Birleffi Invite a learning experience for Greeley sophomore Sheaffer; Windsor finishes 3rd, Greeley 5th
April 7, 2017
As she prepared for the Birleffi Invitational, Lois Sheaffer wanted to bridge the gap.
The Greeley Unified sophomore has been golfing for less than two years, but she's already approaching the level of girls who've been doing it most of their lives.
She still has much to learn. Which is why, Friday morning at Boomerang Links in Greeley, Sheaffer asked to play with the best to learn from the best. At Birleffi, she was grouped with Loveland's Lauren Leigh and Colorado Academy's Caroline Jordaan, two of the top-five ranked golfers in the state.
Sheaffer shot an 89, far below her expectations for herself, but learned much nonetheless. Meanwhile, her teammate Sydney Hanning shot an 87 for the second-best round of her career, her personal-best at Boomerang, Their efforts helped Greeley Unified finish fifth with a team score of 272; Loveland won with 228, while Windsor was third with 245.
Sheaffer started golfing the summer before her freshman year because she needed something, anything, to do.
"I wasn't really into anything in eighth grade," she said. "I was like, 'I need a purpose going into high school.'"
Her mom suggested golf, and Sheaffer fell in love. She's gracious to her opponents; in her mind, they're not her competition. She's fighting the course, the weather, the breaks of the game, her past self.
"It's the unbeatable game," Sheaffer said. "You never know. You're constantly working to beat it."
Friday, the game gave Sheaffer everything she could handle. She double-bogied the par-4 fifth hole, and on hole nine her drive landed in a divot from when the course was aerated, leading to another double-bogey. Her on-target putt on hole 17 rimmed out.
"I was mad," Sheaffer said, and she didn't hide it when the shots didn't go her way.
She also watched Jordaan and Leigh intently, studying their approach, how they lined up their putts, how they kept a positive mentality. Jordaan was totally in control as she shot her way to a 75 and third place. Sheaffer watched her hit a bad shot, shrug, and move on.
Greeley Unified coach Tim Kohler was in Sheaffer's ear the whole time, giving her pointers on her tee shots but mostly encouragement. She isn't yet at the point Jordaan is, where the results of her shots don't move her one way or the other.
That will come in time. Sheaffer's fit a lifetime's worth of learning into less than two years, and she only wants to keep going.
While Sheaffer was learning, her teammate Hannig demonstrated the short, selective memory Sheaffer is working to adopt.
Hannig, a senior, wanted to make the most of her last tournament at her home course. Her first drive shanked left and landed in the weeds of hole one, and she triple-bogied.
But Hannig turned it up from there, culminating in her first birdie of the season on par-5 hole 15. She had recovered from her bad start to shoot one of the best rounds of her career.
"I just erased it from my mind and headed onto the next shot," Hannig said.
Team Scores — Loveland 228, Colorado Academy 231, Windsor 245, Rock Canyon 266, Greeley Unified 272, Berthoud 273, Monarch 285, Rocky Mountain 292, Boulder 308, Mountain View 318, Centaurus 319, Silver Creek 320, Prairie View 321, Estes Park 337, Fort Morgan 343, Mountain Range 354, Broomfield 358, Horizon 384.
Top 5 individuals — Amelia Lee (Rock Canyon) 71; Aili Bundy (Loveland) 71; Caroline Jordaan (Colorado Academy) 75; Lauren Leigh (Loveland) 76; Sarah Johnson (Windsor) 77.
Greeley Unified — Sydney Hannig 87, Lois Sheaffer 89, Isabel Burgess 92, Samantha Chandler 96, Emma Moser 101, Nicole Moore 102, Marci Collins 108, Rory Smith 124.
Windsor — Sarah Johnson 77, Jessica Zapf 78, Bria Duvall 90, Bailie Duncan 90.