At the forefront: Moffat County boys golf takes on home turf in Bulldog Invite
The roster is smaller this year for the Moffat County High School boys golf team, but little by little, Bulldog duffers are making sure that’s not the only number that’s lowering.
MCHS hosted its home tournament Wednesday at Yampa Valley Golf Course, an event that saw Grand Junction’s Canon Olkowski win with a -1 total at 71 in a field of 76 total golfers from 13 schools, including Steamboat Springs, Rangely, Central, Grand Valley, Delta, Palisade, Gunnison, Basalt and Telluride.
The Tigers took second as a group at 229, outdone by Montrose’s 221, led by second-place finisher Jordan Jennings’ 74.
At 231, Fruita Monument ranked third as a team, as well as individually, Zack Nehm’s 75 the Wildcats’ best result.
As for the home team, MCHS’s Connor Etzler led the Dogs with an 84 stroke count.
The Bulldogs took eighth altogether, notching a group score of 272 that also included Torin Reed’s 89 and Tyler Burkett’s 99.
“Driving was fine, but on my irons I kind of struggled,” Reed noted of the day, which saw him right in the middle of last week’s results of an 84 and 94. “It was definitely more comfortable at home.”
Burkett on the other hand saw his score plunge to double digits, his best ever, which he said was helped along by a midday hiatus as golfers were called into the clubhouse temporarily due to possible lightning in the area.
“That delay really helped me, calmed me down,” he said, adding that he was thrilled to shoot par on the 18th hole, YVGC’s lengthiest.
The Bulldog group was also filled out by James DeWald, shooting 121, and Tanner Etzler at 125, both coming down significantly from scores in the 140s during the previous week.
At 143, Josh Townsend’s score raised from the 130 he hit at EagleVail, though he also learned to cope better when things weren’t going his way, getting focused following the lightning delay.
“It was just the front nine itself, it was pretty complicated,” he said.
Though a wave of rain hit the course right at the end of the tourney as players were completing their round, the weather was hardly a hindrance, said Moffat County coach Rod Compton.
“Seemed like everybody was having a good time, even those who were kind of hacking out there,” he said. “All the coaches, all the teams were very complimentary and very happy about being out here since the course was in good shape.”
With a majority of underclassmen playing this year, Compton said the team is still in the stages of figuring out where everyone fits “into the mix,” one of his freshmen, Jack Doane, also at a golf clinic in Florida, causing him to miss the home event.
“I’m still excited by it, I think our top two guys are going to continue to improve, and the freshmen are starting to step up,” he said.
MCHS followed up their home event Thursday, staying close to home and heading to Steamboat’s Haymaker Golf Course, where the Dogs compiled a 285. Reed brought his score down to 82, while Connor Etzler shot a 92, Burkett 111, DeWald 120 and Tanner Etzler 136.
The group will next hit Grand Junction’s Tiara Rado Aug. 29, which Compton expects to be a drastically different climate.
“I’m glad that one’s later in the season, so maybe it won’t be 100 degrees, but we’ll see,” he laughed.