COLORADO SPRINGS — After a busy first day, there is a three-way tie for first place at the Class 4A state girls golf tournament.
Last year’s champion Lauren Lehigh of Loveland, Cheyenne Mountain's Maxine Choi, and Windsor's Jessica Zapf all sit atop of the leaderboard after shooting a 7-over-par-78 on day one.
“I was kind of oblivious of the scores all day,” Choi said. “I honestly felt like a lot of today was a blur.”
With this being Choi’s home course, it just seemed like a normal day of golf.
“I’m much more comfortable playing here,” said Choi. “It’s just home and I don’t like I’m out of place, plus I get to go home and sleep in my own cozy bed tonight.”
She birdied 2 and 4 and finished with six bogies. A triple bogie on hole 17 kept her from breaking away with the clear lead, but she isn’t deterred by that.
“I felt like I played really well today, maybe one mess up,” said Choi. “But I’ve already forgotten about that one.”
With a strong start on the first day, Choi is far from worried and is just enjoying the ride.
“I feel like I have really improved from last year,” she said. “I’m just going to go out and play tomorrow like I played today.”
Also improving from last year, is Zapf who is looking like a seasoned pro. She came out and made a birdie on 6 and although she finished the day with eight bogeys, she avoided major trouble by not scoring any worse than bogey on any hole..
“I feel like I played pretty solid today” said Zapf. “I wish that I would’ve made a few more putts out there though. I didn’t play super good on any holes and I didn’t play bad on any holes. The greens did get me, but this isn’t my first time playing at this course and I know that I can go out and do what I know I am capable of doing.”
Glenwood Springs made a late charge towards the end and finished the day at the top of the leaderboard in the team race, going 47-over. The next closest teams are Loveland and Windsor who tied, and both ended the day at 51-over.
“To me winning as a team is more important and that’s what I’m really playing for,” said Zapf. “They’ve been here for me all year, so to be there for them is really great.”
This year’s tournament could witness something extremely rare and exciting for Windsor. Sarah Johnson also plays for the Wizards' soccer team, which will be playing in the state championship game on Wednesday. This means that Johnson could possibly win two state titles in two days. Johnson shot a 94 in her round and Wizards remain within four strokes as a team.
“That would be the coolest thing for Sarah and our school,” Zapf said. “We didn’t know if Sarah would even be able to play today, so it’s just really exciting that she’s here getting to experience this with us a team and that she has the opportunity to win state in golf and soccer in the same week.”
Zapf finished last year in fourth place and is using that to help motivate her to play like she knows she can.
“I’m excited to come back out tomorrow,” said Zapf. “Last year I was really close to the top and a few mistakes cost me big, so to be in this position again where I can actually win is really motivating me to go out and give it my all.”
Also looking forward to Tuesday is Loveland’s Lehigh who won last year's 4A tournament. Paired with Zapf, Lehigh birdied 2 and 4 and finished her round with eight pars.
Loveland’s Taylor Bandemer is the closest to the top three after shooting a 83. Close behind her in a tie for fifth is Kylie Severin of Vista Peak and Lois Sheaffer of Northridge.