5A girls golf: Lehigh claims individual title in leading Loveland to team championship

(Brad Cochi/CHSAANow)

Katelyn Lehigh accomplished several personal goals in spectacular fashion while winning the Class 5A girls golf individual state championship on Tuesday.

The junior golfer opened the final day at City Park Golf Course in a tie for the lead with teammate Taylor Bandemer and turned in a 4-under 66 that tied the 18-hole course record during her closing round and clinched her first state title. It was a championship effort over two years in the making. Lehigh's two-day score of 138 added a third individual title to her family name – her older sister Lauren Lehigh won state titles in 2019 and 2018 (4A).

While she accomplished each of those things, Katelyn Lehigh's focus remained elsewhere.

From the start, Lehigh was invested in helping Loveland win its first team title since moving up to 5A and second overall in the program's history, which the Loveland girls accomplished collectively on Tuesday with a team score of 450.

"The team title always comes first and we did it together," Lehigh said. "It has always been the goal to win it as a team and win it individually. But playing for the team title is the most important thing and it took all of us. If Reece (Bandemer) and Taylor (Bandemer) and Maryn (Harlow) didn't play well, it wouldn't have really mattered what I did."

Taylor Bandemer tied for eighth with a 154. Reece Bandemer shot a 77 on Day 2 and finished in 14th place. Harlow tied for 50th with a score of 181.

After overcoming her fear of a blow-up opening round on Monday to position herself as the frontrunner for Day 2, Lehigh said her nerves disappeared when it came time to seal the deal on Tuesday. She split six birdies equally between the front and back nines for a 66.

"I was super nervous about everything yesterday," Lehigh said. "Today, being paired with Olivia (Steen), it felt like pretty much every other high school tournament because we pretty much played together pretty much every single high school tournament. So, I was surprisingly calm today."

Chasing Lehigh for most of the tournament, Prairie View junior Lily Nelson finished runner-up. She shot a 1-under 69 on the second day. It was the first tournament round under par of her prep career, and it came at a good time.

"It went really well," Nelson said. "My putting was really good today and I was able to get some up-and-downs. My driver was also pretty good. I'm more confident because I've gotten better over the season and I'm looking forward to doing it again next season."

Fossil Ridge's Olivia Steen placed third, going 2-over on Tuesday for an overall 146. Eaglecrest's Emma Bryant, who won the 5A individual title as a freshman in 2018, carded a 147. Valor Christian's Grace young placed fifth at 149.

Rock Canyon was second in the team scoring. The Jaguars were 25 strokes behind Loveland and Cherry Creek was third with a score of 492.