BROOMFIELD — On what began as a competition between her and the field, Noelle Thompson’s Saturday quickly morphed into a contest between her and the Chilly Chili Invitational tournament record.
On a morning that was, well, appropriately chilly for the annual event’s moniker, the Peak to Peak senior won the 13th edition of the Chilly Chili with a 1-under-par 71 at Eagle Trace Golf Club. She bogeyed her final hole of the shotgun tournament, the par-4 16th, when a birdie would have tied her for the tournament record.
Thompson, who finished runner-up in Class 3A last year, was slightly disappointed at having come so close only to card her only bogey of the day on the final hole. But it’s still impressive to challenge an eight-year standing tournament record shared by Jefferson Academy graduate and LPGA major champion Jennifer Kupcho, Grandview alumna Amy Chitkoksoong and Fairview graduate Kelsey Webster.
“It’s pretty frustrating but it’s also a confidence booster heading into the season,” Thompson said. “I don’t think I played the most solid, I just scrambled really well. I just kept saving myself from making those bogeys, doing everything I could to make par.”
Committed to play at Westmont College next year, Thompson birdied a pair of par 5s in the first and ninth on a challenging day that began with temperatures in the low 20s and a one-hour frost delay. Overall, it was a solid way for one of the state’s top title contenders to kick off the 2023 campaign.
“The conditions were tough, to be honest,” Thompson said. “I caught myself with a couple bad lies, but I really just tried to take each shot as it was and not get too worked up about each and every shot. I just stayed patient and played my game. My biggest goal this year is to have fun, stay present, stay in the moment for my senior season and kind of soak it up.
“I’m just trying to enjoy it and if I get a state championship out of it, great. But I feel like I’ve already had a great last three years.”
Cheyenne Mountain’s Ava Schroeder took second with a 75. Cherry Creek’s Caitlyn Chin and Rock Canyon’s Ashley Chang tied for third with matching 76s. Fairview junior Ava Hickey, a two-time state qualifier who placed 16th in 5A last season, carded a 77 to place fifth.
“It was a fun day. It was definitely long with the frost delay, but I had a good time,” Hickey said. “It was a good start to the season and to get in the swing of things and remember how to play golf. I’m trying to stay consistently in the 70s this season and have a good finish at state.”
Cherry Creek (5A) won the team title with a collective score of 252. Rock Canyon (5A) was runner-up at 256, Cheyenne Mountain (4A) was third at 266, Arapahoe (5A) was fourth at 267 and Peak to Peak (3A) rounded out the top five with a team score of 270.
Fairview (5A) was ninth at 281, Broomfield was 11th at 290, Legacy was 12th at 291 and Monarch tied for 13th at 299.
Senior Lexi Girton was Monarch’s highest individual finisher in a tie for 18th place with a score of 92.
Junior Amelia Barr was Legacy’s highest placer in 21st with a score of 93.
Senior Faith Saulque-Phipps led Broomfield with a 95 and tied for 23rd place.
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