After a tough Monday in Grand Junction, the Bulldog golf team hit the road again for two days of play in Montrose.
Wednesday's tournament took place at the Black Canyon Golf Course and proved to be an improvement from Monday's tournament. Sean Smith and Collin Jackson lead the Bulldogs with scores of 82.
"We shot better," coach Ken Harjes said. "We shot 249 and took 11th place out of 18 teams. But we're still a long way from where we need to be."
The par 70 course played easier than Grand Junction.
Harjes said it's better to judge his team by comparing scores to what other competitors shoot.
"If you go out and shoot a 100, but everyone else is shooting 99, you still lose," the veteran coach said. "But if you're shooting a 101 and everyone else is shooting a 103, you're doing pretty good."
One bright spot for Harjes was that his team didn't throw in the towel on Wednesday.
"The kids didn't give up," he said. "And I think we're capable of more."
With teams such as Basalt, Rifle and Steamboat Springs in the hunt for the league title, Harjes thinks catching up to them will be a daunting task, but one the Bulldogs are up to.
"Those teams are really good," Harjes said. "It's going to be tough to beat them. We'll have to play our best golf."
Kaleb McKey, one of Harjes top golfers, showed a little rust Wednesday and was disappointed in his outing.
"I was hitting fine off the tee, but every shot I hit with my irons went off," McKey said. "The only way I could score was with my short game. Not being able to hit the green from 75 to 100 yards puts you out of a good score."
The same rang true for the fellow senior Evan Hertzog, who also struggled.
"I never really got in the groove," Hertzog said. "My second shot of the day, I went to pull out my 8-iron, and it wasn't there. I had accidentally left it in Craig."
That blunder took Hertzog out of his mental game, and his score of 85 was proof.
"I was fighting to make bogeys," Hertzog said.
Hertzog and McKey turned things around Thursday at Cobble Creek Golf Course. Hertzog led the Bulldogs by posting a score of 80, and McKey was three shots behind in posting an 83.
"Kaleb started on the 17th hole Thursday and had a double," Harjes said. "He fought back and had three birdies on his last six holes. He didn't quit, and he worked hard."
McKey made a few adjustments to his game in the final six holes to pull away with the strong finish.
"I made a change to my swing," McKey said. "Hopefully, I can carry that finish into the next tournament."
Hertzog started Thursday in the same fashion as McKey.
"I started with three bogeys in a row," Hertzog said. "On 15, I birdied, and that gave me a spark. I just tried to hit the greens, because I only hit two on Wednesday, and if I want to score, I have to hit the greens."
The golfers head out again Monday for a tournament in Rifle. Harjes thinks the course will be a challenge for his team.
"It's like two different golf courses," Harjes said. "The front nine is flat, and the back nine is up in the rocks. I think the back will be challenging, but it's a good course overall."
The tournament in Rifle will have fewer teams participating, so there is a chance for the Bulldogs to finish higher.
Melanie McDaniels can be reached at 824-7031, ext. 211, or firstname.lastname@example.org.
Wednesday team score: MCHS, 249.
Individual: Sean Smith, 82; Collin Jackson, 82; Evan Hertzog, 85: Kaleb McKey, 85; Clark Cleverly, 87
Thursday team score: MCHS, 249.
Individual: Evan Hertzog, 80; Kaleb McKey, 83; Sean Smith, 86; Clark Cleverly, 87; Collin Jackson, 90.