Cliff Grassmick / Staff Photographer
Cliff Grassmick / Staff Photographer
BOULDER — Fairview senior Kelsey Webster has a lot to look forward to when the next phase of her golf career begins at the University of Colorado next year.
Even her future prospects won’t do much to ease the disappointment Webster endured on Tuesday, at least for a little while.
After Monday’s first round at the Colorado Class 5A girls golf state championships, Webster had positioned herself to make a run at finishing her prep career by winning the state title she has been chasing for several years. But despite entering Tuesday’s second day of the two-round tournament one stroke off the lead on her home course at Boulder Country Club, she carded a 9-over 81 on Day 2 to finish in a five-way tie for third place.
“My high school career, I think, has not even touched on what my potential is,” Webster said. “I don’t say that in a cocky way, I say that in an excited way. Looking to the future, I’m excited to see what I can do and I’m excited that I get to keep playing golf. I really wanted to win and I’m bummed that I didn’t. But I know that because I didn’t win this tournament, it’s a sign that great things are coming. I’m so grateful for my coaches and all the opportunities I’ve had in high school and it’ll be tough to say goodbye.”
Things began to go south for Webster when she had a 104-yard wedge shot into the green on the par-4 ninth but skulled the ball across the green. Having played even-par golf to that point in the round, she finished the hole with a triple bogey that proved to be devastating while Eaglecrest freshman and eventual champion Emma Bryant had birdied the first three holes and five of the first nine to hit the turn at 5-under for the day.
Webster couldn’t seem to get her emotions back in check after that and went on to shoot 6-over on the back nine to end up in third place with Fossil Ridge’s Leigha Devine, Cherry Creek’s Payton Canon, Broomfield’s Meghan Vogt and Regis Jesuit’s Katie Berrian. Bryant, whose older brother Davis Bryant won the 5A boys title in the fall, finished at 2-under for the round and 1-under for the tournament.
“You know, both days I felt like my game was in a good position to win this thing,” Webster said. “Today, I think my emotions just got the best of me. I normally pride myself on staying calm and even-keeled and I’m just disappointed in the way that I handled things emotionally and mentally. Technically my stroke was there, I just lost all confidence with it as the day went on.
“Emma came out birdying everything. She’s a great putter and she was having one of those days where she was getting the roll and it felt like everything was rolling in for her. It’s not that I ever want to root against a competitor but I wanted to hold my own against her and I started to get frustrated because it felt like every time she got one to roll in, I was lipping out.”
Webster’s high school golf career may not have ended the way she had hoped, but she has come a long way considering there was a brief time during her early childhood when there were doubts as to whether she would ever walk or even how long she might live.
At nine months old, Webster was struggling with mobility and wasn’t crawling or even moving much at all. Her parents took Webster to the Boulder Valley School District’s Child Find program, which identifies and provides services to children that are having difficulty in their development. After being shown physically how to crawl and how to walk, Webster progressed quickly and has not slowed down since.
“The first doctor we saw said, ‘Once we determine what disease she has, we’ll be able to better figure out her life span,'” Kelsey’s mother Katherine Ann Cantrell said. “The second doctor we took her to said, ‘We don’t think there’s actually anything wrong with her long term.’ So they started us with Child Find and they gave her lots of attention and she just figured it out. We’ve watched her through the years and it was kind of the same with golf, she would just figure it out through hard work.
“I think one of the reasons she’s had so much support out here this weekend is that she practices until nightfall often. The members here watch her and they’re always saying, ‘I saw Kelsey out there again. It was already dark and she was still practicing.’ We all see how hard she works and I even though I know she’s disappointed, I couldn’t be more proud of her because she just keeps working so hard and figuring it out.”
Though one career just freshly ended for Webster, who tied for ninth place at state as a junior in 2017, another will soon begin down the road at CU. Fairview head coach John Zerwin, who himself played golf at CU from 1989-94, is proud that Webster will follow in his footsteps. Like so many others from the Boulder area, including the dozens who came out to support Webster at her final state tournament, Zerwin is perhaps more excited that he will be able to continue watching her develop the way he has over the past four years.
“She’s a great kid and I’ll miss her tremendously,” Zerwin said, choking up. “But thankfully she’s going close to home and I can go watch.”
Class 5A girls golf state championships
At Boulder Country Club, par 72
Team scores — Cherry Creek 243-235-478, Grandview 241-239-480, Fossil Ridge 249-245-494, Regis Jesuit 240-262-502, Ralston Valley 254-252-506, Rock Canyon 254-254-507, Highlands Ranch 251-257-508, Arvada West 252-260-512, ThunderRidge 255-259-514, Broomfield 258-264-522, Columbine 261-268-529, Denver East 264-273-537, Arapahoe 271-267-538, Legend 278-278-556, Eaglecrest 284-294-578,
Top individuals — 1. Emma Bryant, Eaglecrest, 73-70-143; 2. Morgan Ryan, Grandview, 77-73-150; t3. Leigha Devine, Fossil Ridge, 78-74-152; t3. Payton Canon, Cherry Creek, 75-77-152; t3. Meghan Vogt, Broomfield, 75-77-152; t3. Katie Berrian, Regis Jesuit, 70-82-152; t3. Kelsey Webster, Fairview, 71-81-152; 8. Amy Chitkoksoong, Grandview, 75-78-153; 9. Jenna Chun, Highlands Ranch, 75-79-154; 10. Brandy McClain, Rock Canyon, 77-78-155.
Other Broomfield results — 43. Lauren Hirsch 90-91-181; t60. Anna Roh 93-96-189; t69. Nicole Fatovic 94-101-195.
Legacy results — t62. Mia Blackard 91-99-190.
Monarch results — 75. Yulim Kim 102-98-200.