Cherry Creek wins state girls golf title

Two-day tourney ended with school getting its 11th championship


Coach Randy Smith spent a lot of time for two days watching the persistence of his Cherry Creek girls golf team.

The Bruins, three strokes back of Regis Jesuit and two behind Grandview after the first round of the Class 5A girls state golf tournament on May 21, had a three-golfer final round of 235 on May 22 and won the state championship for the 11th time in school history.

Creek, with two freshmen, a sophomore and senior on its four-player team, wound up two strokes in front of Centennial League rival Grandview in the team standings of the tournament held at the Boulder County Club. Creek came in at 478 strokes compared to 480 for Grandview and for third-place Fossil Ridge.

Payton Canon led the way for the Bruins as the senior tied for third place in the individual standings.

“This came down to persistence,” said Smith. “They just wouldn't give up. We faced a ton of adversity out there. All season, overcoming adversity has been our number one priority and then let the results handle themselves. I'm really pleased with such a young group that they were able to show some maturity beyond their years.”

Smith didn't offer any information to his players about the team standings during the round, but teammates Alyssa Chin, Rachel Penzenstadler and Kaylynn Xia were watching behind the 18th green and knew the Bruins were in contention when Canon was putting.

“They didn't know where we were,” said Smith. “It was a matter of taking care of business. We're going to grow and still get better from this. We knew we had to play our game regardless of what happen. If we took care of business I was really confident we would be in the top three. It was a matter of putting the ball in the fairway, problem-solving if you don't, taking a couple putts and moving on to the next hole. You have to be as emotionally even-keeled as possible. You have to earn every single stroke.”

Canon, who will attend Oregon School of Technology in the fall, opened with 3-over-par 75 and finished with a final-round 77 for a 152 total.

“It was a fight all two days,” confessed Canon. “I wasn't hitting the ball particularly well but I got through it. Even before the tournament started I wanted to win. So my role on the team was to shoot a low round and let them know they can do that too. It is surreal to win the state title. I've been waiting four years for this.”

Creek freshman Chin had rounds of 83 and 78 for a two-day total of 161 while Xia and Penzenstadler had steady totals of 169 and 172 for the Bruins.

“Payton was solid as a rock,” said Smith. “Alyssa Chin, our phenomenal freshman, was just incredible. She didn't buckle at all under the pressure.”

Canon finished as the highest of any golfer from South Metro schools.

Highlands Ranch senior Jenna Chun, who tied for medalist honors last season with Grandview's Amy Chitkoksoong only to lose a playoff on the third extra hole, struggled and finished in ninth place. Chitkoksoong came in in eighth place.

Chun shot a final-round 79 that followed an opening-round 75 for a two-day total of 154.

Rock Canyon's Brandy McClain came in 10th with rounds of 77 and 78 for a 155 total.

Grandview freshman Emma Bryant, in third place after the opening day, won the state individual championship with rounds of 73 and 70 for a 143 total.


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