BRIGHTON — A majority of the mystery and intrigue surrounding the final Front Range League girls golf match of the season at Riverdale Knolls was already solved.
Coaches and players had a pretty good idea of where they were headed for Monday’s Class 5A regional tournaments, but there was one tiny little nugget left to be resolved.
Fairview junior Maddy McCambridge entered the final tournament one shot back of friend and fellow junior Delaney Elliott of Monarch for the league’s season championship honor.
By virtue of her 1-over par 74 on the 5,830-yard layout, McCambridge bested Elliott by three shots on Thursday and in addition to winning her third league match, became the first Fairview golfer to earn the league honor in quite some time.
“It’s really exciting. I’ve been playing really great golf the last few weeks and it is exciting for me to finally have everything come together,” said McCambridge, who ended two shots ahead of Elliott for the top spot. “I don’t really have a part of my game that I am worried about. I just feel really confident.”
Said Fairview coach John Zerwin, whose team will head to the Class 5A Central Regional at Common Ground Golf Course on Monday: “Maddy has worked her butt off and she deserves it.”
Zerwin, who is on top of a majority of numbers for the FRL ,did not shy away from telling McCambridge where she stood in the grand scheme of things, giving his top player a general idea of what she needed to do on the fairly wide open track at Riverdale Knolls.
And the lefty responded early. Just three holes into the round, McCambridge, who was paired with Elliott and Legacy junior Jennifer Hankins, had already erased the one-shot deficit. Then she hopped on the birdie train.
McCambridge recorded birdies No. 6, 7 and 9 to finish her outward nine in 2-under par 34. All the while Elliot wasn’t playing bad, but couldn’t string anything together.
The turning point for the round came at No. 9, when both players hit their approach shots to within five feet. McCambridge walked away with a birdie and Elliott, who would later call it a momentary lapse, three-putted for a bogey. It was one of the two two-shot swings on the front nine to go McCambridge’s way.
“I really wanted to play well because I knew it was a good day, but I really didn’t start off great and you really don’t need to start that well to have a great day,” said Elliott, whose team will head to Heather Ridge Golf Course in Aurora on Monday for the Northern Regional tournament. “I knew I could come back, but it got a little off, a little bit too far off and it was tough to come back.”
The lead grew to five shots for McCambridge after she carded her fourth birdie of the day at the par-4 No. 12. It was just enough to overcome a 4-over finish in her final six holes, while Elliott went 1-under over that same stretch.
“I’m practicing a ton and just trying to keep focused and keep doing what I’m doing right now,” McCambridge said. “And hopefully head to state with some confidence.”
After learning her fate, Elliott — whose teammate Carly Gallant finished fourth on Thursday with a 79 — understood that there were indeed bigger fish to fry in the month of May.
“Regionals are Monday and all you have to do is play somewhat solid and you go to state,” she said. “State is where it is really at. If I peak then, it will be good and I haven’t hit my peak yet.”
Boulder, fresh off its first tournament win in over a decade earlier this week at the Harmony Club, finished seventh on Thursday and for the season. The Panthers will join Fairview at Common Ground on Monday. Jenna Knutson, who fired a 75 at Harmony, fired an 87 and earned second team honors in the league.
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FRONT RANGE LEAGUE MEET NO. 5
At Riverdale Knolls G.C. (par 73)
Team scores — Legacy 339, Monarch 340, Fossil Ridge 345, Fairview 346, Loveland 358, Broomfield 372, Boulder 381, Mountain Range 403, Horizon 434, Poudre 447.
Top individuals — 1. Maddy McCambridge, Fairview, 74; T2. Delaney Elliott, Monarch, 77; T2. Heather Kroll, Horizon, 77; 4. Carly Gallant, Monarch, 79; T5. Jennifer Hankins, Legacy, 82; T5. Andrea Hoos, Legacy, 82; 7. Aili Bundy, Loveland, 84; 8. Paige Gentry, Fossil Ridge, 85; 9. Cammie Fowler, Fossil Ridge, 86; T10. Jenna Knutson, Boulder, 87; T10. Hannah Doran, Loveland, 87; T10., Kayla Elder, Fossil Ridge, 87; T10. Abby Cosper, Fossil Ridge, 87; T10. Laura From, Legacy, 87.
Other Boulder results — Danielle Picard 94; Payton Williams 95; Jade Hunter 105; Anne Isaacs 119.
Other Fairview results — Kelsey Webster 88; Tara Srinivas 88; Taylor Sunset 96; Taylor McAfee 113.
Other Monarch results — Remy Mullen 92; Emma Teuton 92; Mandy Ennis 97.
Other Legacy results — Maddy Rodriguez 88; Izzy Hebert 99.
Broomfield results — Hope Kim 91; Maddy Kern 92; Brenna Fankell 92; Anna Roh 97; Cassidy Crown 98.