BROOMFIELD — Monday was full of excitement at the first Class 3A girls state golf tournament. Holy Family freshman Hailey Schalk jumped out to a commanding lead with a 6-under-par 65 and Colorado Academy had all four players shoot in the 70s to take a lead in the team race.
The downfall was that all the excitement Monday sucked out any drama out Tuesday's final round.
Schalk battled through the wind to shoot a 74, claiming the individual championship by seven strokes. Her teammates at Holy Family helped the Tigers finish with a total of 475 as a team.
Colorado Academy bested that score by 28 strokes.
The winners won big. And in Schalk's case, the expectation will be to win three more times.
"I think this is a challenge that I want to take," she said. "I always want to play well and compete against great players and I think that's what happened this week."
All eyes were on Schalk as the day started. Spectators were curious to see how she was going to follow up her 65 from Monday.
She started well enough with pars on the first two holes before scoring her first birdie on No. 3. She birdied No. 5 to follow, putting her at 8-under for the tournament.
But soon, troubles with her putter led to frequent bogeys and with the possibility of team hardware also on the line, she she backed off the aggressive play that gave her such a commanding lead.
"The plan was to play conservative with the wind today," Schalk said. "It was just about playing the best that I could in the conditions."
But even with bogeys on 10, 12, 15 and 16, she had championship gold well in hand. She sank a par on 18, ending her tournament seven strokes better than Kent Denver's Charlotte Hillary.
The same type of margin separated the Tigers from Colorado Academy. The Mustangs entered the day with a lead that was going to be difficult to surrender, but coach Beth Folsom didn't want them thinking that the championship was all tied up.
"I don't think our strategy changes whether we have a good day or a bad day," Folsom said. "We really just try to play one shot at a time and try to get them to focus on the present."
It is the second-straight team title for the Mustangs, who claimed last years 4A championship at the Pueblo Country Club. Caroline Jordaan and Cassie Kneen ended the tournament with matching scores of 147, and Caroline's younger sister Marie finished with a 153.
After experiencing a championship win a year ago, the elder Jordaan was thrilled to be able to share this year's win with her sister.
The Mustangs will lose Kneen and Trinity Goderstad (160) to graduation, so from here on out it will be the Jordaan sisters who must set the tone for the team.
"(Marie) now understands what it's like to get the team title," Caroline said. "And it's awesome just to have her on the team. We're competitive and we push each other to be better."
It was a monumental second-place finish for the Tigers as well. A year ago, there was no golf team at the school. Now there is a first-place individual title and second-place team trophy that need to be put on display.
The future is bright for the Tigers.
"It's a terrific school that our girls love being a part of," coach Matt Schalk said. "The school has really supported them so I think they have that feeling of winning for your school and winning for your peers."