BROOMFIELD - Holy Family's Hailey Schalk made a change the night before her first high school state golf tournament.
She had to change out putters.
She put away the Evnroll and went back to a Scotty Cameron.
The result was a career-best six-under-par 65 and a comfortable outright lead at the Class 3A state tournament at Broadlands.
"We found it could go either way," her dad and Holy Family coach Matt Schalk said. "It went the right way. She has been striking the ball well, but she's struggled putting the last couple weeks."
Schalk birdied her first five holes of Monday's round. She added another red number to the card on the seventh hole putting her at a staggering six-under through seven holes.
Her first blemish on the scorecard came with a bogey on nine.
"Sometimes you just have to mix it up," she said with a smile.
Maybe she thought all those red numbers made the scorecard lack character. But she got right back on track when she got to No. 10. She recorded her seventh birdie of the round and just looked to be in complete control of her game.
"On one, I hit a really good tee shot then hit my wedge to about three feet," she said. "I think that just gave me momentum to keep playing like I know how to play."
Her game is no secret. She plays smart and knows how to stay out of trouble. More often than not, her second shot will come from the middle of the fairway at a good angle to the pin.
Her only bit of real trouble came on nine when her tee shot went in the rough and she chunked it out on her second shot.
She got up-and-down for bogey.
She shot one-under coming in and ended her day with the best individual round for any golfer at state dating back to at least 2010.
And perhaps what's most impressive is that she gets little instruction during her round. And what little bit she does get does not come from her father.
"I have a deal with her that I help her all the way until it's time for her to play," Matt said. "When it's time for her to play I leave her alone. I believe that it's up to her to figure out what she needs to do on the course."
And she seems to be holding up her end of that deal. She knows that her dad will be there to watch her first tee shot, he'll give her a fist bump and then they won't discuss anything until sometime later.
Perhaps over family dinner.
"That when we'll go back over her round and I'll ask her what she thinks she could've done better," he said. "I see what she got away with, stuff like that."
She didn't get away with much on Monday, she simply played great golf. The best of her life. If she can do it again on Tuesday, she'll come away with a state title and set a high bar for Colorado girls golf for three more years.
Locals struggle in first day of Class 4A
When Day 2 of the Class 4A state tournament tees of on Tuesday morning, local entrants will be playing more for pride than any realistic shot at a top 10 finish.
Frederick junior Erin Baum is the top local golfer, finishing Day 1 in a three-way tie for 23rd place after carding a 17-over-par 89. Starting on the back nine, Baum was sitting at plus-nine after six holes before finding some rhythm. She pared the next four holes, but was eight over on the next seven.
Skyline's Grace Gunlikson ended the day at plus-19 and heads into the final day in 27th place, the only other local player in the top 50.
Loveland's Lauren Lehigh sits atop of the leaderboard after the first day after carding a 1-over-par 73. The Indians lead the team race by 18 strokes over second-place Windsor.
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Class 3A state tournament
Team scores — Colorado Academy 215, Holy Family 238, Kent Denver 240, Rifle 248, Pueblo County 279, Berthoud 282, Elizabeth 319, The Classical Academy 325, Jefferson Academy 326, Swink 330.
Top individuals — 1. Hailey Schalk, Holy Family, 65; 2. Cassie Kneen, Colorado Academy, 71; 3. Caroline Jordaan, 72; 3. Marie Jordaan, 72; 5. Charlotte Hillary, Kent Denver, 74; 5. rinity Goderstad, Colorado Academy, 74; 7. Masi Smith, Rifle, 75; 8. Elly Walters, Rifle, 77; 8. Meghan Vogt, Holy Family, 77; 10. Marin Halvorsen, Kent Denver, 79.
Other results — 29. Heather Stauter, Holy Family, 96; 36. Trinity Stuart, Jefferson Academy, 99; 54. Emily Grantham, Jefferson Academy, 106; 57. Annika Achziger, Holy Family, 108; 74. May Gordon, Jefferson Academy, 122.
Class 4A state tournament
At Colorado National Golf Club
Team scores — Loveland 233, Windsor 251, Golden 255, Vista Peak 255, Glenwood Springs 260, Northridge 275, Evergreen 276, Pine Creek 278, Palmer Ridge 287, Valor Christian 289...Frederick 339.
Top individuals — 1. Lauren Lehigh, Loveland, 73; 2. Lauren Murphy, Glenwood Springs, 75; 2. Sydney Prey, Golden, 75; 4. Jessica Zapf, Windsor, 77; 5. Aili Bundy, Loveland, 78.
Other results — 23. Erin Baum, Frederick, 89; 27. Grace Gunlikson, Skyline, 91; 68. Payton Wallace, 117; 77. Lexi Ekern, Skyline, 127; 83. Cassie Palmer, Frederick, 133.