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Montezuma-Cortez golf shows resilience on home course

Panthers grind out second place in front of home fans
Montezuma-Cortez sophomore Amita Crowley tees off on the par-three third hole in the Panther Invitational at Conquistador Golf Course. (Ben Bradley/Special to the Journal)

CORTEZ – It may not have been a work of art, but the Montezuma-Cortez golf team learned a vital lesson in its home invitational on Tuesday morning: even when they’re not at the top of their game, the Panthers are still tough to beat.

Montezuma-Cortez contended with breezy conditions and the best teams in the Four Corners, playing in front of friends and family to earn another runner-up finish at the Panther Invitational on Conquistador Golf Course.

Two Panther golfers placed in the top seven as individual competitors to score a collective round of 266, edging rival Durango by one stroke.

Chesnie Patrick led the way for the Panthers, picking up a sand save on her final hole of the day to secure an 85 and a fifth-place tie. Montezuma-Cortez sophomore Amita Crowley battled through an up-and-down round to take seventh in the field, one shot behind Patrick.

Sophomore Afton Unrein enjoyed plenty of bright moments on the par-72 track, tallying a 95 as she continues to lower her scoring average.

Meanwhile, junior Erin Lawrence, who posted a new best with a round under 110 earlier this month, scored a 125. Freshman Dannika Goodall matched Lawrence’s score to round out the group.

Panther sophomore Afton Unrein hits an approach shot into the green at Conquistador GC in the Panther Invitational. (Ben Bradley/Special to the Journal)
Montezuma-Cortez junior Erin Lawrence hits a chip shot in the Panther Invitational at Conquistador Golf Course. (Ben Bradley/Special to the Journal)

“I played pretty well, considering I struggled some today,” said Unrein said after carding another sub-100 round. “My chipping was really good – and having my coaches and family here was really helpful.”

The result followed a trip to Durango on Monday, where the Panthers placed third at Hillcrest Golf Course. Crowley led the way with a sterling 79 to tie for runner-up, while Patrick scored an 83 to tie for sixth.

Unrein’s 90 completed the round of 252 for the Panthers, placing them over 50 strokes better than some of their 3A regional foes in the field.

“After getting to state my freshman year, that made me really motivated for this year, and we’re all just wanting to keep getting better and get back there again,” Unrein said.

Piedra Vista won both events, while New Mexico individual state runner-up Annie Yost led the way in both events, scoring a 68 in Hillcrest before winning the Panther Invite with a one-under par round of 71.

Montezuma-Cortez topped Durango after several near misses in recent weeks. The Demons were led by the junior-freshman combination of Ellie White and Dylan Livingston for the second straight day. Livingston took fourth in Cortez, ahead of White’s fifth-place effort.

Tournament action continues for the Panthers with trips to Riverview Golf Course in Kirtland, New Mexico, and San Juan Country Club in Farmington, New Mexico. A regional tuneup in Alamosa begins the May slate and the championship portion of the schedule.

Montezuma-Cortez senior Chesnie Patrick prepares to hit a putt on the first hole in the Panther Invitational at Conquistador Golf Course. (Ben Bradley/Special to the Journal)

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