Aspen’s Beetham wins Warrior Invitational
By KENT MINCER
Jesse Beetham spent his entire summer break on the golf course.
“I missed one day of golf all summer,” the Aspen High School freshman said.
His summer included playing in some tournaments on the Colorado Junior Golf Association circuit.
That work showed Tuesday, when Beetham shot a 2-over-par 73 at Tiara Rado Golf Course to win the Warrior Invitational high school tournament.
“Two years ago, I played maybe once a month,” he said.
Then he caught the bug.
“I started to like it,” he said.
Beetham defeated his teammate, Bobby Moyer, and Battle Mountain’s Cameron Brown by one stroke. Brown also finished second in Monday’s season-opening Tiger Invitational at Bookcliff Country Club.
Beetham and Moyer helped Aspen take home the team title with a 223, defeating Steamboat Springs by three shots.
Playing against primarily Class 5A and 4A schools, Beetham said the Skiers were hoping for a top-three finish but exceeded their expectations.
“Oh yeah, it felt great,” Beetham said.
The best finish by a local team came from Grand Junction, which placed fifth, one shot behind Durango and Gunnison.
Mark Stern again led the Tigers, shooting a 76 to tie for seventh place.
Fruita Monument, which was seventh Monday, moved up one spot to sixth Tuesday, with Brian Espeland’s 76 leading the way for the Wildcats.
Central was 12th, with Taylor Haynie and Chad Johnson each posting an 83.
Palisade placed 14th, led by Tyler Day’s 86.
The top of the leader board was tightly bunched with 15 players finishing within three shots of Beetham, who said he felt confident from the outset.
“I was thinking I was going to have a pretty good day,” he said. He played the front nine in three under par.
Many golfers complained about their putting Tuesday, but Beetham wasn’t one of them.
“I had one four-putt,” he said. “Besides that, I was putting well.”
The Tiara Rado greens have been playing fast this week in preparation for the Rocky Mountain Open men’s tournament, which begins Thursday with the pro-am.
“If you miss a green, it’s going to roll off,” Beetham said.
The Western Slope high school boys tour heads to The Bridges in Montrose today, then resumes Aug. 27 in Pagosa Springs.