Kinnaman wins Tiger Invite on little rest
Donny Kinnaman ought to be feeling downright comfortable at Bookcliff Country Club. He’s certainly played the course enough in the past four days.
Two of his three rounds in the Enstrom Rocky Mountain Open golf tournament over the weekend were at Bookcliff, where he carded a 73 and an even-par 71. In between, he shot 71 at Tiara Rado Golf Course, which gave him a three-day score of 215 strokes, good for fourth place in the amateur championship flight.
Monday he was back at Bookcliff with his Grand Junction High School teammates, and he fired a medalist-winning 70 to lead the Tigers to the championship of the 15-team Tiger Invitational.
Bookcliff is considered Grand Junction’s home course for tournament-hosting purposes, but Kinnaman said, “I don’t really play here that often. I’m not a member here.”
But he’s been playing it lately like he knows the angle of every blade of grass in the fairway. And he’s starting to figure out the speed of the greens, which he credited for Monday’s improvement.
After three-putting 10 times during the RMO and struggling with three-putts in a couple of high school tourneys to start the season, Kinnaman delivered with the flat stick Monday. He had just one three-putt.
“It was nice to be able to practice on the greens because they were quick,” Kinnaman said of his rounds at Bookcliff on Friday and Sunday. “My putting was kind of not very good in the RMO. Today it was better. ... I made some birdie putts. I made the ones I should make.”
Kinnaman birdied four holes, and he carded an eagle on par-5 No. 14. The junior gave a few strokes back with a double-bogey on No. 9, and he bogeyed his final two holes of the round, which means he believes he should have shot better than 70.
“It could always be better,” he said.
Those final two holes didn’t cost him, though, as he finished a stroke ahead of tourney runner-up Jakob Rudosky of Montezuma-Cortez. It didn’t cost the Tigers, either, as they finished a stroke ahead of Montezuma-Cortez, 222-223.
Grand Junction freshman Trevor Olkowski fired a 74 to place sixth, and Tigers junior Greg Gibson had his best round of the season, carding a 78 to tie for 11th. Ben Volkmann’s score didn’t count, but he shaved several strokes off his previous scores to finish with an 82, and Richie Wise, who cracked 80 earlier this season, shot an 87.
The team victory was Grand Junction’s second in three tourneys this season.
“I’m proud of the way they played,” Tigers coach Tom LeFebre said, adding being the host of tourney often comes with expectations to play well on a course the team is familiar with.
He said he talked to the team before the round about managing the course, and that’s what they did. They limited mistakes, and every stroke they saved as a result was needed.
“We won by one. Every shot counted,” LeFebre said.
Individually, LeFebre said Kinnaman and Olkowski came through, and he commended Gibson for working hard on his ball-striking. Gibson’s been putting great, LeFebre said, but he needed to sharpen his ball-striking to bring his scores down.
“I’m real proud of Greg,” LeFebre said. “He’s been putting in the time on the range, ball-striking, and that showed today.
“He’s getting his confidence. He has the potential to be right there with Donny and Trevor, and today is a step in that direction.”
Montrose finished fifth in the team standings with 239 strokes, and Zane Sauer paced the Indians with a 77, tying for ninth.
Fruita Monument placed seventh with 245 strokes, and Troy Dangler led the Wildcats with a 76, tying for seventh.
Palisade (249) was ninth as a team, led by Skyler Miller’s 77.