Golfers place third on home links

Three weeks ago, during a friendly game of golf, senior linkster Evan Pressley stroked his best game ever a 73.

That's not a bad score when the pressure's off, but on Friday Pressley, showed what he can do when the pressure's on.

In the Bulldog Invitational, Moffat County High School's only home tournament of the season, Pressley shot a 33 on the front nine, and a 35 on the back, to shoot the tournament's best score, as well as a personal best of 68.

"I was able to hit my approach shots well, and I utilized my irons the way that I should, so I was set up when I got to the green," Pressley said. "I was able to get to the green in regulation on 17 holes."

Pressley birdied on holes one, four and nine on the front nine, and didn't have a bogie until the 13th hole. The 13th hole, a dogleg right par-4, saw Pressley hit the green in regulation, but he ended up three-putting for a five.

"If things keep happening the way they have been, and I can make it to state, I could have a chance at placing in the top-20," he said. "But, that's all pretty iffy. There's a lot of good players out there."

The Bulldog Invitational was the third tournament of the year for the MCHS boys team, and was also their best tournament so far this season.

The Bulldogs finished third overall, with a team score of 231. The teams that placed higher in the meet do not concern the Bulldogs, because they have no impact on their regular season schedule.

Unitah High School from Vernal Utah, and Grand Junction Central were the only two teams to place higher than MCHS, but are not in the same Western Slope Conference (WSC) the Dogs' are in, so it shouldn't impact the rest of the linksters' season.

"If you look at the overall team scores, we beat all the WSC schools, and all the other Class 4A teams that were there," Coach Ken Harjes said. "I think that the third-place finish has a chance to jump start the season for us, and give us a little confidence early on in the season."

The Bulldogs finished in the middle of the pack in their last two tournaments. At Grand Junction's Tiara Rado Golf Course Thursday, they finished 13th out of 25 teams, and at Rifle Creek Wednesday, they finished 11th out of 20 teams.

The Bulldogs have 22 golfers out for the squad this year, with two big spots to fill from last year's team.

C.J. Rugh and Jarrod Aragon represented MCHS at the state tournament last year; however, both have graduated. Rugh will play for Division III Knox College in Galesburg, Ill., this fall.

As for filling the spots that were left by the two linksters, Harjes will draw from a pool of three seniors and two juniors.

Pressley, Garrett Schopper, who finished at the Invitational with a score of 82, and Brian Skowronski, who shot a 93 on Friday, represent the Bulldogs' three juniors. Nate Vaccari, who shot a 81, and Cody DeGuelle, who finished with a score of 84, are the team's two varsity seniors.

"I'm really pleased with the kids we've got playing for us, and I'm pleased with their latest performance," Harjes said. "I expect the guys to just keep getting better as the season goes on, but of course, it will be hard since we'll be on the road for the rest of the season."

After starting their season-long road trip, the Bulldogs will travel to Cortez's Conquistador GC Thursday, Durango's Hillcrest on Friday and to Pagosa Springs on Saturday.

It may be a road trip, and a long one at that, but the Bulldogs should catch a break in adapting to the courses layout.

"The next three courses we'll hit shouldn't have too many surprises for us they'll play a lot like our course," Harjes said. "They're level courses that don't have a lot of hills, so there's no worries about trick shots. It'll give us a chance to carry on the momentum from the invitational."

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