Palisade’s Miller one of 5 local players to qualify for 4A state golf
Freshman Blake Reiher of Delta and senior Ty Caron of Rifle emerged from a four-player playoff with the final two state berths Tuesday at the Class 4A Western Regional boys golf tournament at Gypsum Creek Golf Course.
On the first playoff hole, No. 9 at Gypsum Creek, Reiher parred the hole to win it. Caron and Keaton Reiher, Blake’s older brother — a senior — bogeyed the hole, and Cortez’s Hayden Plewe double-bogeyed it. That eliminated Plewe and sent Caron and Keaton Reiher to a second playoff hole, which again was No. 9.
This time, Caron stuck his approach shot four feet from the pin, and after Keaton Reiher sank a par putt, Caron drained his birdie putt to claim the final state berth.
Durango won the team title with a score of 228 strokes and claimed the lone automatic team state berth in the Western Regional. Steamboat Springs finished second, two strokes behind the Demons, and will get to play as a team at state because three Sailors qualified individually.
The top 11 individuals not on the winning team qualified for state, led by meet medalist Jakob Rudosky of Montezuma-Cortez, who shot an even-par 72.
Rifle’s Cody Capwell finished sixth with a 77, one stroke better than Palisade senior Skyler Miller, who earned a return trip to state.
Capwell, a senior playing in his first regional, picked the right time to shoot in the 70s for the fourth time this year. He will be joined at state by Caron, who shot an 81 to become part of that four-way tie for 13th place.
“Ty missed a putt on the last hole of regulation, and we thought he’d played his way out of the whole thing,” Rifle coach Jordan Smith said.
When Caron edged Keaton Reiher on the second playoff hole, he got a surprise from his coach.
“My hand still hurts from the back slap I gave him after he made that putt,” Smith said. “I was pretty fired up.”
Montrose also is sending two golfers to state. Riley Willis makes a return trip after tying for ninth with a 79, and Zane Sauer tied for 11th with an 80.
“None of us had our best stuff,” Montrose coach Angelo DeJulio said. “One thing I’ll say is Riley and Zane hung in there real well. They made some great saves. That was the biggest thing.”
DeJulio said Nos. 15, 16 and 17 played extremely tough Tuesday, in part because of the wind, and one player who can attest to that was Miller. The Palisade senior was 1 over after No. 14, then bogeyed 15, 16 and 17 and double-bogeyed 18.
That stretch foiled his bid for medalist, but Palisade coach Jan Norell said Miller played much better than his final score indicates.
“He was hitting the ball incredibly well,” Norell said. “He was playing like he can, playing like he wanted to go to state.”
Blake Reiher will be Delta’s lone representative at the state meet, which is Sept. 30-Oct. 1 at Hiwan Golf Club in Evergreen.
“You can’t say enough about that kid,” Delta coach Marty Rover said. “He went about his business all year, and all of his hard work paid off today.”
Keaton Reiher still has an outside shot of ending his high school career at state. He is the first alternate from the Western Region, and Plewe is the second alternate.
3A Western Regional
Aspen won the 3A Western Regional’s automatic qualifier to state for a team, but Vail Mountain qualified three individuals, which will allow it to compete as a team at state, too.
Cedaredge’s Jacob Robb was the area’s lone individual to qualify for state. He shot an 80, tying for ninth place.
The top nine individuals not on the championship team advanced to state.
5A state site changing
CHSAA will announce today a new site for the Class 5A state tournament. The original site, CommonGround Golf Course in Aurora, has been flooded too severely to recover in time for the Sept. 30-Oct. 1 state meet.
The courses in contention to host are Raccoon Creek Golf Course in Littleton; Murphy Creek Golf Course in Aurora; and Saddle Rock Golf Course in Aurora, according to CHSAANow.com.
Grand Junction finished second and qualified its entire team to state during Monday’s 5A Western Regional at Raccoon Creek.