Guthrie strong as Aspen girls golf team finishes third in home tournament
AHS INvite scores
1. Gracie Olkowski, GJ 69
2. Callie Jones, Glenwood 73
3. Brittlynn O'Dell, GJ 77
4. Zoe Guthrie, Aspen 90
4. Jenna Greenlee, GJ 90
1. Grand Junction, 236
2. Vail Mountain, 307
3. Aspen, 319
Out on the course Tuesday, Aspen High School junior Zoe Guthrie was as much a stalker as a competitor. Playing alongside two of the Western Slope’s best golfers, including Grand Junction sophomore Gracie Olkowski, Guthrie spent as much time analyzing her opponents as she did her own shots.
“Last year, I didn’t realize how important it was, because if I’m playing with girls who are not up to my level, it doesn’t challenge me and it doesn’t allow me to play better than I actually am,” Guthrie said. “So being with girls who shoot 10-plus strokes better than me, it just makes me watch them and how they swing and how they putt and how they play and how I can improve my game to be as good as them someday.”
Guthrie’s studiousness seems to have paid off, as the 90 she shot Tuesday at Aspen Golf Club was the second-best round of her high school career. Her best round came on the second day of the Class 3A state tournament last year in Broomfield, where she shot 88 to finish 23rd overall.
Olkowski, who has found few challengers this side of the Rockies this season, shot a 1-under-par 69 to win the AHS invitational, her second win in as many days. Glenwood’s Callie Jones was second with 73 while Grand Junction’s Brittlynn O’Dell was third with 77.
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The AHS invite was the lone home tournament of the season for the Aspen girls golf team.
“It can only help your game when you are playing with better players. I brought that to her attention several times,” AHS coach Don Buchholz said of Guthrie. “That was good. It’s been a slow start for our team, but it’s really coming together now that the range is open and we are getting a lot of practice outside. We are really seeing a lot of improvement with the team.”
Grand Junction shot a three-player score of 236 to win the small tournament, while Vail Mountain finished second with 307 and Aspen third with 319. Glenwood Springs only entered two golfers and therefore didn’t factor into the team competition. Fruita was the fifth team to have competed Tuesday in Aspen.
Guthrie’s 90 was tied for the fourth best score on a cold, windy and sometimes rainy golf course. Sophomore Avery Hirsch shot 106 to finish second among the Skiers, while twin sisters Hailey and Julia Higdon each shot 123 and Maddie Madril 144. For both Julia Higdon and Madril, it was their first stroke-play competition of the season.
Collectively, the team saw considerable improvement from the scores they posted a week ago in Rifle. That day, Guthrie shot 101, Hirsch 124 and Hailey Higdon 132. Olkowski also won that tournament, shooting 74.
“The past few tournaments have been higher scores for me, so it’s really nice to see it drop back down to where I want it,” said Guthrie, who already has her eyes set on regionals and hopefully a return trip to the state tournament. “I want to do better than I did last year, especially because I didn’t shoot what I wanted to. I just want to keep improving myself and my game and hopefully it will keep getting better.”
The Skiers only have one more tournament remaining in the regular season, a Tuesday trip to the Yampa Valley Golf Course in Craig. A week later, the team will compete in regional play, back in Rifle.
The Class 3A state tournament is scheduled for May 21-22 at Elmwood Golf Course in Pueblo.
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