2 Sailors girls golfers qualify for state championship | SteamboatToday.com

2 Sailors girls golfers qualify for state championship

Alexandra Culver, left, and Sophia Gowdy pose with their state-qualifier ribbons. Culver finished sixth and Gowdy earned 14th at the 4A Region 4 Championship at Indian Tree Golf Course on Thursday and qualified for state, which will take place June 21 and 22 at CommonGround Golf Course. (Photo courtesy of Shannon Hanley)

For the first time in the Steamboat Springs High School girls golf program’s six-year history, a Sailor has qualified for state.

Based on their performance in the 4A Region 4 Championship at Indian Tree Golf Course on Thursday, two Steamboat golfers punched tickets to the state tournament.

Junior Alexandra Culver finished in a three-way tie for sixth with 90 strokes. Senior Sophia Gowdy finished 14th with 100 strokes. The top two teams in the region attend the state tournament, so players on those teams finishing in the top 10 aren’t included in the top-10 qualifiers. So, Gowdy also qualified even though she finished 14th.

Culver, who is new to Steamboat this year, had an excellent spring. The late start of the spring sport season allowed the Steamboat girls to play on grass far more often than they’re used to, something head coach Shannon Hanley thinks allowed for major improvements in every player.

Gowdy has been on the Sailors team for four years, slowly chipping away at her strokes each spring.

“She’s easy to coach, happy to have on the team, kind of one of those happy go-lucky-kids,” Hanley said. “When all the kids start, they start shooting well above 100 and slowly work their way down. It’s good to see them progress. I can’t emphasize enough the benefits of this year.”

Freshmen Catherine Larock and Quin Yeager also attended the regional championship, taking 25th and 34th, respectively. The team finished sixth of 13 teams.

Indian Tree was a challenge since the grass has been growing so tall so fast. The weather was also much warmer than the Sailors are used to.

“Sophia, in the practice round yesterday said, ‘I think I prefer playing when it’s snowing outside, because it’s hot,’” Hanley said. “It’s super hot in Denver today. I started laughing. The kids are playing in some extreme heat for them. That’s not normal for them. Usually, it’s freezing and blowing sideways for most of our tournaments.”

Gowdy and Culver will play in the 4A state golf tournament June 21 and 22 at CommonGround Golf Course in Aurora. Both have summer jobs starting up but will spend the next week practicing with Hanley to prepare for the tournament.

“I’ll give them some drills to practice chipping and pitching and putting,” Hanley said.

Hanley thinks this is a sign of more successful seasons to come. The team graduates five seniors, but there are six freshmen on the 2021 squad.

“With a strong freshman class, I think we’ll probably be able to qualify for state in the future, which is my hope,” she said.

Girls golf 4A Region 4 Tournament

Team scores: 1. Holy Family 258. 2. Northfield 276. 3. Conifer 279. 4. Eagle Valley 283. 5. Battle Mountain 294. 6. Steamboat Springs 297.

Individual top 3: 1. Jessica Mason, HF, 71. 2. Kylee Hughes, EV, 77. 3. Catherine Dawsey, BM, 83.

Steamboat finishers: 6. Alexandra Culver 90. 14. Sophia Gowdy 100. 25. Catherine Larock 107. 34. Quin Yeager 110.

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