5A girls golf: Logjam of leaders handle tough course on first day

5A girls golf Amelia Lee

(Ryan Casey/CHSAANow.com)

GOLDEN — The challenging nature of The Club at Rolling Hills means that there aren't going to be many low scores during this week's Class 5A girls golf championships.

But there sure is a heck of a lot of competition at the top.

A group of six girls sit near the top of the leaderboard, with Rock Canyon's Amelia Lee heading the field with a 3-over 75. Her round included three birdies, but also four bogeys and a double-bogey.

"I'm just glad I got through it," said Lee, who finished tied for 17th last season. "I'm just taking every par for granted. It was definitely pretty challenging, but it was a lot of fun, too."

The course, tucked into the foothills, is aptly named — because there are plenty of rolling hills. Including the greens.

5A girls golf Julia Baroth Denver East

(Ryan Casey/CHSAANow.com)

Denver East's Julia Baroth played with Lee in the first round, and finished the day tied in second with a 4-over 76. She finished tied for ninth last season.

"It was extremely difficult," she said of the course. "The greens were rolling. It's super hilly, so the putt could look like it went to the right, but it went to the left.

"They were tough conditions," she continued. "Scores are not going to be too low, I think, but anything can happen on this course."

Likewise, Baroth had her share of birdies (two) and bogeys (six).

"I left a lot of strokes out on the course that I was not too happy about," she said, "but my coach always tells me that it's a marathon, and to just take it one shot at a time, one hole at a time, and every hole is a new tournament, and to just keep a good attitude about it. That's what I did, and it paid off."

Just after that group finished, Cherry Creek's Payton Canon put the final touches on her stellar round, also finishing in second at 4-over.

Rampart's Arielle Keating (5-over) is fourth, while Monarch's Carly Gallant and Grandview's Amy Chitkoksoong are tied for fifth at 6-over. Chitkoksoong was runner-up last season.

5A girls golf Carly Gallant Monarch

(Ryan Casey/CHSAANow.com)

The team race, too, is a tight one.

Rock Canyon leads at 24-over, and four teams are within 16 shots.

Those are: Ralston Valley (+29), Arvada West (+34), Cherry Creek (+39), and Fossil Ridge (+40).

Grandview, the defending champion, ended the first day in a tie for seventh at 44-over. Denver East is sixth at 43-over.

The second round will tee off at 8:30 a.m. on Tuesday. The lead groups will begin their rounds at 10:18 and 10:27 a.m.

Pairings have been updated on the leaderboard.