U.S. AIR FORCE ACADEMY – Golf is a fickle game at times. After her first round of the 2023 US Girls Junior Amateur at Eisenhower Golf Course, Erie’s Logan Hale was in a good position to advance to match play.

But it wasn’t meant to be.

She had trouble finding a swing feel early on and finished shot a 13-over-par 85 to finish outside the cutline for the tournament. But there is no shame in the result. The tournament is a gathering of the 156 best junior players in the world.

Only 64 players were set to advance to match play, less than half the field. To get to that point, a player has to be playing top-level golf for over two days at a USGA course, which is no easy task.

“This was a cool experience, being in this field and being surrounded by so many good players,” Hale said. “It’s a cool feeling to make it here and obviously I want to play a lot better. But it’s a tricky course. If you don’t have your A-game or at least your B-game, it’s a really tricky course to put up a good number, or even a solid number. Yesterday was kind of a grind and today I just fell out of rhythm, and I didn’t have it.”

There are a number of factors that anyone can point to in that regard. She hit her first fairway and first green of the day on her first hole (No. 10) but then had to get up and down to save par on 11 and 12.

She found her first bit of trouble on 13 as she three-putted for double-bogey. An errant tee shot hit a tree on 14 resulting in another double.

She played her first nine holes (the back nine of the course) at 44, making her match play advancement unlikely.

But she can’t get discouraged. She’s coming off a high school season where she claimed the Class 4A individual state title and was a part of an Erie team that captured its second straight championship.

She shot 69 in her Junior Am qualifier at the Country Club of Colorado on June 20 and has just been consistent for most of the year.

“I’m coming off a really good stretch of golf, I would say,” Hale said. “But golf is a roller coaster. Your swing is always going to up and down and you’re always going to have the highest of your highs right next to the lowest of your lows.”

She’ll regain her form in no time. As Tin Cup would say, “Greatness courts failure” and with her positive attitude coming off the course, it’s obvious more good golf is in her very near future. It’s not just obvious to those watching, but to her caddy for this week, Colin Prater.

(Dan Mohrmann/ColoradoPreps.com)

Prater is an assistant at Cheyenne Mountain and often sees Hale in action through the course of the spring. As a native of the Colorado Springs area and a top-level tour guide at any course in the Pikes Peak region, he was the by far the best option as a looper for Colorado’s lone rep in the Girls Junior.

Even if the scores weren’t where Hale or Prater would want them, playing in this tournament is always going to benefit her in the long run.

“She’s one of the top 150 junior girls in the world,” Prater said. “Wrap your head around that. The experience is what’s going to benefit her the most.”

In the next few weeks, she’ll head to the Junior America’s Cup in British Columbia. Her senior season of golf is still ahead and she still has countless solid swings to make in the coming year.