Chris Kling (in white) hits at the driving range at Yampa Valley Golf Course Tuesday morning. Kling and the Bulldogs have posted team scores of 270 in three of four tournaments so far. They now have their longest break of the season to practice before heading to Devils Thumb Golf Course in Delta Aug. 28.

Photo by Nate Waggenspack

Chris Kling (in white) hits at the driving range at Yampa Valley Golf Course Tuesday morning. Kling and the Bulldogs have posted team scores of 270 in three of four tournaments so far. They now have their longest break of the season to practice before heading to Devils Thumb Golf Course in Delta Aug. 28.

Moffat County boys want to work on short game

Results from Bookcliff tournament

Mike Bingham 87

Casey Nations 89

Tyler Jenkins 94

Chris Kling 96

Taft Cleverly 98

The Moffat County boys golf team finally has time to breathe after a busy week of golfing and now will try to take the next step toward becoming a 3A regional contender.

Moffat County played four tournaments in a six-day stretch, playing three days in a row last week and finishing up Monday at Bookcliff Golf Course in Grand Junction.

During that time, each golfer showcased some inconsistency, but as a team, a more consistent performance would have been tough to produce. Through four tournaments, the Bulldogs have turned in a team score of 270 three times (the other was 277). The ability to post those middling scores consistently is a positive start, but it also leaves them with strokes they need to drop by season’s end.

“The golf season is so compact that you kind of have to hit the tournaments heavy early on,” said head coach Casey Kilpatrick. “It gives you a good idea of what others are scoring and lets you start seeing what you need to work on. For us, it’s been mostly putting.”

Kilpatrick thinks shoring up his team’s play on and around the greens is the biggest key to taking a step forward. It played a major role in the Bulldogs’ score getting to 270 Monday.

“After the round, I looked at all the three-putts we had in that round, and as a team, we had 30 of them,” he said. “If we cut that number in half, we’re looking at a 255 instead of 270, and that’s a big difference. We also need to chip a bit better to make some of those putts easier.”

But the run of 270s doesn’t tell the whole story. Only the top three players contribute to the score, and Moffat County has gotten a scoring performance from all five of its varsity golfers this season. Monday was the first time all five posted scores under 100, marking a positive step for the team.

Chris Kling has been among the most improved Bulldogs in the young season. His 96 at Bookcliff was his lowest round of the season and 15 strokes better than he played Thursday in Rifle.

“I’ve worked a lot on my consistency, so I don’t blow up on one or two holes and kill my round,” Kling said.

Playing four times in six days, the Bulldogs didn’t have much time to correct their mistakes or practice in between, but Kling said he worked on chipping at home when he had time, and it paid off.

Senior Taft Cleverly has led Moffat County in scoring this season and also finished outside the top three, making him a small microcosm of the team’s season in terms of consistency. But he thinks there is plenty to be excited about going forward.

“That’s kind of how golf is,” Cleverly said. “It knocks you down sometimes, but you always just have to be looking at the next shot. We haven’t been consistent yet, but everybody has shown they can do some good things. If we have a tournament where we do about our best, we’ll be right there.”

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

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