Rampart's Arielle Keating builds strong case for ruling girls 5A golf

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Photo - Rampart's Arielle Keating hits an iron at the 5A girls' golf state championship Monday, May 22, at Rolling Hills in Golden.
COURTESY PHOTO
Rampart's Arielle Keating hits an iron at the 5A girls' golf state championship Monday, May 22, at Rolling Hills in Golden. COURTESY PHOTO

GOLDEN - Rampart’s Arielle Keating declined to talk in specifics about her goals for Tuesday, the final day of the 5A girls' golf championship.

“I don’t want to say anything,” she said politely. “I know I’m definitely capable of shooting par or under.”

Brad Keating, Arielle’s father and the Rampart High coach, was eager to talk in specifics about his goals.

“Ah, to win,” he said after watching Arielle shoot a 4-over-par 77 Monday at the exceedingly challenging course at Club at Rolling Hills. Arielle is fourth, two strokes behind leader Amelia Lee of Rock Canyon.

“Our goal is to be top five, but she has a chance to win,” Brad said.

Arielle, a junior, had a strong day on her drives and chips and approach shots. The problem was putting.

 A hailstorm ransacked the Rolling Hills course two weeks ago, leaving the greens with countless scars.

Putts took strange and unpredictable journeys, but there was one constant in those journeys:

They were fast.

Arielle was able to get to know the Rolling Hills course with two practice rounds. She knew the greens would be challenging and frustrating.

“I’m not exactly happy with how I played, but I’m not upset,” Arielle said. “You can’t be that angry with it, because it’s definitely a hard course.”

She ended the day on a strong note. On her final hole, she knew she needed a long drive to clear a stream.

She didn’t deliver the long drive, and she couldn’t see where her shot landed.  As she walked toward the ball with her father, they both worried it might have landed in the water.

The ball was just clear of the water. She’s still not sure if her drive cleared the stream, or if the ball bounced over the water. She finished with a birdie, which allowed her to remain in clear sight of possible state supremacy Tuesday.

Palmer’s Charlotte Cliatt shot 96 and sits in 58th place of the 84-player field. She was happy with her drives, hitting 12 of 14 fairways. (Rolling Hills has four par-3s.)

Her putting, following a theme of the day, was often a problem.

“It was a pretty good day for me,” Cliatt said. “The greens were really hard, and they were really, really fast. My putting wasn’t that great, but everything else was pretty good.”

Cliatt said she hopes to break 90 on Tuesday.

The demanding and damaged course took its toll on many 5A golfers, with 16 competitors shooting at least 30-over-par. A few were sobbing as they finished their rounds.