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Despite rain delays two St. Michael’s girls in top 3

May 12, 2019

While snow and rain made things interesting for the respective state championship events in this end of the state, lightning and wet weather had a pretty significant impact down south, too.

Friday’s opening round of the Class 1A-3A State Golf Tournament in Hobbs was ground to a frustratingly slow pace as four lightning delays made what should have been a four-hour round into a seven-hour ordeal.

“It was frustrating, it was cold and it wasn’t a lot of fun,” St. Michael’s girls coach Robin Martinez said. “Everyone had to deal with the same kind of weather, but for us, it was tough because we came prepared for this. We were ready for the rain and the cold, but nothing really prepares you for the waiting. That’s rough.”

The two-time defending champions struggled, falling 33 shots behind first-place Mesilla Valley. The Lady Horsemen are tied for last place in the four-team competition, equaling Texico’s opening round and just nine shots behind second-place Socorro.

It’s much closer on the individual front. St. Michael’s has two players, junior Carisa Padilla and senior Miquela Martinez, in the top three. Padilla carded a 6-over 78 and is one stroke behind leader Courtney Andersson of Mesilla Valley.

Martinez is eight shots back after a 13-over 85 left her in third place. She recorded the day’s lone eagle, doing so on the par-5 16th hole.

Padilla was steady, finishing with seven bogeys and one birdie while Andersson offset her four birdies with five bogeys and a pair of doubles.

The two will tee off almost an hour apart for Saturday’s final round.

Everyone was supposed to get off to an early start Friday, but Mother Nature had other plans, creating havoc at Rockwind Golf Course.

“We got to the course maybe two hours early and were just getting started on the driving range when the first lightning delay hit us,” Robin Martinez said. “We teed off a little late and were maybe two or three holes in when they brought us back in for another delay. It happened a couple more times before 11 or so.”

That stutter-stepping approach was compounded by steady rain and cold.

“You wait around in the cold like that and you start getting stiff,” Martinez said. “Everyone was feeling it, and I thought the girls handled it pretty well.”

Ironically, the wet weather appeared to have made the putting greens faster. Martinez said Thursday’s practice round revealed that the large, undulating putting surfaces played fairly slow despite dry conditions. After a steady saturation, it was just the opposite in the opening round.

“There were some putts that went a few feet past the hole, so that’s an adjustment we’ll have to make [Saturday],” Martinez said.

St. Michael’s had a third golfer, Alyssa Torres, hit the halfway mark in the top 10. She shot a 30-over 102, but Martinez said the ceiling for Torres is quite a bit higher.

“She left 10 or 15 shots out there, so she can improve on that score a lot, I think,” Martinez said.

There are only 11 boys in the tournament. Santa Fe Prep’s Fisher Hirsch is in contention for a top three finish after an opening round 15-over 87. He is nine shots behind leader Joshua Walsh of Socorro and just four strokes out of third place.