Wet, soggy conditions at Elks County Club did little to affect Aspen Luebbe’s domination over an overmatched field in a golf triangular Monday afternoon.
Luebbe, a Columbus senior and the fourth-place Class B medalist at last year’s state tournament, was head and shoulders above 14 other players with a 4-over par 76.
Her total was 24 shots clear of the next closest competitor and the only to come in under 100.
With that clear of an advantage at the No. 1 spot, the Discoverers squeezed out a one-shot victory over Fremont for their first team win of the year.
Ashley Warner was second for Columbus with a 101, Jacey Hughes shot 115, Wendy Castillo carded 118 and Amber Sanne came in with 120. The team totals were the Discoverers with 410, Fremont 411 and Norfolk 429.
“It’s a very good round to me. My goal is to shoot 80 or better, preferably 79 or under, 70s all the way. I knew I would have to grind it out today, but I was hoping for 70s. Really, I was hoping for 80 or better and just kind of took it one shot at a time,” Luebbe said.
“Everybody plays in the same thing. You’ve just got to handle it how it is. The wind really played a factor. Other than that, just tried to play it one shot at a time and play it how it was.”
On a day that started and ended with rain, featured slow, damp greens and only teasing glances of the sun, Luebbe’s game showed no signs that it was anything but 70 and sunny.
She opened the day on the fifth and made the turn for the back nine at even par. Bogeys on 10 and 11 temporarily put her off track, and she wasn’t too fond of how she finished the back nine but said a par save on one brought back the momentum.
Considering she was hoping for somewhere around 80 due to the conditions, 76 was, while maybe not a surprise, more proof of Luebbe’s quality.
“It’s a long time coming. This isn’t overnight. She has been working on her game to get to this level since her freshman year,” coach Anne Robertson said. “It’s fun to see when that work and that practice and that play pays off because she has really made a commitment to improving her game.”
Luebbe was also a Class A 10th-place finisher as a sophomore and won the 16 and over girls division of the Nebraska Junior Golf Tour two weeks ago.
“I’m not surprised. I’m pleased. I’m very happy for her because it’s very well-deserved,” Robertson said.
She opened the year second in a triangular four days go, missing the top spot by two shots in a nine-hole battle with Grand Island and Kearney.
Her 1-over 37 was just behind Aly Troudt of Kearney. Columbus shot 201 that day as a group and was a distant third, 17 shots back of the second place Bearcats and 21 behind the Islanders.
Monday was the Discoverers’ first 18-hole round of the year.
“They still know they have a lot of work to do. Even Aspen will tell you there are a couple things she needs to work on a little bit,” Robertson said. “But for me, going forward, we need to work on the scoring clubs – getting on the green and making one and two-putts.”
Warner’s 101 was good enough to tie for third overall while Castillo’s 115 was tied for 10th.
“We’re still testing the waters here. I’m learning a little bit more about them, and they’re learning where they’re at right now,” Robertson said. “We can only move forward with that.”
Nate Tenopir is the sports editor for The Columbus Telegram. Reach him via email at email@example.com