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Montezuma-Cortez golf team vaults into top 10 at state tournament

Chesnie Patrick of Montezuma-Cortez drives the ball at a tournament in Cortez in 2022. (Cody Olivas/Durango Herald)
Junior Chesnie Patrick earns top 20 individual finish to lead Panthers

The Montezuma-Cortez Panthers keep ascending the ladder on the girls golf scene, and there’s no reason to believe that their rise will end soon.

With two freshmen making their debuts on the state’s highest stage, Montezuma-Cortez jumped four spots from their 2022 state finish, taking 10th overall at Aspen Golf Club over the 36-hole 3A state championships.

The Panthers posted scores of 300 and 311Tuesday and Wednesday, for a total of 611, while all three individuals placed within the top 50 under second-year head coach Travis Wright.

Leading the way, junior Chesnie Patrick carried the poise of a state meet veteran, as she improved her overall finish for the second consecutive year. Patrick enjoyed a stellar first round, collecting five pars on the opening nine holes of the tournament, shooting a 43 to put her squarely among the top competitors in the field.

She followed with a birdie on her 11th hole of the day, on her way to a closing 45 and a round of 88 on the par-71 course. While the second day wasn’t as kind to Patrick, her second-round 101 and combined score of 189 placed her 18th in the field – her best finish and first time to take a top-20 spot.

Freshmen Amita Crowley and Afton Unrein ended up tied for 44th, albeit the duo took different paths to their matching scores of 211.

Crowley, not overwhelmed by the early round jitters, posted three consecutive bogies to start off a steady opening nine of 50, while also enjoying another steady stretch in the middle of the round to keep the freshman in the top half of the field. Crowley closed with a 52 on the second half, good for a round of 102.

One of the first off in the second round, Crowley continued the steady play, shooting her best nine holes of the tournament on the front nine – a 49 that had her inching up the leaderboard. A couple of tricky holes on the back nine slowed the momentum, but Crowley finished with a 109, including a par on the 13th hole at Aspen Golf Course.

Unrein’s best golf came on Day 2, as the freshman bounced back from an opening round 110 to improve her score by nine strokes with a 50-51 (101) performance on Wednesday. She parred the 7th and 14th holes of the day to help keep her score steady, while limiting big numbers to see her name jump into the top-50 on the leaderboard.

The continued improvement of Panther golf came from diligent improvement of the Panthers’ home course at Conquistador Goilf Course in Cortez, where M-CHS golf has produced tremendous success for both the girls and boys programs. All three qualifiers will be back to continue to look to continue their rise in the state, both individually and as a team.

Maddy Bante from St. Mary’s Academy took the top individual honor, shooting a +1 score of 143, including a two-under round of 69 in the second round to run away with the individual title, while also leading her team to an 11-shot victory (521) in the team standings over Peak-to-Peak (532) and Aspen (532).