tournament was until a rain and lightning delay with just a few holes left.
“I pressed really hard at regionals, but at state my coaches made sure I was in a relaxed state,” she said. “That’s what kept me through the whole round.”
While Smoky Hill lacked enough golfers to play as a team, coach Laurie Steenrod’s Buffs had a top end talent in Singh, who became the first golfer from the program to make the state tournament since 2008.
Singh also felt comfortable with the other players in the Centennial League that she knew and finished third in the league standings.
With rounds of 79 and 81 at state, Singh finished in a tie for 13th to cap a strong first season. Though putting remained a struggle for her, she consistently put herself in good position with her tee shots.
“I was actually pretty consistent with my drives and had a really good year with my long game,” Singh said.
“It has always been good, but I gained a lot of distance. It was nice being able to practice a lot more being on a high school team.”
Singh pointed to the 75 she shot at Aurora Hills as her highlight of the season.
Courtney Oakes is Aurora Sentinel Sports Editor. Reach him at 303-750-7555 or [email protected]com. Twitter: @aurorasports. FB: Aurora Prep Sentinel
2016 AURORA SENTINEL ALL-CITY GIRLS GOLF TEAM
Amy Chitkoksoong, Grandview, fr.; Jaclyn Murray, Regis Jesuit, jr., Morgan Sahm, Grandview, sr.; Amisha Singh, Smoky Hill, fr.; Mary Weinstein, Regis Jesuit, sr.
Sam Chaney, Vista PEAK, jr.; Kyree Conaway, Vista PEAK, soph.; Brooke Kramer, Cherokee Trail; Olivia Lopez, Vista PEAK, soph.; Alix Mees, Cherokee Trail, jr.; Caitlin O’Donnell, Grandview, soph.; Brooke Pulver, Regis Jesuit, sr.; Morgan Ryan, Grandview, fr.; Kylee Shepard, Vista PEAK, sr.; Ali Timlin, Regis Jesuit, sr.