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SANTA FE — With an automatic bid assured to the Class AAAA championship, the Los Alamos Hilltopper girls golf team, the big goal of Friday’s tournament was simply to play well.
And for the most part, the Hilltoppers were able to do just that.
Los Alamos won, by default, the District 2AAAA title, being the only team in the district that could field a full set of players. Española Valley was the closest, with three players entered, but teams need a minimum of four players to be eligible for the district title.
The tournament was held at Santa Fe Country Club, a short, flat course that has relatively wide fairways on most holes.
Individually, the Hilltoppers’ No. 4 player, Shelby Fellows, finished in a dead head for the district title with Taos’ Carly Malone, each shooting a 91 in regulation. Fellows and Malone went to a sudden-death playoff.
In the playoff, played on the par-4 first hole, both players’ second shots sailed near the No. 2 tee box way left of the fairway. Malone, however, recovered better with her third shot, placing it within 12 feet of the cup, while Fellows clipped a tree.
Although Malone would sink her ensuing putt and claim the individual 2AAAA title, Fellows said she was generally happy with her round Friday.
“It was all alright,” Fellows said. “There was some stuff I could’ve done better, but it was good, I guess.”
The 2AAAA tournament was marred by heavy weather, including intermittent snow that blew in on several occasions. While the wind wasn’t a gigantic factor, the snow and cold made for some tough conditions.
As a team, Los Alamos finished with a team total of 392, a solid score but one which will have to be improved upon by several strokes to keep the team in contention at the AAAA championship tournament, which tees off May 10 in Las Cruces.
Following Fellows, Hilltopper No. 1 player Alicia Herrera nabbed a 92 to finish third overall in the final standings.
Herrera, who has had a noteworthy spring season, earning qualifying legs in three straight tournaments, said the team still has some work left to do before state.
“We’ll probably work on our punch shots and getting out of trees,” she said. “Las Cruces is a tough course. We have to play smart shots and not just go for distance.”
Herrera was in contention for the district title at the turn, but had some tough holes coming in, while Malone, Taos’ lone entry, was able to hold on by holing a couple of big putts late.
Other Hilltopper finishes Friday included Morgan Vaughn’s 103, Taylor Engleman’s 106 and Aislinn McDonald’s 123.