4A girls golf: Jessica Mason, Discovery Canyon claim championships

AURORA – The Class 4A state tournament was anything but a made for television event. There wasn't one ounce of drama after Day 1 for either Holy Family's Jessica Mason or the Discovery Canyon Thunder.

Both had sizable leads after Monday's first round, and both expanded on them on a blazing Tuesday afternoon at CommonGround Golf Course.

Mason kept the medalist honors at Holy Family, following her teammate Hailey Schalk's three-year hold on the event from 2017-19. She won by 10 shots and of the three subpar rounds that were shot over the two days, she had two of them, going 69-71, for a two-day total of 140. She was 10 shots better than Mullen's Sofia Choi, whose eagle on No. 18 to close out her second round helped her match Mason's 71.

Discovery Canyon's foursome of Emily and Christina Cheng, Mena Song-Lew and Lauren Jaworowski were even better on Day 2 and blew out the field by 34 shots over a Windsor team that rallied from a tough first day to earn some hardware.

Emily Cheng (74), Lauren Cheng (78) and Song-Lew (78) all placed in the top 15 and Joworowski was 23rd for the Thunder, who claimed their first state title in the sport and the first girls title for the school that opened in 2007.

"This means everything," said an emotional Thunder coach Mark Liggett, whose wife Susan begged her husband to join his team on Tuesday after missing Day 1 to be by her side in the hospital in Colorado Springs as she recovered from multiple surgeries.

"They are all really serious about their games and they came out here and they got down to business."

It was a brilliant run for Discovery Canyon, which graduates just Christina Cheng, and will return its full compliments including several up and coming freshmen. The Thunder rolled through regionals and with their No. 1 ranking through iWanamaker, had their sights firmly set on proving to those north of I-70 that good golf was being played down south.

"We don't deal with the Northern teams that much (especially this year), so we didn't really know what they were thinking," Liggett said.

Tuesday may very well have been the perfect elixir for Liggett's soul.

"Just being up here and being with them, I didn't want to miss it," said Liggett, who has been married to his lovely for 35 years.. "She was feeling a little better and she told me last night to go, you can't do anything else for me at the hospital.

"I love being able to cheer them on and watch them play their game and watch them break through."

As for Mason, she was in control from the start. She just kept making pars and her nearest playing competitors -- Mead's Timbre Shehee and Emily Cheng -- were making random bogeys to fall further behind.

"I wasn't super nervous on No. 1 because I knew I had an eight shot lead and I just kept telling myself 'I'm not going to blow it today and if I do, I'm going to be very upset," Mason said. "When the lead  continued to grow, I just had to keep doing what I was doing, but don't be arrogant about it. Be who you are and play your game."

Mason was fearless throughout the day and the highlight of her day came at the 451-yard par-5 No. 11. She hit 8-iron in from 196 yards and just missed the elusive albatross by inches as the ball rolled over the cup and settled 2 feet behind it for a tap in eagle that took her to 6-under for the tournament.

"This means a lot, because freshman year (after finishing fifth) I was just kind of behind (Hailey) and now that I'm not, it's nice to say that I've always been here," Mason said. "It's just coming to grips with my game and getting better.

"Feels good to keep the legacy going and hopefully next year too."