Golfers show drastic improvement at home

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Last year Shawn Brookshire turned in his team's best score at the home tournament, but his performance didn't make too much of an impression.

This year, he did the same thing at Yampa Valley Golf Course, with one difference. This year, people took notice.

On Thursday, Brookshire had four birdies on the way to a 76, which tied him for seventh in the tournament and helped him get one step closer to the regional team. Last year, his 81 wasn't recognized as a difference-maker for the post season.

The difference is consistency.

"I'm golfing a lot more consistent this year," the junior said. "I've been working on my swing, and the last two weeks it's been going well."

Brookshire also led the team Wednesday at the Haymaker Golf Course with a score of 84.

"Shawn wasn't consistent last year, so his score wasn't taken as seriously," coach Ken Harjes said. "I talked to him about working on tempo lately, and he's settled into a good one. It has showed in his score the last two weeks."

If a good tempo results in low scores, the Bulldog team was in the flow Thursday. Freshman Collin Jackson shot a 78, and senior Zach Haddan turned in an 84 to make the Bulldogs' score a 238. That was 17 better shots than any other team tally this year.

"Today was encouraging," Had-dan said. "I'm not real happy with my day, but it's nice to see the team turn it around."

Haddan's Wheaties didn't kick in for him until after the eighth hole.

"I started out with the shanks," he said. "If I had a good shot, it would take a bad bounce. If I had a bad shot, it would bounce even worse."

Haddan shot a 46 on the front nine. He turned around with a 38 on the final nine holes.

"I finished the last eight holes even," he said. "That helped the day go a little better."

Sophomore Bryce Ponikvar turned in an 85, and senior Kyle Wilson shot an 89.

"I'm confident that Kyle and Zach have better rounds in them," Harjes said. "But they still improved."

The Bulldogs went from finishing 15th Wednesday to fourth Thursday. They golfed against the same 18 teams in both tournaments.

Part of that turnaround was because of Jackson's good round. Harjes and assistant coach Aaron Kessler picked the five golfers they thought would golf the best at the home course.

"Collin made us look good in that decision," Harjes said.

Jackson was happy with his round.

"I was comfortable here," he said. "I should be comfortable anywhere, but I haven't seen any of the other courses before."

Straight drives and above-average putting were what Jackson credited for his 78.

In addition to the fourth-place finish behind Steamboat Springs (233) Fruita-Monument (232) and Montrose (227), Brookshire and Jackson would have qualified for the state tournament if Thursday were the regional meet. Steamboat's Paul Berry won the tournament with an even round of 72.

"We have a home-field advantage at the regional," Harjes said. "It's the truth of golf that you are usually better at your home course because you are familiar with it."

What Harjes isn't familiar with is who will be his four golfers at the regional tournament at the end of September. With two golfers who were in the top 10 suspended until the day before the regional tournament, it leaves things even more open.

"I'm not even going to think about it until the end of next week," he said. "I'll let the guys work it out on the course."

At least 10 Moffat golfers will get a chance to compete next week. They will attend tournaments in Aspen, Rangely, Roaring Fork and Eagle Valley.

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