As Parker King approached the back nine Monday at Rifle Creek Golf Course, he knew he would need to adjust his game.
Playing in the top-flight during the championship round of the Ace High School Golf Tournament, King, an incoming Moffat County High School junior, didn’t start off the front nine the way he wanted.
“After the front nine, I was five back,” he said. “I knew I would need a big comeback to win.
“I would either have to golf really well, or he would have to make a mistake.”
Both of those things happened, and out of the 30 high school golfers, King was able to shoot a 77 on the day to claim the championship.
“It’s tough trying to make par at Rifle,” he said. “It’s tough getting the ball onto the fairway and I knew I would have to make my putts.”
On the back-nine, he rolled up a pair of birdies as his main competitor was starting to fade.
“Mainly, my putting came up big,” he said. “My drive accuracy was also really good. I was hitting the ball where I wanted to.”
King said that last season, and earlier in the summer, his stamina was lacking in tournaments, but he got stronger as the summer went on.
“Before, my accuracy wasn’t as good after the 13th hole,” he said. “(Monday), my drives were strong even on hole 18. It was strong the whole tournament — I kept it up all the way through.”
Ron Fante is the director of the Ace High School Golf Tournament.
“It consists of five tournaments throughout the summer and across the Western Slope,” he said. “The players earn points at each tournament, so whoever shows up and plays well at each one has a good chance.
“It definitely takes a commitment.”
The top-12 golfers were invited to a final tournament in July in Grand Junction, and the top four were invited to Monday’s championship in Rifle.
King said he the 77 was his best score during the Ace tournament season.
“I started off with a couple of 80s,” he said. “My previous best was a 78 (during the summer) until Monday.”
With the MCHS golf season beginning Aug. 9, King said he feels more confident in his skills moving forward.
The first tournament will be Aug. 16 at Tiara Rado Golf Course in Grand Junction.
“I’m feeling pretty good about it,” King said. “With some of the other guys on the team, I feel like we have a good chance every week to win some tournaments.
“If we can adjust as we go along, we’ll do really well."