Walla three-peats regionals
Playing through 50-mph wind gusts and driving rain, Aspen High’s Kristin Walla captured her third consecutive Class 4A Western Slope regional golf tournament championship on Tuesday at Tiara Rado in Grand Junction.
Walla, a junior, shot an 87 to edge runner-up Charley Hoehn of Montrose by three strokes and lift the AHS girls team to its second consecutive third-place finish at the regional tournament.
Eagle Valley won the team title with a combined score of 272, followed by Glenwood Springs and then Aspen with 304 (based on the sum of each team’s top-three scorers).
“It was tough conditions for golf,” said AHS coach Andy Scrivner. “But fortunately, we have a tough team.”
Walla’s classmate Liz Floyd carded a 105 and freshman Jordy Karlinski, playing her first golf tournament since hanging up the cleats with the AHS soccer team, shot a 112. Walla will be the lone AHS representative at the 2004 Class 4A state tournament on Tuesday at the Colorado Springs Country Club.
“Just finishing the round was impressive; breaking 90 was special. [Walla] played with all the best players and she and Charley were back and forth through the round, but Kristin was able to make up some strokes on the last few holes to take the title,” said Scrivner.
“The whole team was very proud of her.”
“The weather was really bad,” said Walla. “It was like six inches more rain than the three inches Grand Junction had gotten all year so far. But I made some mistakes that didn’t really have anything to do with the weather, the weather just made it all the more difficult to recover. I wasn’t real happy with my game.”
Walla, 17, won the Western Slope regional title the last two years en route to top-10 finishes at the Class 4A state tournament. As a freshman Walla finished eighth in the state tourney and last year she finished tied for seventh.
Walla, who has won four of the eight tournaments she has entered this season, said Tuesday’s victory was eerily anti-climatic, perhaps due to the upcoming state tourney.
“The award [at regionals] is a ribbon like two inches wide and four inches long and it says, ‘Regional First Place Individual,'” Walla said, “and that’s a little disappointing when you get huge plaques for any old regular season tournament. It’s not very respected, no one really cares I guess, but it’s definitely the step toward state and that must be how they view it as well, CHSAA [Colorado High School Activities Association] that is.”
Though Walla has never played the Colorado Springs Country Club course, she has hit balls there, enabling her to scope out the links from afar.
“I haven’t played well either time I’ve been to states,” she said. “And last year they had greens that were impossible to putt on because of the drought – they had totally dry greens. But this year’s course looks like a good course, and hopefully it will live up to its expectations.
“I’m feeling much more confident going into states that the last few years,” she continued. “I definitely have the skills and the ability to do well.”
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