Gazette Preps Peak Performer of the Week, Rampart golfer Arielle Keating

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Photo - Rampart golfer Arielle Keating was the Peak Performer this week. Monday, April 24, 2017 . Photo by Jerilee Bennett, The Gazette
Rampart golfer Arielle Keating was the Peak Performer this week. Monday, April 24, 2017 . Photo by Jerilee Bennett, The Gazette

If the Rampart girls' golf team is playing a tournament, odds are Arielle Keating's name is near the top of the leaderboard.

The junior is off to a scorching start this season, and is quickly showing she's one of the best golfers in the city and state.

Keating shot a 3-under 69 to win the Liberty Lancer Invitational at Pine Creek Golf Club on Thursday. She tied for first at the Cougar Classic three days earlier, and also has wins at the Trojan Invitational and Air Academy Kadet Invitational on her 2017 résumé. (She shot another 69 on Monday to win the Spartan Invitational.)

"This season I've dedicated a lot more time to golf," Keating said. "Two years ago, I was splitting time between golf and soccer, and last year I was doing golf and club volleyball. I have spent so much more time on the golf course and practiced as much as I can. It's definitely come through recently."

What made Keating's 69 at Pine Creek more impressive was that she was playing in temperatures in the 40s, with wind of more than 20 mph.

"I feel a lot more comfortable and confident in my swing," she said. "Growing up in Colorado, you get used to the weather and learn to adjust. You need to have enough confidence in your swing that you can hit the ball when there's a 20 mile-per-hour wind."

Keating won't have to worry about those weather conditions when she attends college. She recently verbally committed to play at Florida Atlantic.

Rampart golfer Arielle Keating was the Peak Performer this week. Monday, April 24, 2017 . Photo by Jerilee Bennett, The Gazette 

Keating's coach at Rampart knows her better than anyone - he's also her father. Brad Keating beams with pride when talking about the improvement his daughter has made in the past year since focusing solely on golf.

"She's playing at a collegiate level right now, and is probably 8-10 strokes better than she was last year at this time," Brad said. "We were on the first hole at Pine Creek, and it's 200-some yards long and it's cold and the wind is blowing. All the other players are laying up, and Arielle takes out a 4-wood and hits it right next to the green."

Arielle says her long game is solid, but her putting is what needs the most work. She laughed as she compared herself to movie character Happy Gilmore.

"On the last hole of the Liberty tournament I three-putted after getting on the green in a few shots," she said. "I'm working on my putting; I could've shot a 65 instead of a 69 if I putted better."

Still, Keating is one of the top 5A players in the state. Just like her golf game, Rampart's team has seen dramatic improvement in the past year. The Rams won the Lancer Invite by 13 strokes.

"The Rampart administration has really made a strong effort to help our team be the best it can be - and we have a great team," Brad said. "That has made it more fun for Arielle, and for everyone on the team."

Arielle was 19th at state as a freshman and tied for 13th last year. Now, she's eyeing a big leap.

"Winning state has been something that's been in the back of my mind since the season started," she said. "I want to perform well at state, and I think I'll be able to improve from the past two years."