Brossard prevails over good friends at Riverside
Moments after the recent Parker High graduate drilled her drive 250 yards and over the mound along the right side of the fairway on the right dog-legging 16th hole, she exclaimed “Finally.”
Suddenly the two drives she’d shanked on Nos. 13 and 14 were things of the past, and Brossard went on to shoot a 3-over 74, matching the number she carded the first day.
Her 148 strokes were two lighter than those of longtime friend C.J. Enriquez, and four fewer than those of the third member of the incredibly friendly threesome, Chloe Kittle.
The group opened play on the back nine, and one stroke separated the entire bunch until they took aim at the front nine.
“It’s awesome to play with such talented players,” Enriquez said. “You just kind of feed off each other; and it’s a fun round when you’re relaxed and having such a good time.”
“It was laid back yesterday, and I knew it would be laid back today,” Brossard said. “And Chloe just jumped right in.”
Kittle jumped into the thick of the hunt when she birdied No. 1 by hitting an approach within five feet and burying her putt. But she had a love-hate relationship with the putter as she three-putted twice, first to a double bogey on No. 2 and then to a bogey on 3. But she cut Brossard’s four-stroke down to three when her five-foot putt grabbed the right edge of the cup and fell on No. 7.
“The birdie putts were great,” Kittle said, “and they were very relieving since my putts were horrible the rest of the day. I counted on those birdies to get somewhat back into it.”
But after giving away a stroke with a bogey on No. 8, Brossard continued to show off one of her best assets—her even keel—as she coolly made par on the last hole. Enriquez finished second with 150 strokes (73-77) and Kittle doubled the ninth to slip to third (152—75-77).
“We kept each other going all day,” Kittle said, “but the pressure definitely got me on the last hole. I felt it.”
Nonetheless, she was just happy to be playing good golf after persevering through the H1N1 virus and a nasty shoulder injury during her junior year.
“I finally got my game back about a month ago,” Kittle said. “It just feels great to finally be playing this well.”
Enriquez, who pounded the fairway both days, was the only member of the group to reach the green in one on No. 8, but three-putted, which kept Brossard’s lead at two shots.
“Whenever you’re on the green, no matter where you are, you’re always thinking birdie,” Enriquez said. “I just wanted to hit it close, but I guess it wasn’t close enough.”
Brossard took the road less traveled but still built early momentum on No. 13. After losing her drive way left and just a few yards behind a massive maple tree, she punched a 130-yard shot that rolled off the back of the green.
“I hit exactly the punch I wanted to, so I was disappointed that it rolled right off the back,” Brossard said.
But then her cousin and caddy, Jamie, gave her some simple advice.
“He said, ‘Why don’t you just knock it in?’” Brossard said. “I was like, ‘Oh sure, I’ll just do that.’”
So she obliged, chipping from four yards beyond the green and watching her ball hit the flagstaff and drop for a birdie.
Ruef rolls; Gagg hold on
Recent Craig graduate Greg Ruef ran away with the boys title for the second straight year, following an even-par 72 on Monday with a 1-over 71 on Tuesday.
After Monday’s roller-coaster ride that included seven birdies, he carded three birds and two bogeys on Tuesday.
“It was kind of a boring day, honestly,” Ruef said. “Not much going on.”
On No. 2, his drive found the base of a tree and was surrounded by two roots. He took his medicine and chopped down at his ball, topping it 15 yards out and onto the fairway.
“I’ve learned a lot since freshman year,” Ruef said. “Normally I would’ve tried to do way too much with it. But there are so many more holes out there. Bad breaks happen.”
While Ruef’s closest competition was 10 strokes back in the form of Jordan Brovick (153—76-77), Jordan Gagg (155—76-79) held off Ryne Clatworthy (156—77-79) by a single shot to win the 15-16-year-old title.
“Me and Ryne were going back and forth pretty much the whole round; we were taking turns par-ing and bogeying,” Gagg said. “I just could not make a birdie putt.
“I might not have necessarily had any great iron shots, but I just kept hitting the ball down the middle. I kept myself in the game with the driver.”