Area players look for top finishes in girls' golf state tourneys

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Photo - Rampart golfer Arielle Keating is the Peak Performer of the Year for girls' golf. She was photographed Monday, April 24, 2017 at the Colorado Springs Country Club. Photo by Jerilee Bennett, The Gazette
Rampart golfer Arielle Keating is the Peak Performer of the Year for girls' golf. She was photographed Monday, April 24, 2017 at the Colorado Springs Country Club. Photo by Jerilee Bennett, The Gazette

Arielle Keating tied for 13th last season at the 5A state tournament in girls' golf. Kellsey Sample tied for 10th in 4A. Pine Creek's Elly Carlson tied for 58th in the 5A tournament.

This year, all three are back and looking to climb even higher on the leader boards.

The two-day state tournaments all tee off Monday, with 5A at Rolling Hills in Golden, 4A at Colorado National in Erie and the 3A tournament making its debut, heading to Broadlands in Broomfield.

This season Carlson will be competing in the 4A tourney since the Eagles moved down because of enrollment numbers. She will also have her teammates with her trying to score a high finish in the team standings.

"We're excited. Obviously we have the potential to do great things with all of our players," Pine Creek coach Shane Brown said. "If we put it all together, every one of them can contribute."

Cheyenne Mountain, Palmer Ridge, Liberty, Air Academy and Coronado will compete as teams in 4A. With three golfers in the 3A tournament, The Classical Academy will also be able to score as a team.

Keating will be looking to improve on last year's finish. She went through a stretch of shooting under par in four consecutive tournaments in the regular season. She also won the 5A Colorado Springs Metro League and took third in regionals.

"She's taken her game to the next level," said Brad Keating, Arielle's father and Rampart's coach. "Last year we were hoping for top 10, and we didn't quite make it. But she was just getting her focus last year after (competing in drive, chip, putt) at The Masters. This year she's much more calm, she's got a lot better head on her shoulders. Her swing has improved and is just solid."

There also won't be any rest for Arielle when Tuesday's tournament ends. The next day she will be trying to qualify for the U.S. Women's Open, playing 36 holes Wednesday.

For now, she'll focus on state.

Palmer Ridge's Sample will be joined by her sister Ashlee, who finished tied for 18th last season.

St. Mary's Sarah Hwang, who won her regional and looked to be among the favorites in the 3A tournament, opted not to participate in the state tournament so she could attend her graduation.