Today might be a long day for the Moffat County High School girls golf team, who traveled to Rifle to compete at the Rifle Creek Golf Course. The course features one of the toughest back nines that the Lady Bulldogs will see this year, according to Coach Chuck Cobb.
Cobb said the last nine holes push far back into a canyon, with narrow fairways, a plethora of hazards, and an uphill battle all the way.
"The holes on the back nine are tough, and can easily intimidate any golfer," he said.
The holes that could cause the most trouble are 13 through 15, what Cobb calls the "Bermuda Triangle of Rifle Creek."
All three fairways are on an upward slope, and have blind greens, making the second shot a difficult one. If that's not enough, the greens have a pitch to them as well. A par score on one of these holes is considered a good round of golf.
"If you aren't ready to play 13, 14, and 15, they can really cause you trouble. You can make it to the green and three-putt it in no time at all," Cobb said.
The Lady Bulldogs are coming off a week of vacation. Some girls got to play a few rounds while traveling, but many did not.
This is traditionally a tough time for Moffat County golf, Cobb said. The vacation hasn't worn off yet, many are playing their first game, and the team hasn't been able to practice outdoors.
"It's a really rigorous time for us. The biggest thing that holds us back is not getting on the course as early as other teams do, but we've always known that our season doesn't come in to swing until the first week of April," he said.
The first week of April is usually the time the Yampa Valley Golf Course is thawed out enough to be played, but water drainage can present a problem.
The problem that girl's golfers will face today is not playing during a wet early spring, but that of eight teams they will face in Rifle, three could present serious difficulty. Eagle Valley, Basalt, and some Grand Junction teams will all be worthy competitors for the Lady Bulldogs, especially if one of the Grand Junction teams turns out to be Central.
Central has two star golfers, Cara Carbon and Shannel Wright. Eagle Valley packs a punch with golfer Joanie Ewing. All of the girls were state-qualifiers last year.
"Eagle Valley, to us, is always the team to beat. If we have a rivalry it's with them, but it's also with any ranked golfer we come up against," Cobb said. "That's one of the neat things about golf rivalries, it doesn't always have to be with a certain team. The girls know who's good out there, and they may not say it, but they aim to beat those golfers."
The tournament is a five player-per-team meet, with a 10 a.m. shotgun start. Moffat County has four of its five team members chosen for the match. Senior Vanessa Wilson, and juniors Lindsey Scott, Laura Duran, and Melanie Peters will play. The fifth member was undecided as of practice Monday night.
The tournament will also offer a scramble for the junior varsity, a match of best-ball play, so the entire Bulldog team will travel.
Many of the girls are still just getting into the swing of the regular season and look to use the tournament as a chance to get out on the course and get another round of golf in until the home greens thaw. But, the tournament still causes the same jitters that any athletic competitions does.
"It's going to be my first time out on a course since last summer, so I'm very nervous about getting out there and playing, especially the back nine," junior Laura Duran said. "I've never played them before, but I've heard that if you don't execute them well, they can make for a long day."