Kale Beckett tees off the first hole at Yampa Valley Golf Course Tuesday for the Yampa River Junior Classic. Beckett tied for the win among golfers who played five holes, shooting a 39 on the day.

Photo by Nate Waggenspack

Kale Beckett tees off the first hole at Yampa Valley Golf Course Tuesday for the Yampa River Junior Classic. Beckett tied for the win among golfers who played five holes, shooting a 39 on the day.

Youth swing strong at Yampa Valley Golf Course

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Yampa River Junior Classic results

18 holes

Jacob Smith 76

Marshall Way 81

Nick Burni 85

Holden Kleager 87

Masi Smith 89

Caitlin Harjes 98

Calvin Shipard 100

Logan Hughes 103

Lexi Gonzalez 133

Nine holes

A.J. Barber 60

Connor Murphy 62

Thayne Kitchen 62

Toran Reed 63

Owen Allen 66

Grady Anson 76

Tyler Baysinger 77

Eric Macks 78

Isaac Vallem 79

Brittany Corey 83

Ellina Jones 86

Johnny Macks 87

Alexander Nichols 89

Alexis Jones 90

Six holes

Riley Allen 40

Joe Neal 43

Coh Call 45

Jim Neal 45

Isaac Trevenen 46

Caden Call 47

Hudson Jones 50

Trevor Forbes 50

Jahaygen Hyer 54

Arianna Anderson 58

Five holes

Kale Beckett 39

Holdon Beckett 39

Cort Murphy 42

Yampa Valley Golf Course was host to its youngest demographic Tuesday, closing out a successful summer of youth golf with a tournament tailored toward the youth in and around the community.

The Yampa River Junior Classic was Tuesday morning, with children up to age 18 playing 18, nine, six or five holes based on age divisions. It was YVGC's last youth golf event of the summer, a culmination of head golf pro David Hardison’s Yampa Valley Junior Golf program.

Nearly 70 young golfers played in the tournament, a large increase from recent years. While the tournament was open to and attracted golfers from outside the program and outside Craig (low-scorer Jacob Smith came to play from Rifle), the course was full of the green and pink hats Hardison distributed earlier this summer, an encouraging sign.

“That was good to see, big time,” Hardison said. “We had a combination of kids we’ve seen all summer and some who came from elsewhere, but it was a great turnout. I was a little overwhelmed, having that many kids, but I think it was pretty well organized.”

Winners were crowned for each division of holes played, with every participant receiving a medal and a golf-related door prize of their choosing as well. Brothers Holdon and Kale Beckett, of Craig, tied to win the five-hole group, shooting 39.

“It was fun,” Kale Beckett said of the round. “We shot pretty good.”

The tournament was the last organized youth golf event of the summer in Craig. Drumming up interest in the next generation of prospective golfers is important to Hardison, and Yampa Valley Junior Golf was a good start, bringing out crowds from 50 to 60 children each week to learn about golf and its applications to daily life.

“I also want to thank the golf association here for letting us have the tournament and close the course for part of the day,” Hardison said. “It seems like at some clubs they aren’t against youth golf, but this would be interrupting their day. Here, they were happy to work with us.”

Nate Waggenspack can be reached at 970-875-1795 or nwaggenspack@craigdailypress.com

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