Clutch shot

Berg's birdie putt on No. 5 gives him top round in Colorado West Amateur

Montrose’s Drew Trujillo chips onto the 10th green Friday during the first round of the Home Loan Colorado West Amateur at Bookcliff Country Club. Mesa’s Brandon Bingaman and Sean Robbins lead the championship flight.

Chris Berg remembers it being the kind of shot that would be impossible to leave short.

So, on the No. 5 hole at Bookcliff Country Club, it was cup or bust.

Berg, a 25-year-old Fruita Monument High School graduate facing what he said was a 10-foot break from right to left, and a 25-foot shot for birdie, tapped the ball and waited in anticipation.

“If it went over,” Berg said, “it would cost at least one or two strokes.”

The ball eventually hit the back of the cup on the par-3 hole.

And Berg, in the first flight, recorded a score that would have been tops in all flights, a 66 in the first round of the Home Loan Colorado West Amateur Tournament.

Putts like that breathe confidence in CPR-fashion.

“After that I just made a lot of putts,” Berg said.

There were 144 golfers in six flights, according to Bookcliff head pro Brett Winder.

“With this economy it was a good turnout,” Winder said. “We had 216 players six years ago, when I was here before.”

Each flight winner is competing for a $750 first-place prize.

In the championship flight, it’s all Colorado Mesa University. Mavericks golfers Brandon Bingaman and Sean Robbins shot 68s to lead heading into the second day of the three-day tournament.

The two will be joined in the leading foursome by CMU assistant coach, Scott Sullivan, who carded a 69.

Bingaman called his round “boring.” But sometimes in golf, boring is good.

“Lots of pars, a couple birdies,” Bingaman said.

Sullivan, however, was not boring.

Not on par-5 No. 12. Sullivan said he chipped in a 70-foot eagle.

The shot put him back on top of his student, Bingaman, by one stroke.

“We just have a good time,” Sullivan said of he and Bingaman playing together.

The CMU trio even had a good time afterward on the putting greens.

“Last year, playing with Brandon (Bingaman), I was intimidated,” Robbins said.

“He’s intimidated by me, though,” Sullivan said.

“That’s a lie,” Robbins responded.

In the fourth flight, Vince Alberta is tied for first, shooting an 82.

Alberta, who lives in Las Vegas, said he has been coming to the tournament for 15 years.

He took notice of the many college and high school players and, in particular, their fairway-gobbling drives.

“It used to be, golfers like Billy Casper would golf, and when they were done, they’d get drinks,” Alberta said. “Today, they go hit balls for a couple hours and then lift weights for hours. Because it’s become a billion-dollar industry.”

And of course, what local golf tournament is complete without post-round hangouts?

Among a table of six under a large, white tent was Robert James Patrick, 46, a 1989 Grand Junction graduate who considered the thought that golfers might add extra entertainment to the sport by grunting when striking the ball.

“I’d make a push to suggest to tournament players the power that martial artists gain from making noise when they strike,” he said. “In women’s tennis they’re proving it. In golf, people would either think the person is intimidating, or annoying, but the camera-click issue would be put to bed.”


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