LONGMONT — Silver Creek's Taylor Sandal is best known by her stage name, "Taylor Shae," and for her exceptional talents as an award-winning Americana and blues singer and songwriter.
It has taken the 17-year-old a short lifetime to hone her craft as a musician. That hasn't stopped Sandal from endeavoring to master another pursuit that requires creativity, talent, patience and nuance. Sandal's latest challenge is golf and her target is the elusive 90-stroke barrier that most golfers never break.
On a cold and windy Tuesday, Sandal shot a 102 at par-72 Ute Creek Golf Course to place eighth in the third Northern League tournament of the season. She didn't accomplish her goal of breaking 90, which only two players did including the day's winner and defending Class 4A state champion Lauren Lehigh from Loveland. But with a season-low score of 94 to her credit, Sandal knows she's close.
"It's going really well," Sandal said. "I think that I'm improving a lot as an individual. I'm improving my swing and I think that it'll be a good season. I hope I can make state this year and maybe break 90. I think I can do it."
Sandal shot a 49 on the front nine and opened the back nine with a par on the par-4 10th hole. But she was bitten by the wind on No. 11 and picked up six strokes with an 11 on the par-5 hole, pushing her out of reach of her season-long goal at least for one more day.
"The weather was pretty rough," Sandal said. "But whenever the wind stopped and the sun started to come out, it got better for everyone. It wasn't my best score today but I think on a nice, sunny day I've got a good shot."
While everyone struggled in Tuesday's wind, the Niwot girls fared better than most.
Senior Mya Ostrom led the Cougars with a 93 and placed fourth overall. Cougars sophomore Julia Solem shot a 103, which was good enough for ninth place, and teammates Trinity Pleffner and Halie Ostrom shot matching 105s.
"It wasn't the easiest day out there and this isn't the easiest course," Niwot head coach Ed Weaver said. "They weren't all happy with how they played but the girls did their best in these conditions and came out with some decent scores, all things considered."
For the Centaurus Warriors, Julia Mischke shot the lowest score with a 127.
Northern League #3
At Ute Creek G.C., par 72
Top individuals — 1. Lauren Lehigh, Loveland, 72; 2. Lois Sheaffer, Northridge, 82; 3. Taylor Bandemer, Loveland, 91; t4. Mya Ostrom, Niwot, 93; t4. Renee Demaree, Mountain View, 93; 6. Natalee Hall, Loveland, 95; 7. Emma Sheaffer, Northridge, 101; 8. Taylor Sandal, Silver Creek, 102; 9. Julia Solem, Niwot, 103; t10. Marci Collins, Northridge, 104; t10. Laure Bourgin, 104.
Other Niwot results — Trinity Pleffner 105, Halie Ostrom 105.
Other Silver Creek results — Mollie McCoy 120, Lauren Ranglos 136, Sonya Shoup 138.
Centaurus results — Julia Mischke 127, Masani Salazar 131, Molly Grant 140.