Persson, Woodrow head to state for first time with Aspen High School girls golf

Class 3A tournament is Tuesday and Wednesday at The Broadlands in Broomfield

Aspen High School freshmen Audrey Woodrow, right, and Lenna Persson laugh prior to a practice round on Friday, May 27, 2022, at Aspen Golf Club. The duo will compete at the state tournament Tuesday and Wednesday in Broomfield.
Austin Colbert/The Aspen Times

When the season began, Audrey Woodrow wasn’t thinking about qualifying for the state tournament. The Aspen High School freshman was playing competitive golf for the first time ever after picking up the sport in earnest at the beginning of the pandemic, and she had a lot to learn.

Playing at state? No, that wasn’t all too high on her list.

“It’s been really interesting,” Woodrow said of her season on Friday prior to the team’s practice round at Aspen Golf Club. “At the beginning, I was worried that I was going to be the worst, but as the season has progressed, I think I’ve really improved, and I’ve definitely connected with the girls on the team. It’s been a really fun experience.”

Woodrow has been far from “the worst” and put together her best round of the season last week at regionals in Alamosa and will join freshman teammate Lenna Persson at the Class 3A state tournament Tuesday and Wednesday at The Broadlands Golf Course in Broomfield.

AHS girls golf coach Shannon Worth never doubted Woodrow’s chances, despite her inexperience.

“I wasn’t worried for a second. Something about Audrey’s mental focus has been there from the very start. She is learning her swing,” Worth said. “She hasn’t been trained the way Lenna has been trained, but this game is so mental, and from the very first tournament that we played, I could see she knows how to focus when she needs to. She knows how to relax when she needs to, which is another huge part of the game.”

While Worth had plenty of confidence in Woodrow at regionals, she had even more in Persson. The standout rookie entered the state qualifier among the favorites to win and did just that, shooting 80 at Cattails Golf Club to win the regional by four strokes over Vail Mountain sophomore Logan Nobrega.

As a regional champion, Persson will have a few extra eyes on her at the state tournament.

“I was coming in ranked No. 1 in the region, but I didn’t necessarily expect to win. I just knew that if I played good I could win,” Persson said of her regional round. “I’m super excited. I would have been bummed if it was just me (at state), because the team aspect of golf that I’ve gotten this year has been so much fun. In previous years I’ve been playing, and it’s just me and my dad. And that’s fun, but being with a group of girls, especially this group of girls, has been a really good experience.”

There is a jovial nature to the Skiers this season, and Woodrow might top the list as a reason why. She shot 101 at regionals to tie for 10th place and easily qualified for state. Woodrow said she was simply happy to be there and has a similar attitude toward this week’s tournament in Denver.

Aspen High School freshmen Audrey Woodrow, left, and Lenna Persson laugh prior to a practice round on Friday, May 27, 2022, at Aspen Golf Club.
Austin Colbert/The Aspen Times

“The girls from the other teams are excited when they get to play with her. I would want to play with her. Lenna wants to play with her. She is a good little leader, a good little light for the future,” Worth said of Woodrow. “I am really happy. It is the start of something. We needed a little bit of a fresh energy. And not even just talent, but the whole team helps each other succeed with their positive attitudes.”

The future is indeed bright for AHS girls golf. Junior Jade Hanson just missed out on qualifying for the state tournament — she was officially listed as a second alternate — and last year’s standout freshman, Brooke O’Sullivan, has been out this spring recovering from a knee injury. O’Sullivan finished 10th at the state tournament last season.

This week it’ll be about Persson and Woodrow getting that same state experience, with the pair hopefully joining O’Sullivan on course together next spring.

“I’m really excited for it. There are some girls that I have played against in tournaments in previous years. … I’ve beaten them before, but I’ve seen some of their scores this season, and they have been shooting around even par, which is a little intimidating,” Persson said of state. “I’m not too worried about it. I’m mostly excited to go and have the experience for the first time.”

Gallery caption: Photos: Aspen High School girls golf

Persson admitted she’s felt a little extra pressure since winning the regional championship last week. She’s received a lot more attention, notably of the congratulatory nature, from her friends and teachers, which is all part of the fun.

But pressure is also something both Persson and Woodrow seem to have the ability to toss aside when they need to on the golf course.

“I’m also really nervous, but I think that’s expected,” Woodrow said of competing at state. “Lenna is one of my really close friends outside of golf as well. I think it’s a really good environment. Lenna, even though she is really good, she is just an awesome person to play with, and she is really optimistic and happy all the time. I’ve never had a bad day on this team.”

After a weather-permitting practice round Monday, the two-day state tournament will get underway Tuesday. Both AHS golfers will start from the 10th tee in the first round, with Persson getting on course at 9:30 a.m. alongside Moffat County’s Reagan Hafey and Jefferson Academy’s Samantha Duncan.

Woodrow will play in the following group that tees off at 9:40 a.m. alongside Moffat County’s Taylor Powell and Jefferson Academy’s Freja Hampton.

The groups will be re-sorted for the second round on Wednesday based off first-round scores. AHS won’t be able to compete for a team score as it doesn’t have the minimum of three golfers needed.

“I never doubted that Lenna would not be there by herself, to be honest,” Worth said. “I don’t think it is just a one-person team, as much as I love her and she has the talent. We do have a little team coming up, so it will be fun to have them get this experience, because that’s what is going to help them when we do have a chance to compete as a team.”