Golfers approach tournament with different swings of attitude

Morgan Cobb and Brittany Hutton can already picture the van ride to the Class 4A girls golf tournament.

"I'll be nervous and shaky thinking about the tournament," Hutton said.

"I'll probably be in the back cracking jokes or something," Cobb said.

The pair, who represents the sixth consecutive Moffat County High School contention at the state golf tournament, approaches a van ride similar to their golf game.

Hutton's intensity lends to a more emotional day on the course while Cobb puts each shot behind her and focuses on the next.

"I tend to take it way more serious," Hutton said.

"My approach is more like 'hey, it's only one game, things will go better,'" Cobb said.

Cobb, a senior, was enjoying her first year on varsity as the team's third golfer when she popped one of the best competitive rounds at the regional in Gypsum. Her 99 wasn't the best score she'd shot in high school, but her fifth-place finish was her highest in a varsity tournament.

"I was completely floored," Cobb said about her round. "I have to say I shocked myself when I saw everybody else's scores."

When she leaves for the tournament Sunday, Cobb will be done with school as she took her finals ahead of time this week. She had to move up her finals this week since the tournament was during the scheduled days of finals on Monday and Tuesday.

"This week my main focus has been on school work," she said. "But as soon as that last final is over I'll be able to think more about the tournament."

For Hutton, the reality of her first state tournament started to set in earlier.

"Today I got my pairings and the nerves started to set in," she said. "But it makes it easier since I'll be playing with two girls from the Western Slope."

Hutton had been the top golfer for the team most of the season, but admittedly hadn't been shooting well as of late.

"Tom (Dockstader, coach) and Chuck (Cobb, coach) have been helping me get things straightened out before the tournament," she said.

There are two weeks between the regional and state tournaments, time that Hutton and Cobb spent off the golf course for the first half and then working on their swings this last week.

"Brittany has been working on getting more width with her swing," Dockstader said. "Morgan wants to take the club way too inside and she's been working on keeping it upright."

Dockstader acknowledged that the two weeks off help for someone who might have been struggling, but for someone playing well it would have been better with less time off.

"We've had girls in the past that were playing well before the state tournament and the shorter rest was to their advantage," he said. "But for Brittany it is better for her to get some work in."

Another aspect of the state tournament is nerves. Dockstader said the change in atmosphere is something for which the girls need to be prepared.

"They are used to going out and playing with hardly anybody watching," he said. "At state, there are officials everywhere and a lot more spectators. It is more like a professional tournament."

Hutton said she knows she is more prone to feel the pressure.

"I've never thrown up at a tournament," she said. "But really I have one more year to compete at state so I don't think I'll put that much pressure on myself."

The junior credits her improvement over the past year to spending nearly every day at the course last summer.

She said her first goal was to be in the top half of the field. If she makes it into the top 10, Dockstader loses his mustache.

"I'd be glad to do it if she plays that well," he said. "I even got the OK from my wife if it happens."

Cobb hopes to shoot a 115 or better and would like to finish in the top 15.

"I would be absolutely pleased if I was better than top 15," she said. "This is my first time to go so I can't expect to win it."

With a top-15 finish from Cobb and top 10 from Hutton what would the van ride home be like?

"We would both be having a lot of fun," said Cobb.

"It would be a lot better than the ride down," Hutton said with a smile.

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