While most fall sports are just getting started, the Moffat County High School Boys Golf Program is already approaching the final weeks of its season, and a game at their home event sees them move on to a stage of preparation for their biggest tournaments of the year.
MCHS hosted the Bulldog Invitational on Monday at the Yampa Valley Golf Course, placing in midfield with a seventh out of 12 team ranking.
The day on the links was a little tougher than expected for the Dogs, whose 284 team scorecard consisted of an 89 from sophomore Aron Jennings, 90 from senior Dave Andujo and 105 from junior Lance Brackett. .
It was a mixed bag for Jennings, who steadily shot the lowest for Moffat County this fall, including a total in the ’70s and a placement in the top three. On Monday, he finished tied for 30th, as a 52 out of the top nine was one of the toughest starts he’s had all season.
âIt seems like on a familiar course you sometimes start out badly because you’re overconfident and not overthinking it. Then you end up with some bad holes, âJennings said.
However, Jennings fully turned on the back end of the YVGC, shooting just one over Par 36, breaking even on five holes, +1 on hole 10, double on 18th. and birdies on holes 13 and 15.
With proper placement, a long putt on the 15th green was all that kept Jennings from facing an eagle.
While he scored more bogeys than he would have liked, Andujo finished tied for 35th with 44 and 46 on both halves of the course.
Part of that came from a separate physical illness for the senior Bulldog, who is recovering from being thrown from the horse.
âIt still hurts a lot because of this,â he said. âI wasn’t hitting very well today with any of my clubs. I’m just having trouble making contact.
Placed 50th, Brackett also had problems at the front and at the rear. Although he scored competitively in the ’80s earlier this month, a long hiatus on a family trip didn’t give him as much training time as he would like.
Even so, the weekend before the tournament, Brackett said he finished with one of his best scores to date.
âI shot a 72 yesterday so I’m a little disappointed with what I did today,â he said. “It’s a little more stressful when there are people here.”
Having only started playing the game in the past five months, Brackett insisted on working on his technique.
âEvery day this summer I was here with my head down playing 36 holes,â he said. âMy father put me in it. I was having trouble with life, school and everything, and I needed something to keep me going. Once I got down to golf, I fell in love with it, and that’s all I did.
Closer to Brackett in the standings was freshman Jayden Evenson with a 125.
âJayden had a great day; he played well for a kid who hasn’t played much golf yet, âsaid MCHS coach Tim Adams.
Junior Easton Briggs finished with a 130. Briggs noted that he was working on improving his putting more than anything.
âUsually I can drive really well, but I guess today it’s more about my short game,â said Briggs.
Bulldog’s other novice players, freshmen Andrew Duran and Wyatt Tucker, finished the day at 132 and 139, respectively.
Duran said he had only started golfing in recent months.
âI thought it would be easy, but just trying to hit the ball is a lot harder than I thought,â he said. “I’m just glad I didn’t finish last.”
Adams admitted that he had hoped the home event would be productive for his players, but he also understood that the assumption of a good no-move turn can backfire.
âThere is something to say to sit in a suburb or a bus and think about the day ahead,â he said. “I think they just put too much pressure on themselves today.”
Adams noted that some players had practices disrupted by the COVID-19 quarantine, which also affected their performance. He had to pull the team out of a tournament in Vail a week earlier with few players able to attend.
With Steamboat Springs winning at Craig among the team’s results at 231 – led by senior Travis Seitz at 73 – MCHS golfers moved on to the Sailors’ home event on Tuesday at Haymaker Golf Course.
A better day across the board for the Bulldogs saw them place ninth as a group with a combined score of 271.
Andujo shot particularly better, coming down to 82, equalizing on 10 holes and a birdie on hole 1, tied for 19th on the 81 field.
Adams attributed the improvement to Andujo’s level of familiarity with Haymaker.
“They all seemed more relaxed today,” he said on Tuesday.
Jennings had a similar end to Monday’s his first time on Haymaker’s field, but he finished a better shot at 88.
Adams took the same roster at Steamboat, and each of them finished with a lower score; Brackett brought his total down to 101, Evenson 116, Duran 122, Briggs 125 and Tucker 127.
The varsity team ended the week Thursday at the Summit County Keystone Ranch Invite, Adams bringing just four golfers.
The team took sixth place among 10 schools, with Jennings achieving his best lap since the start of the season, tied for eighth place with a 77 in one day despite never recording a hole total greater than 5.
Andujo had a more difficult day at Keystone than at Haymaker but stayed under 90 with an 88, while Brackett improved considerably to 10 strokes less than Tuesday to score 91. The long week took a toll on him. Evenson, who shot 132.
The same quartet of players will then take part in the Region 4 3A Tournament, scheduled for September 21 at the Conquistador Golf Course in Cortez. Adams is able to bring four golfers, plus a replacement, to the event, which will determine which athletes advance to the state championships.
With three players who were able to shoot in the ’80s, Adams said he was convinced that a good regional round could mean multiple MoCo players in the state.
âI really think all of these guys can do it,â Adams said.