Russell falls off pace, but finishes fifth

CRAIG — Justin Russell admitted that being in the final group in Tuesday’s final round of the Class 4A state golf championships got to him a little bit.

“I kind of got lost in the moment, being in the lead group,” the Montrose High School senior said.

After trailing first-day leader Wyndham Clark by four shots heading into the final round at Yampa Valley Golf Course, Russell fell off the pace and finished fifth.

Russell didn’t make a birdie during Tuesday’s round and had two bogeys and two double bogeys, finishing with a 6-over-par 76, which dropped him to fifth place.

Russell’s tee shots were solid Tuesday but his approach shots often sailed to either side of the green.

“I didn’t know where it was going,” he said.

During Monday’s round, his ball-striking was solid but his putting was off.

It was the exact opposite Tuesday. He actually putted well but couldn’t get a birdie putt to drop.

“I had four or five that were an inch short,” he said. “I guess that’s golf.”

After leading by two strokes in the team race after the first day, Montrose finished third. That was mostly because of the play of D’Evelyn and senior Brenden Beeg.

Like Russell, Beeg started the day at even par, four shots behind Clark. He made that up on the second hole when he had a birdie and Clark triple-bogeyed the hole after hitting behind a tree and then three-putting.

Beeg went on to birdie three more holes on the front nine and made the turn four strokes ahead of the field.

He finished at 4-under-par 66 for the day for a two-day total of 136, defeating Clark by six shots for the state title.

His score helped D’Evelyn, the smallest school in Class 4A, to its first-ever 4A team title in any sport.

“We felt pretty good (about our chances) because we had an uncharacteristically high score (on Monday,),” D’Evelyn coach Troy Pachner said.

D’Evelyn finished at 439, seven shots ahead of Greeley Central. Montrose finished at 453.

“We definitely didn’t lose it,” Montrose coach Angelo DeJulio said of the team race. “(D’Evelyn) won it.”

Having good kids who get good grades and happen to play good golf was all DeJulio could ask for in his first year as coach.

“All I tried to do this year was to give them confidence,” he said. “Really, other than that, our goal was to have fun.

“I knew going into this season we had a chance to win (state). Our goal was top three.”


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