Ringsby Pulls Away for Title
16-year-old finishes 10 under par to win CWGA Junior Stroke Play
by Gary Baines
It wasn't easy to play a game of "can you top this?" at the 2012 CWGA Junior Stroke Play Championship.
First, Calli Ringsby set the women's competitive course record at Indian Tree Golf Course with a 68 on Tuesday, only to have Hannah Wood take it from her with a 67 that same afternoon.
Then Gigi McWilliams scored a hole-in-one on the 150-yard third hole on Wednesday, only to have Zarena Brown match the feat on the same hole on Thursday.
So it seemed that about all that was left for Ringsby on Thursday was to go out and win the golf tournament, which is exactly what she did -- in emphatic fashion. The 16-year-old from Denver Country Club birdied four consecutive holes immediately after a lightning delay and cruised to a five-stroke victory and her first CWGA championship.
Ringsby (pictured above), the runner-up in the CWGA Stroke Play as a 15-year-old last year, shot a 3-under-par 71 Thursday to finish at 10-under 212 for the three-day event.
"I'm really glad because sleeping with the lead is always hard," said the junior-to-be at Cherry Creek High School. "I was glad that I came out and didn't choke. I played well today and I'm glad to shoot under (par) again. Ten under was my goal (for the tournament), so I'm glad I got there. I thought if I got to 10 under it was going to be pretty hard for anyone to beat me."
Wood (pictured at left), who plays out of South Suburban Family Sports, inched within two of Ringsby on the front nine Thursday but lost ground when Ringsby went on her mid-round birdie run. After shooting her lowest round ever -- by four strokes -- on Tuesday, Wood went 78-72 for a 217 total.
"After the first round, I felt like I won the tournament right there," Wood said. "I felt so happy. I shot the course record. It was a fun day.
"But (Thursday), I knew Calli was going to win. I know Calli. She doesn't ever give up. She keeps going and going. And she gets on a hot streak."
Kelly Moran of Boulder Country Club finished with an eagle on Thursday en route to a 73 and a 220 total, which was good for third place. Sydney Merchant of Red Rocks Country Club (74 Thursday) and Kansas state high school champion Mackenzie Thayer (77) tied for fourth place at 224.
For Ringsby, Thursday's victory marked the continuation of some exceptional golf over the last five weeks. She was medalist in qualifying for both the Callaway Junior World Golf Championships and the U.S. Girls' Junior. And at the former, she shot 66-67 at Flatirons Golf Course.
The Cherry Hills Village resident said what she did at the 5A state high school meet last month -- when she placed fourth -- has made the difference. Though she didn't win, she rebounded nicely from a first-round 76 to shoot 68.
"I feel really comfortable" now, said Ringsby (pictured at left teeing off on Thursday). "I feel like I've really improved a lot in the past few weeks. Especially after state, coming back with a 68 after a really bad first round, it kind of set the stage. I know that I can go under par when I need to."
On Thursday, Ringsby didn't really kick it into gear until after a 45-minute lightning delay. With an eagle at No. 5, Wood cut the lead to two. But when the final group resumed play after the stoppage, Ringsby made a 25-foot birdie putt on No. 8, two-putted for birdie on No. 9, stuck an approach shot to 3 feet for another birdie on 10, then drained a 20-foot birdie putt on No. 11.
Suddenly Ringsby's lead was six, and not even a four-putt double bogey on No. 16 threatened to change the complexion of the tournament.
All in all, it was quite a performance to shoot 68-73-71, particularly without ever having seen the Indian Tree course before going 6 under in the first round.
"I didn't know what to expect, but I played really smart in the first round," Ringsby said. "I chipped the ball well, and if you have good chipping and you hit some of the (par-5s) in two then all the par-5s should be birdie holes."
CWGA Junior Stroke Play Championship
At Par-74 Indian Tree GC in Arvada
Calli Ringsby, Cherry Hills Village, Colo. 68-73-71--212
Hannah Wood, Centennial, Colo. 67-78-72--217
Kelly Moran, Boulder, Colo. 74-73-73--220
Mackenzie Thayer, Garden City, Kan. 72-75-77--224
Sydney Merchant, Morrison, Colo. 77-73-74--224
Jennifer Kupcho, Westminster, Colo. 74-81-73--228
Kathleen Kershisnik, Highlands Ranch, Colo. 74-74-80--228
Dani Urman, Greenwood Village , Colo. 75-73-82--230
Mary Weinstein, Highlands Ranch, Colo. 77-78-77--232
Taylor Dorans, Erie, Colo. 79-78-74--231
Jaylee Tait, Littleton, Colo. 76-86-75--237
Mackenzie Cohen, Centennial, C0 82-83-73--238
Morgan Sahm, Centennial, Colo. 80-80-81--241
Holly Schaefer, Littleton, Colo. 79-80-87--246
Jamie Griffin, Aurora, Colo. 81-83-82--246
Samantha Barker, Highlands Ranch, Colo. 82-85-85--252
Ashlyn Kirschner, Arvada, Colo. 79-90-85--254
Katherine Kemp, Colorado Springs, Colo. 80-89-86--255
Hea Kroll-Schoonover, Golden, Colo. 82-100-100--282
Sarah Hankins, Thornton, Colo. 83-75-73--231
Gillian Vance, Lakewood, Colo. 83-81-77--241
Adara Pauluhn, Longmont, Colo. 83-79-80--242
Sydney Gillespie, Highlands Ranch, Colo. 83-81-80--244
Sofia Vigil, Commerce City, Colo. 84-83-78--245
Emilee Strausburg, Lakewood, Colo. 84-86-82--252
Megan McCambridge, Boulder, Colo. 84-83-85--252
Jenni Chun, Lone Tree, Colo. 84-86-84--254
Michelle Romano, Littleton, Colo. 83-83-WD--WD
Rachel Sweeney, Highlands Ranch, Colo. 85-79-84--248
Zarena Brown, Arvada, Colo. 86-86-78--250
Maggie Geolat, Monument, Colo. 85-84-84--253
Delaney Elliott, Superior, Colo. 90-85-81--256
Rachel Rodriguez, Arvada, Colo. 89-83-86--258
Kacey Godwin, Denver, Colo. 86-89-85--260
Nayoun Kim, Greenwood Village, Colo. 87-89-84--260
Morgan Hoos, Thornton, Colo. 89-93-88--270
Lexi Ringsby, Cherry Hills Village, Colorado 88-97-89--274
Kiseyla Plewe, Cortez, Colo. 90-100-90--280
Claire Stirdivant, Denver, Colo. 93-91-84--268
Margot Leibold, Englewood, Colo. 93-90-86--269
Madison Tenney, Evergreen, Colo. 91-95-87--273
Gigi Mcwilliams, Westminster, Colo. 98-90-89--277
Mariah Ehrman, Westminster, Colo. 99-90-99--288
Julia Kim, Aurora, Colo. 95-94-101--290
Michelle Nakayama, Colorado Springs, Colo. 103-94-97--294
Chase Piper, Cherry Hills Village, Colorado 102-93-111--306