Tigers’ Harrison keeps cool in Grand Junction Invitational

Grand Junction’s Garrett Fante hits Monday on No. 18 during the Grand Junction Invitational at Bookcliff Country Club, the site of this year’s Class 5A state tournament. The Tigers finished third in the team standings with 229 points. Aspen won the team title with a 223.

Fruita Monument’s Joey Saad makes a short putt Monday on No. 18 during the Grand Junction Invitational at Bookcliff Country Club. Saad, who fought off injury trouble, tied with Grand Junction’s Garrett Harrison and Rifle’s Danny Bartels for seventh with a 75.

Central high school’s Kyle Serrano watches the golf ball sail toward the pin at No. 18 on Monday at Bookcliff Country Club.

Garrett Harrison had a rough start, but instead of getting upset, he kept his cool and finished strong.

The Grand Junction High School senior overcame a four-over-par on the first three holes and finished four strokes behind the winner with a 75 in the Grand Junction Invitational on Monday at Bookcliff Country Club.

“I was kind of worried, but I knew that shooting 80s is not the worst thing with Mike’s (Bamford’s death last year),” Harrison said of keeping sports in perspective. “I can come back. I had to keep my cool and I did it.”

Bamford was a senior at Grand Junction last year and played on the golf team. He died in December 2010.

Durango senior Morgan Miller took medalist honors with an even-par 71. Aspen’s Ryan Smith was second with 72 and Durango’s Michael Thomas was third with 73.

Miller was pleased with his best high school tournament score in his prep career, but disappointed the Demons won’t have the opportunity to compete in the Class 5A state championship at Bookcliff in October. Durango competes in Class 4A.

“The course is straight forward,” Miller said. “You can go out and shoot a really good round. The greens roll nice and the fairways are wide.

“You’ve got to hit it right at the pin. It wouldn’t bounce forward at all. The greens are pretty slick, too.”

Aspen won the team title with a score of 223. It is the Skiers’ second team title of the season.

Durango took second with 226, Grand Junction was third with 229, Montezuma-Cortez took fourth with 232 and Fruita Monument was fifth with 233.

“(State) is too far away to be thinking about it,” Grand Junction coach Tom LeFebre said. “We always talk about one swing at a time. That’s so far down the road, we’re not even thinking about it. Most of the local kids have played here enough, they know the golf course. It’s about living in the moment and taking one good swing at a time.”

Good putting will be necessary for the state tournament.

“I grew up with this course, so I kind of know what to do; it’s if I can do it,” Fruita senior Joey Saad said. “Depending on where they put the pins (for state), I bet they put the pins in places people haven’t seen before and make it tough.”

Saad tied with Harrison and Rifle’s Danny Bartels for seventh with 75.

“I felt like my rib came out of place,” Saad said of one point in the round. “All of a sudden it hurt to breathe and I couldn’t really putt with my shoulders. I had to grind through that. The back nine, it got better. I had a couple birdies on 13 and 14. I bogeyed 16, but that was really it.”

Harrison took advantage of slower greens, thanks to the rain storm that hit the valley Sunday.

“When they are slower, you can be more aggressive with it,” Harrison said. “I like that. I made a lot of putts today.

“When they are fast, it’s harder. The greens are by far the biggest challenge.”

Kyler Smith led Palisade with a 76, Preston Grandbouche led Central with a 78 and Cole Brennecke led Montrose with 81.


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