• Jenny Sparks / Loveland Reporter-Herald

    Legacy's Jennifer Hankins drops in a putt during Monday's opening round of the Class 5A state tournament. Hankins finished the round in sixth place.

  • Jenny Sparks / Loveland Reporter-Herald

    Fairview's Madison McCambridge stood in a tie for seventh after Monday's opening round of the Class 5A girls golf state tournament.




LOVELAND — There isn’t any more room on a crowded leaderboard for Mother Nature.

On a cold, damp Day 1 of the Class 5A state championship at The Olde Course at Loveland she was the storyline and is likely to be a bigger part of the proceedings on Tuesday — which seems par for the course in Colorado this spring.

With the threat of lower temperatures and more heavy precipitation on Day 2, the unspoken onus was on putting up a good number on Monday. Three of the area’s finest did just that, staying within shouting distance of opening-round leader Gillian Vance of Dakota Ridge and her 4-under par 68 on the 6,326-yard municipal layout.

Front Range League champion Madison McCambridge of Fairview played about as clean a round of golf as she could given the conditions, firing a 3-over 75. A bogey on the opening hole was followed by eight straight pars and an outward nine score of 37.

“I scrambled all throughout the 18 holes, but I scambled well enough to make pars,” said McCambridge, whose lone birdie came on the difficult par-4 14th. “I kind of played today like it is my only day and try not to think of it as state, but as a normal tournament and put all that other stuff out of my head.”

The only blip on an otherwise clean scorecard for McCambridge was on the 16th, where she made her only double bogey of the round.

Just a shot behind McCambridge is Monarch’s Delaney Elliott. The Coyotes junior also made the turn in 37, but found trouble on the more difficult backside at the Olde Course.

She doubled No. 10 and 15, but was able to offset the damage a little bit with birdies on No. 13 and 18. It was the birdie on the closing hole that allowed her to walk off the course feeling a little better about her round.

“It feels good to end with a birdie,” said Elliott, who admitted she shook the state nerves somewhere in the opening nine holes. “My drives got me in trouble on more than one occasion, but I made a few good saves, missed a few short putts, but other than that it was okay.”

The shot of the day belonged to Boulder senior Jenna Knutson. Not only did she chip in twice, but on the 350-yard par-4 No. 6, Knutson holed out from 150 yards for an eagle. It was the highlight of an opening round 83, which she will take.

“I’m really happy with that,” Knutson said. “I went into thinking whatever happens, happens and I’m here and that is all that really maters to me. After the eagle I figured the day was going to be better and noting could get worse.”

Course and CHSAA officials will get to the course at 6:30 a.m. Tuesday morning and decide on a plan for either continuing with the two-day tournament or calling it good after one round, in which Vance would be the medalist and Regis Jesuit (221) would be the team champion.

One person hugely in favor of continuing the event is Legacy coach Mark Glen, whose Front Range League champion team is just four shots behind Rock canyon for second place.

“I am hoping we play because I know that we can play better than all those teams in those conditions,” said Glen, whose team sits at 238 to Rock Canyon’s 234. “I’ll stack our team against the other teams in a heartbeat in those conditions, especially where we sit.

“I’m hoping we play in the rain. As cold as it will be and as ugly as it will be it will be competitive and I would love to see our girls rise to that challenge.”

One Lighting player that was on her game on Monday was Jennifer Hankins. With her sister Sarah fresh off of her freshman campaign at the University of Wyoming in the gallery, Hankins sits alone in sixth place after a 2-over par 74.

“I was string the ball so good today and it was awesome to finally be hitting the ball again,” said Jennifer Hankins, whose sister helped her mentally prepare for the round by giving her an eating schedule that ‘mentally engulfed’ her leading up to tee-time.

Hankins will have to walk a delicate line tomorrow, knowing that team-wise it would be great to play, but individually it is a very good result.

“Whatever happens is going to happen,” said Hankins, whose teammates Laura From (78) and Andrea Hoos (86) helped put the Lightning in contention. “We gave it our best shot (today) and that is really all we can do.”

Broomfield was playing in its first Class 5A tournament and with three players in the field had a chance to score in the team race. Opening-round 90’s from Brenna Fankell and Maddie Kern as well as a 91 from Hope Kim have them sitting with a team score of 271.

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At The Olde Course at Loveland

Team scores — Regis Jesuit 221, Rock Canyon 234, Legacy 238, Fairview 243, Ralston Valley 244, Grandview 243, Heritage 244, Cherry Creek 251, Denver East 251, Monarch 252, Loveland 257, Fossil Ridge 262, Legend 262, Arapahoe 271, Broomfield 271, Arvada West 276.

Top individuals — 1. Gillian Vance, Dakota Ridge, 68; 2. Sydney Gillespie, Regis Jesuit, 70; t-3. Alexis Chan, Rock Canyon, 73; t-3. Ashlyn Kirschner, Ralston Valley 73; t-3. Morgan Sahm Grandview 73; 6. Jennifer Hankins, Legacy, 74; t-7. Maddy McCambridge, Fairview, 75; t-7. Mary Weinstein, Regis Jesuit, 75; t-9. Delaney Elliott, Monarch 76; t-9. Jaclyn Murray, Regis Jesuit, 76.

Boulder results — Jenna Knutson 83; Danielle Picard 103.

Broomfield results — Brenna Fankell 90; Maddie Kern 90; Hope Kim 91.

Other Fairview results — Kelsey Webster 93; Taylor Sunset 93; Tara Srinivas 96.

Other Legacy results — Laura From 78; Andrea Hoos 86; Maddy Rodriguez 99.

Other Monarch results — Carly Gallant 84; Emma Teuton 92; Remy Mullen 99.