At a glance
• Parker King, a Moffat County High School junior, will tee off at 9:15 a.m. Monday in the 4A state golf tournament at Flying Horse Country Club in Colorado Springs.
• King, who has played golf most of his life, placed third in the regional tournament to become the first MCHS golfer to go to state since 2002.
Parker King has been golfing for 14 years.
Starting his career swinging plastic toy clubs in the backyard at age 2, he always had an interest in the game.
However, he wonders if he might be further along in his game if he hadn’t quit temporarily to focus on baseball. Although his average score might be a little lower, he would likely still be in the same scenario he found himself in at the end of the Sept. 21 regional tournament.
King, a Moffat County High School junior, will represent the school at the 4A state golf tournament Oct. 4 and 5 at Flying Horse Country Club in Colorado Springs. He is the first MCHS golfer to qualify for the state competition since 2002.
Having been a part of the golf team throughout high school, making it to state is the high point of King’s time on the team. He’s also lettered in the sport since his freshman year.
“The first year, I was just the fifth man on the team,” he said. “I didn’t go to regionals, but I was shooting about a 93.”
The next year, King was present at the regional tournament, shooting an 84. He attributed the improvement in his score to weight training.
“It was all about just being able to be a ball-striker and having good control shots,” he said.
At this year’s regionals, King shot a 77, tying for third place, though the score wasn’t his best of the season. Earlier in the month, he shot back-to-back 70s at Devil’s Thumb in Delta and Montrose’s Cobble Creek, competitions which took place on consecutive days..
“I knew going in the second day that I could do the same thing I did the first,” he said.
Before the MCHS team’s season even started, King already had a win under his belt, taking home a trophy in the Ace High School Golf Tournament in Rifle.
However, the first tournament he won came about a decade ago, when he won the Yampa Valley Golf Course’s junior tournament at age 5.
“I don’t really remember it, it was just playing three holes out there,” he said. “I do remember when I was that age, I was driving over 100 yards.”
King said he gave up golf when he was 9, but he found his way back to it by eighth-grade, and has stayed with it ever since.
“I average about 280, 290 yard drives now,” he said. “It’s weird sometimes, because I’ll drive over 300 yards and my putting will be really bad, and then other times, I’ll be way under 300, but my putting will be good.”
Golf coach Ken Harjes said King’s short game has been particularly solid this season.
“He’s worked hard, and he really deserves to go to state,” Harjes said. “Over the summer, I’d be (at Yampa Valley Golf Course) first thing in the morning, and I’d see him with a bucket of balls, just chipping, chipping, chipping.”
Harjes said King and senior Mark Dockstader — who was unable to play at regionals because of a shoulder injury — were team leaders.
“They’re not verbal leaders, they just come out and put in the work and show the younger kids what it takes,” he said. “We had a great team this season. I thoroughly enjoyed it.”
Harjes said he’s excited to accompany King to state, though both of them are unsure what lies in store at Flying Horse, a new course which neither has played.
“From the pictures I’ve seen, it looks like it demands good work with irons,” Harjes said. “The greens look reasonably flat, no undulations to worry about.”
King said he expects the level of competition to be higher than regionals, but he has his sights set on a personal goal.
“I think as long as I shoot under 75, I should be fine,” he said.