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Keating performance, Rampart depth lead Rams to girls' golf tournament title

April 20, 2017 Updated: April 20, 2017 at 7:00 pm
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The Classical Academy’s Paige Walker, left, Liberty’s Emma Wilkins and Doherty’s Athena Hunsucker walk the 15th fairway Thursday, April 20, 2107, during the Lancer Invitational at the Pine Creek Golf Club in Colorado Springs. (The Gazette, Christian Murdock)

There's more to the Rampart girls' golf team than standout Arielle Keating.

Though that would be easy to forget after yet another superb performance by the Rams junior.

Keating carded a 3-under 69 despite chilly, windy conditions to win the Liberty Lancers Invitational by 11 strokes and lead Rampart to the team championship. The title also puts Rampart firmly in control of the Colorado Springs Metro League team race.

But it takes more than one college-bound golfer to make a championship team and fourth-year coach Brad Keating is thrilled by the depth his program has developed. He now has seven golfers who consistently score below 101 - a score many varsity golfers would like - with several besides his daughter Arielle making significant individual improvements.

Rams sophomore Alex Hill placed seventh with an 89 at Pine Creek Golf Club for her first varsity round below 90. She and the 54 other golfers battled 22-mph wind gusts that resulted in a wind chill in the high 30s when the round began Thursday morning.

Getting the team win was important to Hill. The Rams softball player enjoyed a breakout spring after a summer dedicated to golf helped her trim 10-15 strokes off her game.

"I'm extremely happy," she said. "We are three girls deep (on junior varsity) and are all playing well."

Palmer Ridge's Kellsey Sample, who won the Coronado tournament earlier this week, placed second with an 80 followed by Air Academy's Isabella Deak (82) and Coronado freshman Kate Griffin (84), who attends the Colorado Springs School. Keating was minus-4 through the first nine holes and never trailed.

"Arielle just killed it," Sample said. "I didn't adjust well enough to the wind but I feel OK about the result."

Keating adapted to the conditions better than anyone.

"I relied on my swing and just adjusted based on the wind direction," she said. "Sometimes you had to wait until a gust ended or you'd be kicking yourself."

Rampart won the team title by 13 strokes over Pine Creek (266) and Air Academy (269).

"She has improved tremendously," coach Keating said of Hill. "All the girls have. The administration has done a wonderful job of helping us develop the program to this point. Our No. 3 was taking a test and our No. 6 or 7 stepped in and helped us get the team win. I'm proud of all the girls."

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