Aspen High golfer Zoe Guthrie ready for first taste of state tournament | AspenTimes.com

Aspen High golfer Zoe Guthrie ready for first taste of state tournament

The golf course was a foreign place to Zoe Guthrie only a year ago.

She had played with Aspen Junior Golf at times growing up, but never left the driving range. It wasn't until she joined the Aspen High School girls' golf team last spring as a freshman that she got to experience the game in its entirety.

Now a sophomore, she's headed to the Class 3A state tournament Monday and Tuesday in Broomfield as the Skiers' lone qualifier.

"I'm just trying to get as much experience as I can," Guthrie said. "I've only golfed on a golf course about 10 times in my whole golfing career. I'm just trying to see how to play the game and how to evolve myself to be a better player."

Guthrie's best round as a sophomore came at Rifle when she shot 99. Otherwise, breaking the century mark was rarely the case. This season, she has consistently shot in the low- to mid-90s, a roughly 10-shot improvement from a year ago.

She did not compete at regionals as a freshman due to a scheduling conflict, therefore had no chance to qualify for state last spring.

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"I've learned how to adapt to the game, because last year was my first time on a golf course," Guthrie said of her improvement this season. "I think that's partially why I took so many strokes off, because I understood what to do and how to handle it and how to aim and how to hit. Because I had no idea last year."

Regionals, held May 8 at Battlement Mesa in Parachute, were a whole new test for Guthrie. She was paired with two of the top golfers in 3A and struggled, shooting 110 to finish in 19th place. That was enough, however, to sneak into the state tournament field, if barely.

"I think she got nervous playing with the No. 2 and No. 4 players in the state. They were both solid and shot 79 and blew away the field," said AHS girls' golf coach Don Buchholz, a certified PGA instructor.

"She maybe tried too hard instead of just playing her game. But it's a great learning experience. I'm glad she went as a sophomore, because we got two more years to go back and improve each time we go and know what to expect."

The 3A tournament will be played Monday and Tuesday at Broadlands Golf Course in Broomfield, with a practice round scheduled for Sunday. Guthrie is scheduled to tee off at 10:18 a.m. Monday from Hole 10 alongside Yuma's Becca Wall and Monte Vista's Gracie Burkhart.

This is the first season the state of Colorado has had a 3A classification for girls' golf.

"I wasn't really expecting to go to states because I didn't think my performance was up to par at regionals. … I was very shocked (to qualify). It was really cool to think about," Guthrie said. "It's going to be a little overwhelming for sure, because it's states. It's not going to be little. I'm going to try and stay focused and in a mentality that will help me persevere throughout the day."

Guthrie was the lone sophomore for a relatively young Aspen team this season, one that included five freshmen, one junior and two seniors.

acolbert@aspentimes.com

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