Eye of the Tiger

Kinnaman posts second straight even-par round
to win Wildcat Invitational

Fruita Monument’s Troy Dangler hits out of a bunker Tuesday during the Wildcat Invitational at the Golf Club at Redlands Mesa. Dangler shot a 2-over-par 74 to finish second.

Fruita Monumetn’s Troy Dangler jokes Tuesday with Grand Junction’s Donny Kinnamen during a lightning delay at the Wildcat Invitational at the Golf Club at Redlands Mesa. Kinnaman won the tournament with an even-par 72.

Grand Junction’s Trevor Olkowski sinks a putt during the Wildcat Invitational. Olkowski struggled Tuesday and shot an 84.

Scores in the high 70s and low 80s are celebrated by many high school golfers.

For Donny Kinnaman, they’re cause for concern.

And the Grand Junction High School senior saw too many of those numbers on his scorecards early in the summer.

That’s why the past the two days have been a relief to Kinnaman.

His even-par 71 at Bookcliff Country Club on Monday was good for a second-place tie at the 14-team Tiger Invitational. His even-par 72 at The Golf Club at Redlands Mesa on Tuesday was good for first place in the 11-team Wildcat Invitational.

“I haven’t played as well as I should have this summer,” said Kinnaman, who placed fourth and seventh in the past two Class 5A state tournaments. “It’s started to come together in the last month or so.”

Many of the same teams played in each invitational, and Kinnaman was a rarity Tuesday in that his score didn’t shoot up from the previous day. His Grand Junction teammates wish they could have joined him.

One day after each Tiger shot 75 or better en route to a sparkling team score of 211 and a tourney title, Kinnaman was the only one to crack 80, and the Tigers finished with 237 strokes and in third place Tuesday.

Grand Junction coach Tom LeFebre would’ve preferred another team victory, but his players received a good reminder about the importance of consistency in golf.

“I don’t know if we were maybe a little overconfident after yesterday ... but golf can humble you,” he said. “It’s a tough game to be consistent at, but that’s the goal.”

LeFebre said the Tigers didn’t minimize their mistakes Tuesday the way they did in their first two tournaments, a pair of wins.

Even Kinnaman looked at his 72 and said he made mistakes. He made five birdies, which he needed to offset his bogeys.

“If I clean up a few things, I can be shooting in the 60s,” he said.

Fruita Monument junior Troy Dangler matched Kinnaman with five birdies and finished second with a 74.

“It was kind of a struggle. I kind of just battled all day,” said Dangler, who tied Kinnaman for seventh place at the 5A state meet one year ago. “I made a triple (bogey) and a double (bogey), but I made enough birdies to get back to a 74, so I can’t complain.”

For a short time after the tournament concluded, Dangler and his teammates thought they had a team championship to celebrate, but an error on a signed scorecard was detected, and the score, a 75, was one stroke lower than it should have been. That score had to be thrown out and replaced with a 96.

Instead of a victory, the Wildcats left The Golf Club at Redlands Mesa in seventh place with 253 strokes and a valuable lesson: Check scorecards after every hole with the other player keeping your score. That should be done in addition to checking the cards at the end of the round.

“It’s a tough lesson. It’s just a tough lesson,” Fruita Monument coach Dave Fox said.

Steamboat Springs became the team champion with 233 strokes and Montezuma-Cortez took second with 235.

The Sailors had four golfers with scores in the 70s, led by Spencer Petersen’s 77.

Palisade finished eighth as team as Nate Woll and Trevor Alberts each shot an 83.

Central was ninth, paced by Ben Basinski with an 86.

Cedaredge, which placed seventh, got a 79 from Mason Garcia.


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