Girls golf: Monarch’s Delaney Elliott not bothered by pressure of state

GRAND JUNCTION — Delaney Elliott took a laid-back approach to her first state appearance.

The Monarch freshman did not set any hard and fast goals and she let the any weight she felt roll off her like the rain washing Grand Mesa in Monday’s showers. Her no-worries approach was a good choice, because Elliott is set to kick off her state career with a bang.

The freshman finished the opening day of the Class 5A tournament in rare territory, below 80 at Tiara Rado Golf Course. And if she continues her steady play Tuesday, she could be en route to a top-10 finish.

“I tried not to put a lot of pressure on myself, because I know I’m just a freshman,” she said. “Really, regionals was more nerve wracking than today.”

Elliott finished shooting 5-over at the par-72 course, in seventh place and within range of knocking off the field leader. It could take some doing to catch Calli Ringsby, but the Cherry Creek golfer’s 73 is nowhere near safe.

Elliott’s finish did not come easy with the Coyote having to chase after errant tee shots to construct solid holes. But strong wedge-play and steady putting put her in the hunt.

“I had a four-putt, which was kind of sad,” she said. “But for the most part I putted well, so that saved me.”

Legacy earned its foursome off individual qualifications at regionals, but played like a champion Monday. The team finished 19 strokes off the leader Cherry Creek in fourth place. And is with within the striking distance for a spot in the top three.

Sarah Hankins was the Lightning top individual finisher, carding a 79 in her opening round. The score placed her tied for eighth and gave her plenty of motivation to finish Tuesday’s round in strong form.

“It was real and it was fun, but it wasn’t real fun today,” said the junior, who placed seventh at state a year ago. “I got on the bogey train early and couldn’t get off.