While the rest of their friends and classmates were waking up early for the first sports practices of the new school year, the Moffat County High School boys golf team was busy warming up for the first tournament of the season in Grand Junction on Monday.
A team with high expectations for the season got off to a little bit of a slow start, finishing ninth out of 16 teams, but there was a bright spot for the Bulldog golfers. Senior Evan Pressley shot a two-over 73 and tied for first.
"I wasn't driving the ball very well all day, but my chipping and putting were keeping me in there," Pressley said. "Overall though, I was happy with the way I played."
Pressley's hot hitting escaped him in a playoff for first place after the first 18 holes. The senior faced off against three other golfers tied for first and his approach shot on the first hole went past the green setting up what head coach Ken Harjes called an "impossible chip to make." Pressley bogeyed the hole and was immediately out of the playoff.
"Except for the playoff, I was a little surprised by how well I played," Pressley said. "I hadn't played that much this summer, but not very many had their best games out there either."
"If Cody keeps his short game strong the way he did today and he starts to hit from the tee better, he'll have a great season," Harjes said. "He will be able to compete with anybody on the Western Slope."
Before the season started Harjes predicted that Western Slope teams were quickly improving and the first tournament showed the 29-year-old coach knew what he was talking about.
The top three teams in the tournament were all class 4A and schools from the western part of the state. Aspen won with a combined score of 225, followed by Cedaredge with 226 and just a birdie away was Rifle with a team score of 227.
The Bulldogs worked out the nerves of a new season with a 242.
"We're very capable of being in the low 230s, high 220s," Harjes said. "As a team we just sort of had an up and down day."
Junior John Beckerman had a fine performance in his first-ever varsity tournament with a score of 84, which was good for second best on the team. Perennial top golfer for the Bulldogs, senior Cody Deguelle, rounded off the top three with a score of 85.
According to Harjes, Deguelle struggled a little with a fade on his shot and couldn't quite find his A-game. Junior Layne Behrman and senior Garrett Schopper also made the trip as the top five for MCHS.
Harjes said the top five for the moment on the team are the three seniors and sophomores Brady Virden and Jared Lowther.
Those five will make the trip to compete in Pagosa, Cortez and Durango on three consecutive days starting Wednesday.
"We are going to put quite a bit of mileage on the school van this week," Harjes said. "It is too bad that I have to leave any of them home since from positions 5-10 on the team are so close yet we can only travel five."