BROOMFIELD — What began as a contest between her and the field quickly turned into a contest between her and the Chilly Chili Invitational’s tournament record on Saturday by Noelle Thompson.
On a morning that was suitably chilly for the annual event’s name, the peak-to-peak senior won the 13th edition of the Chilly Chili with a 1-under-par 71 at Eagle Trace Golf Club. She bogeyed her last hole of the shotgun tournament, the par-4 16, when a birdie would have tied her for the tournament record.
Thompson, who finished second in Class 3A last year, was a little disappointed that she came so close, only to have her only bogey of the day on the last hole. But it’s still impressive to challenge an eight-year tournament record shared by Jefferson Academy graduate and LPGA Major Champion Jennifer Kupcho, Grandview graduate Amy Chitkoksoong and Fairview graduate Kelsey Webster.
“It’s pretty frustrating, but it’s also a confidence boost for the season,” Thompson said. “I don’t think I played the most solid, I just fought really well. I kept avoiding those bogeys and did everything I could to make par.
Thompson, who has signed on to play at Westmont College next year, played a pair of par 5s in the first and ninth birdies on a challenging day that started with temperatures hovering in the 20s and a one-hour frost delay. Overall, it was a solid way for one of the state’s top title contenders to start the 2023 campaign.
“Conditions were tough, to be honest,” Thompson said. “I caught myself in a couple of bad lies, but I really tried to take every shot for what it was and not get too upset about every single shot. I just stayed patient and played my game. My biggest goal this year is to have fun, stay present, stay in the moment during my senior season and kind of soak it up.
“I’m just trying to enjoy it and if I make a state championship out of it, great. But I feel like I’ve had a great time over the last three years.”
Cheyenne Mountain’s Ava Schroeder was second with a 75. Cherry Creek’s Caitlyn Chin and Rock Canyon’s Ashley Chang tied for third with matching 76s. Fairview junior Ava Hickey, a two-time state qualifier who placed 16th in 5A last season, carded a 77 and placed fifth.
“It was a fun day. It was definitely long with the freeze delay but I had a good time,” Hickey said. “It was a good start to the season and to get the momentum going and remember how to golf.” I’m trying to stay in my 70s consistently this season and get a good finish at State.”
Cherry Creek (5A) won the team title with a total score of 252. Rock Canyon (5A) was second with 256, Cheyenne Mountain (4A) was third with 266, Arapahoe (5A) was fourth with 267 and Peak to Peak (3A) completed the top 5 with a team score of 270.
Fairview (5A) was ninth with 281, Broomfield was 11th with 290, Legacy was 12th with 291, and Monarch was 13th with 299.
Senior Lexi Girton was Monarch’s top singles finisher in a tie for 18th place with a score of 92.
Junior Amelia Barr was Legacy’s highest-ranked 21st with a score of 93.
Senior Faith Saulque-Phipps led Broomfield with a 95 and tied for 23rd place.
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