GOLDEN — Carly Gallant has dreamt that the final day of her prep golf career would see her in the final groupings, just a few strokes back and playing well with a chance to chase down the leader for a state title.
On Tuesday at The Club at Rolling Hills, Gallant will live out that dream.
While this year's Class 5A state tournament course's rolling hills and unforgiving greens threw a number of the state's best golfers off their games, Gallant battled as well as any and shot a 6-over 78 to end the day in a tie for fifth place. After Day 1 of her senior state tournament, she sits just three strokes back of Rock Canyon's Amelia Lee, who will open Day 2 as the leader.
Gallant fought hard for her chance. Tomorrow, the chase begins for real.
"I kind of had a rough start and had some nerves, but it is the state championship after all," Gallant said. "But I put together a streak of pars and that helped me be steady going into the back nine. I definitely wanted to be in the top 10, maybe the top 5, and to shoot in the 70s both days. I'm right there and I still know that I gave a couple away, so I'm excited.
"I'm kind of where I wanted to be and tomorrow there are a couple shots that I can go for, so we'll see what I can do."
Starting on the par-4 10th hole, Gallant opened the state tournament with a bogey and then a double-bogey. But she settled down quickly and rattled off eight straight pars before picking up just three more strokes over the course of the final eight holes. Currently tied with Grandview's Amy Chitkoksoong, Gallant was one of only five players to break 80.
As a team, the Coyotes ended the first day 22 strokes behind team scoring-leader Rock Canyon in eighth place. With the greens at The Club at Rolling Hills creating problems for the Coyotes, and everyone else, really, Gabrielle Ferro shot a 91, Liina Neitenbach carded a 93 and Emma Teuton came in at 104. But with a relatively low number of strokes separating the top 10 teams, the Coyotes left the course excited for the potential for movement on Tuesday.
"That would be super cool to finish in the top 10 or top five," Gallant said. "It's just as important and it would be so fun to be able to do something big as a team. Hopefully we can all play solid and have a run at it tomorrow."
Despite entering as a contender for the individual title, Fairview junior Kelsey Webster had a difficult first day. She finished the day 12 strokes over par and in a tie for 15th. Teammate Sophie Nelsen shot a 119 and is currently in 83rd place.
Broomfield's Anna Roh finished Monday's round tied for 54th place after carding a 95, while teammate Lauren Hirsch is tied for 68th after carding a 102.
Legacy's Izzy Hebert shot a 98 to tie for 63rd place.
Class 5A girls golf state championships
At The Club at Rolling Hills, par 72
Team scores — Rocky Canyon 240, Ralston Valley 245, Arvada West 250, Cherry Creek 255, Fossil Ridge 256, Denver East 259, Grandview 260, Monarch 262, Highlands Ranch 265, Regis Jesuit 268, Arapahoe 271, Legend 283, ThunderRidge 286, Cherokee Trail 289.
Top individuals — 1. Amelia Lee, Rock Canyon, 75; t2. Julia Baroth, Denver East, 76; t2. Payton Canon, Cherry Creek, 76; 4. Arielle Keating, Rampart, 77; t5. Amy Chitkoksoong, Grandview, 78; t5. Carly Gallant, Monarch, 78; t7. Alexis Chan, Rock Canyon, 80; t7. Reagan Robinson, Arvada West, 80; t9. Jaclyn Murray, Regis Jesuit, 81; t9. Lexi Mueldener, Ralston Valley, 81.
Other Monarch results — t38. Gabrielle Ferro, 91; t43. Liina Neitenbach, 93; t74. Emma Teuton, 104.
Fairview results — t15. Kelsey Webster, 82; 83. Sophie Nelsen, 119.
Broomfield results — t54. Anna Roh, 95; t68. Lauren Hirsch, 102.
Legacy results — t63. Izzy Hebert, 98.