Staying on a streak
Seven-birdie performance nets 4A regional title for Stangebye
A 170-yard par-3 hole is where Micah Stangebye caught fire.
Using a 7-iron, the Montrose freshman nailed the sweet spot and, when his ball landed on the 13th green, he was 3 feet from birdie.
“It really pumps you up,” he said about hitting a shot that close. “It really got me going and I made a couple more birdies after that.”
Stangebye made seven birdies total on the Adobe Creek Golf Course on Monday to win the Class 4A Region 4 Tournament title with a 3-under par 69.
“I hit a lot of fairways and a lot of greens, and I played pretty well,” he said.
As a team Montrose won the regional title too, shooting a 7-over-par 223 with its top three players. Mullen was second at 231 and also qualified as a team. Evergreen also shot a 231 but lost in a team playoff, but they will still compete as a team at state after qualifying three players. Steamboat Springs finished fourth with a 233 and also qualified three players for state.
The top two teams qualify all four players for state, and the top 13 individuals not part of the top two teams qualify for the state tournament.
Montrose coach Dave Woodruff said the team has played well all season with all four of their players shooting a team low at different points of the season.
“He just played steady all day,” he said of Stangebye. “He didn’t play that well in the practice round on Saturday. But that’s golf, sometimes you have good days and sometimes you have bad days.”
Stangebye also shot a 69 at Adobe Creek earlier this season.
“We wanted to peak here at regionals but we didn’t play as well as we wanted, but maybe that’s because of the pressure to get to state,” Woodruff said. “Part of that is the youth and not being used to the big stage.”
Montrose’s team is made up of three freshmen and one senior. The senior, Glen-Michael Mihavetz, has been their most consistent player throughout the season but he struggled a little on Monday. He still finished in a tie for third with a 73, which was only his fourth over-par round this year.
“My ball striking wasn’t as good as it has been all year and I missed a lot of putts,” he said. “I was really hoping to win this one, but I’m really excited for state. I’ve been looking forward to state all year.”
Only two players went under par with Eagle Valley’s Barrett Jones taking second with a 71.
Graham Gaspard of Summit and Mullen’s Michael Phenicie also shot 73s to tie for third.
Montrose’s other two players, Dawson Hussong and Ryan Lords shot 81 and 87, respectively.
Rifle junior Jacob Smith was disappointed with his 77, which put him in a tie for 10th, but he was happy to qualify for state.
“The main goal for regionals is to qualify for state,” he said. “I would have liked to have played a little better. I was even (par) after the front and struggled on the back with six three putts.”
Smith qualified for state as a freshman but missed last year.
The Class 4A state 36-hole tournament will be next week at River Valley Ranch in Carbondale.
Stangebye and Mihavetz said they are expecting to do well.
“It’s really great because we knew this was going to be a good team since we were like 10 years old,” Stangebye said. “We’ve always played together and when someone plays bad another one of us steps up.”
“We have a really deep team this year. I don’t even think we have to play our best. If we all can keep it around par, we have a really good shot,” he said.
He’s also looking forward to redeeming himself with a better showing at state, where he finished seventh last year.
“I definitely have to putt well. My ball striking has been pretty good, so if I putt well and get some putts to fall and get my confidence going, I’ll be where I need to be,” he said.
Stangebye said he’s expecting Mihavetz to play like he did throughout the season.
“He’s very consistent. He’s the most consistent guy on the team, we always know that he’s going to come in around even, so that helps,” Stangebye said.
Woodruff, who has coached both the boys and girls for Montrose over the past 19 years, is familiar with River Valley Ranch. He coached two different teams that played at the course for state.
“Not knowing the course is the biggest challenge,” he said, adding that none of his players have played the course. “We’ll play some practice rounds this week. The familiarity with the course will always help. Our kids hit the ball fairly straight, they’re not real long (off the tee) so they don’t get into a lot of trouble.”
Stangebye is optimistic and confident coming off his regional victory.
“My goal is Top 15 at state and I think I can get that, maybe even better if I play well. I think as a team, we can win it,” he said.
Class 5A regionals: Fruita qualifies 3
Fruita Monument had a good showing at the Class 5A Northern Region Tournament, finishing third and qualifying three players for state.
Playing at Saddle Rock Golf Course in Aurora, the Wildcats finished third at 238 behind Fossil Ridge (221) and Heritage (232).
Nick Laubscher led the Wildcats with a 78 to place 11th. He had a solid round with 13 pars.
Senior Jason Coffey qualified for state for the first time, shooting an 80 to tie for 13th. Sophomore Blake Anderson will be making his second straight appearance at the state tournament after he also shot an 80 to tie for 13th.
Fruita’s fourth player, Sean Kennedy, just missed a state qualifying berth. He shot an 83 but then lost in a playoff for one of the final state berths.
Cherokee Trail’s Bradley Scalia won medalist honors at 71.
With three individuals qualifying, the Wildcats will now be able to compete as a team at the 5A state tournament, which will be at Bookcliff Country Club next Monday and Tuesday.
Central also played on Monday, competing in the 5A Southern Region at South Suburban Golf Course in Denver.
Tate Higgins led the Warriors, finishing 34th and Kyle Blair tied for 37th.
Grand Junction is at the 5A Central Region in Denver today.