Palmer Ridge's Kellsey Sample recovers to sit seventh in 4A state girls' golf

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ERIE - Palmer Ridge senior Kellsey Sample left the Colorado National Golf Club in swift fashion Monday, frantically grabbing her clubs and racing to the car to make the Bears' graduation ceremony later that night at The Broadmoor World Arena.

Don't worry, she'll be back.

Sample sits seventh after shooting a 9-over 81 on the first day of the 4A state golf tournament, eight strokes back of the leader Lauren Lehigh of Loveland (73).

The senior was composed during her round - even after a double bogey and triple bogey on Nos. 3 and 4 - and shot four strokes above par over her last 14 holes. Not until her par putt on No. 18 did she begin to unnerve a bit.

"It didn't even cross my mind," she smiled as she raced into the parking lot. "I don't think about anything else until the 18th hole. And then I was like 'Oh my gosh I have to run. I have to hurry to the car.'"

Seven area golfers finished inside the top 20 on day one.

Pine Creek's Elly Carlson, the 4A Region 1 champ, held her round to an 84 after penciling in 4-over on her first hole.

Caught in a nightmare, Carlson shanked her opening drive and had another shot go out of play. The meltdown could've easily affected the entire round, but she persevered.

"She was 7-over through four and ended 12-over," Pine Creek coach Shane Brown noted. "She grinded today and kept herself in contention."

Loveland leads the tournament by 18 strokes at 233. Pine Creek sits eighth (278) and Palmer Ridge is ninth (287).

The tournament will conclude Tuesday.

"I have a full 18 (holes) tomorrow," Carlson said. "I got a brand new day."

Also on the leader board were Cheyenne Mountain senior Casey Fetters (83) in 10th and junior teammate Maxine Choi (85) tied for 12th.

The two have continued to lead a rebuilding program with sophomores Bryn Norrie and Katie Dalsaso looking to gain experience at the state level.

Unlike the teams that won three consecutive team titles 2013-15, the Indians were just happy to be here.

"It was really amazing for us to get to state as a team," Fetters said. "I just told the girls 'we aren't going to win, so just go out there and have a good time.'

"I think it's really good for the underclassmen to come to state so they have some experience here."

Air Academy's Isabell Deak shot 85 for 12th. Coronado's Kate Griffin was tied for 15th at 86 and Palmer Ridge's Ashlee Sample was tied for 20th at 88.