In search of low scores
Low rounds the aim for area prep golfers at regionals
With one-day regional high school golf tournaments on Monday and Tuesday, players will be hoping for that one breakout round where drives dot the fairways, and iron shots lead to the dance floor where the putter is a perfect partner.
But the breakout round, where it all comes together, is tough to coach.
“I don’t know how you coach that,” Fruita Monument coach Dave Fox said. “As a golf coach I feel like more psychologist than coach, especially during a round.”
Many area golfers will try to dip under par the next couple of days.
The Class 5A Colorado Springs Region tournament is Monday at the Colorado Springs Country Club.
The Class 4A Western Region and 3A Western tournaments are Tuesday at The Conquistador in Cortez.
The first-place team and individual winners qualify for the state tournaments.
The three state tournaments are Oct. 1-2. Class 5A is at The Club at Rolling Hills in Golden; Class 4A is at Cobble Creek Golf Course in Montrose; Class 3A is at Pinehurst Country Club in Denver.
Some of the top 5A area golfers include Fruita’s Will Berg, Central’s Preston Grandbouche, and Grand Junction’s Donny Kinnaman and Greg Gibson.
Gibson placed second at the Southwestern League championship last week, only one stroke behind first place Jakob Rudosky of Cortez.
Berg, who has been playing for the Wildcats for four years, has a stroke average of 76.6 with a low score of 72 at Cobble Creek.
“I’m just really impressed with the way he’s handled himself all year,” Fox said.
Also for the Wildcats, Fruita freshman Troy Dangler shot a 71 to win the Grand Valley Invitational at Battlement Mesa. Senior Hunter Emerson also has shot in the low 70s.
Grandbouche three weeks ago shot a 70 at Cobble Creek, the lowest he’s shot in high school.
Central coach Mike Hirons said Grandbouche has a unique ability to remain calm, despite his surroundings.
“A kid he was playing with one time threw his ball at his bag three or four times, then threw a club he was using — he was just upset with himself,” Hirons said. “I asked, ‘Preston, how do you not let that affect you?’ He’s like, ‘Well, you know, that doesn’t do anything to me. I’m still playing my game.’ “
In Class 4A, Montezuma-Cortez has won the past two regional championships and is this season’s Southwestern League champion.
But don’t count out Steamboat Springs, Durango, Rifle, Montrose or Palisade. With a few of those breakout rounds, anything could happen.
“The 4A regional is very competitive and tough,” Montrose coach Angelo DeJulio said. “I think there are four or five teams and maybe a few others that could sneak in there.”
Montrose is led by Jacob Hebbel, Cole Brennecke and Kelby Breidel. Hebbel, a senior and the Indians’ No. 1 player, has won two tournaments, DeJulio said, shooting a 66 at Devil’s Thumb and a 72 at The Bridges.
Palisade’s Kyler Smith won the regional last season.
“My thing with Kyler,” Palisade coach Jan Norell said, “is he’s had a couple par rounds where he’s had 14 pars in a row, or he’s just been real active where he’s had 30 putts and just missed them. If he can just get some of his birdie putts to fall ... “
Smith won the Summit Invitational at Keystone Ranch.
Also for the Bulldogs, Skyler Miller won the Fruita Monument Invitational at Redlands Mesa.
Delta, meanwhile, will be led by Keaton Reiher and Tyler Garcia, who placed second and third, respectively, at the Gunnison Invitational on Wednesday.
Rifle’s No. 1 player is Triston Quigley, a junior who was first-team all-conference last season in Class 3A. He shot a low score of 71 at Black Canyon in Montrose.
Rifle’s No. 2 and No. 3 singles players, Danny Bartels and Ty Caron, have shot in the 70s as well.
“Our top three are kind of exciting to watch,” Rifle coach Jordan Smith said. “Obviously, any of us have bad days, but any of them are capable of going under par.”