On the fifth hole of the Yampa Valley Golf Course, Morgan Cobb hit a drive she said felt "straight on." When she looked up it dropped a disappointing 30 yards in front of her.
"The wind knocked everything down today," said the Moffat County senior after her team struggled to a seventh-place finish out of 10 teams Tuesday. "It affected us all today and I know we wanted to play a lot better than we did."
A team score of 326 was not what the Bulldogs wanted to see on the board for the last meet before regionals. Five 4A schools finished ahead of MCHS, including Palisade, Aspen, Montrose, Eagle Valley and winner Rifle.
"On a day like today concentration has to be there and I'm not sure it was," said coach Chuck Cobb. "With the wind, it became just as much of a psychological thing as a physical thing."
The bright spot for MCHS was the play of junior Brittany Hutton. The top golfer for the Bulldogs finished in third with a 92. She wasn't completely satisfied with her round because of a series of three holes on the back nine where she doubled, tripled and triple bogeyed, but she said she did gain some confidence.
"I played with the best group of four here today," Hutton said. "I psyched myself out at first but after a few holes I realized I could play with them."
Hutton's 43 on the front nine was the second best of the tournament and her third-place finish was four strokes behind Aspen's Kristin Walle. Coach Cobb said that Walle has been the best golfer in 4A this year and that Hutton's day should give her some confidence going into the regional.
"She played with four of the 10 she needs to beat at the regional," coach Cobb said. "She gave away a few shots there and still was close, so I think she learned where she was at today."
With only nine scores under 100, it was obvious that the adverse conditions kept the numbers high.
"The course plays a lot longer in the wind," coach Cobb said as he drove around the course to check on his golfers. "At this level, they don't recognize the situation and play accordingly. They just try to hit it harder and it gets them in trouble."
The other four varsity members of MCHS were in trouble throughout the day. Cobb finished with a 120, junior Stephanie Kloos finished with a 118, junior Kaylee Perry shot a 129 and senior Cassi Shafer finished with a 116. For Kloos, Shafer and Cobb, the front nine was the toughest as they shot four, 14 and 12 more than their back nine scores respectively.
"We really just need to put this behind us and practice hard these next five days," Morgan Cobb said. "We know we can play better and we will at regionals."
Coach Cobb hoped his team can put Tuesday's performance behind them.
"Right now I'm cautiously optimistic," he said. "We need to work on getting back on course these next couple of days."
The tournament also presented an opportunity for the four JV golfers to take a swing in competition. Brittany Goss led the way with a 109, the second-best score of the day for the Bulldogs. Amy Coulter followed with a 121, Chelsey Herod shot a 130 and Brenna Conci rounded things out with a 139.
The team will travel to Gypsum for the regional Monday for a practice round. The regional tournament will take place Tuesday at Cotton Ranch Golf Course in Gypsum.