'A long day'

MCHS golf team fails to qualify for state championships



3A state regional golf tournament

Sept. 23, Aspen Golf Club - Eagle

6,7165-yards par 71

MCHS team results

10/16 MCHS 245

MCHS individual results

* Mark Dockstader 92

* Taylor Branstetter 98

* Nick Moyer 99

* Erick Leonard 102

* Placed outside the top-20

Having placed two golfers in the top-5 two weeks ago in Aspen, the Moffat County High School golf team had reason to be optimistic about its chances in its return visit Tuesday.

The problem was, Tuesday's round had a lot more at stake.

The Bulldog ball-strikers couldn't duplicate their past performance on the links of Aspen Golf Club during the 3A state regional golf tournament and failed to qualify a team member for the state championships Oct. 6 and 7 at Yampa Valley Golf Course.

"It was a long day," MCHS coach Ken Harjes said. "They didn't play well from the beginning. I really thought we were ready, but nobody even really made the turn in a position to make it."

Senior Nick Moyer, who shot a 77 and tied for first Sept. 9 in Aspen, carded a 99 in his 18 holes of work.

Sophomore Mark Dockstader (92) and senior Erick Leonard (102) each finished 13 strokes higher than their previous rounds two weeks ago.

Taylor Branstetter's round of 98 was just six strokes above his previous round in Aspen, but still 17 strokes away from qualifying for state.

An 81 would have propelled any of the MCHS golfers into the season-ending event in the team's backyard.

"I really thought we'd have at least one of our kids get through," Harjes said. "It's disappointing to me, but I know it's more disappointing to the kids. In my 28 years of coaching Moffat County golf, this team was right up there in the amount of improvement they made this year."

Harjes said the course played the same as it did before, but what was different was how the team hit the ball off the tees.

"Their short game was great," Harjes said. "But from tee to green is where they got into trouble. They fought hard, though. It's just really hard to make adjustments during the course of a round."

The season is now over for the MCHS boys of the links, and Harjes said he's sad to see it come to a close.

"Yesterday was long, but the drive home was nice," Harjes said. "To get the chance to sit and talk with the seniors was nice. They are nice kids. They have grown up a lot. It's fun to be around them.

"That's why it's a shame to see it come to an end."


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