LOVELAND — With apologies to the rest of the spring sports athletes that have had to deal with cold temperatures, wind rain and snow ... perhaps nobody ever has it worse than girls golfers.
Not only do they play in miserable conditions, but most of the time the are playing on tracks that have not quite recovered from their winter abuse. Add to that, most of them haven't had a chance to hone their games over winter either.
The good ones round in to form a lot quicker than others because of trips to warm-weather year-round climates like Arizona, but it won't be truly crisp until the calendar turns to May.
On Wednesday at the Olde Course at Loveland, both Silver Creek's Erin Sargent and Niwot's Claire McPeak showed flashes of their mid-May selves, but they both know they will need a little more time. That being said, the duo finished 1-2 in the Northern League Tournament.
"It usually just depends on the day and some days are going to be a lot better than others," said Sargent, who earned medalist honors with a 9-over par 81 on the 5,381-yard layout. "The main issue for me today was my putting."
Sargent, who was playing her third tournament in as many days, was hitting the ball well from tee-to-green, but the flat stick let her down. She had five three-putt greens, including three in four holes in a tough stretch that saw her give five stroke back to the course.
"That was unheard of for me," Sargent said. "Clearly this round doesn't represent how I putt. It's all about putting this round behind me, understanding that I need to work on my putting. But I can't let that get in my head."
Sargent, who fired a 76 on Tuesday at The Ranch to record a victory, had her moments on Wednesday. Notably on the 290-yard par-4 No. 9; where her second shot from the left hand rough was tracking towards the flag and nearly went down for eagle — lipping out from 95-yards — and she ended up making birdie. She would make her only other birdie on the very next hole.
Whereas Sargent had her struggles on and around the greens, McPeak made the course a little bit longer with her difficulty getting off the tee.
Her inconsistency wasn't left or right, but more just making solid contact and leaving much longer approach shots than she probably would have liked. It's something she knows is coming.
"Sometimes that can be a challenge for me for sure," said McPeak, who carded an 83. "But I think as long as my short game is on par then everything is okay."
McPeak was steady, making only two doubles. She also had two birdies and a handful of bogeys.
"I play a fair amount over the winter, going down to Arizona to play around, but it does take a while to get acclimated, especially when the greens are really dry and the fairways are beat up," she said. By this time in the season I'm usually pretty close to being acclimated."
McPeak's teammate Rosie Setter finished in the top five, shooting a 93 to help the Cougars win the team chase.
Centaurus' Brie Nickel finished sixth, one shot behind Setter, with a 94.
NORTHERN LEAGUE MEET
At The Olde Course at Loveland
Team scores — Greeley Unified 376, Niwot 389, Thompson Valley 411, Mountain View 446, Silver Creek 450, Estes Park 480, Centaurus 482.
Top individuals — 1. Erin Sargent, Silver Creek, 81; 2. Claire McPeak, Niwot, 83; Aryn McLaughlin, Thompson Valley, 85; 4. Caitlyn Olson, Greeley Unified, 90; 5. Rosie Setter, Niwot, 93; 6. Brie Nickel, Centaurus, 94; T7. Alli Brown, Greeley Unified, 95; T7. Kayli Borski, Greeley Unified, 95.
Other Centaurus results — Katie Strohl 115; Nychelle Jones 137; Olivia Schmich 137; Almut Mayer 141.
Other Niwot results — Keena Strope 96; Avery Grace Blanco 120.
Other Silver Creek results — Sydney Eckert 118; Parker Nicholas 122; Taylor Sandal 129.