Local golfers finish 26th at national tournament

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Although a local team didn't return with the prestigious McGladrey golf championship, team member Brett Etzler said the experience was one he would never forget.

On Oct. 26, the team of Etzler, Nick Bomba, Richard Padon and Justin Gallegos played at Pinehurst Resort in Pinehurst, N.C., during the McGladrey championship, finishing with a total score of 414 during the three-day event.

"We finished 26th out of 41 teams, so maybe not as good as we would have liked, but it was a respectable finish," Etzler said. "Obviously, we would have loved to have done better, but we all played pretty well, and I'm happy with where we finished."

The team earned its chance at the McGladrey by winning an Aug. 16 qualifying tournament at Riverdale Dunes in Brighton.

The 41 teams competing in North Carolina were composed of players from across the United States.

"We had a great time, and the competition was tough," he said. "We beat 15 teams, which was gratifying."

Etzler said Pinehurst, which has twice hosted the US Open, was one of the best courses he has ever played.

"It was one of the most beautiful places I've golfed in my life," he said. "Pinehurst, for sure, is probably one of the top-five courses in the nation where I've played."

Bomba, Etzler, Gallegos and Padon were the only team from Colorado.

"I'm happy to have beaten a few teams at least, and I think we represented Colorado well," Etzler said. "It was definitely one of the best golfing experiences of my lifetime."

Playing against some of the best competition in the United States was made better by the company, Etzler said.

"I'll remember playing with three members of Yampa Valley, representing Colorado," he said. "I'm just happy to have made it that far, and I think we did pretty well."

Etzler said Yampa Valley Golf Course would sponsor a McGladrey qualifying tournament next year.

But if the team can't make it back to Pinehurst, Etzler said he was happy with the way this year's tournament went.

"I wish we could have come back and said we won the thing, but maybe next year," he said. "It may never happen again, and if it doesn't, then it was a great once-in-a-lifetime opportunity."

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