Moffat County golfers show great drive to start season

The Moffat County boys golf team convenes on the patio at Yampa Valley Golf Course after practice. Pictured are, back row, from left, Aron Jennings, Lance Brackett, Brant Gutierrez, Gavin Barrett, Andrew Duran, Jayden Evenson, front row, Davian Marsh, Jack Swenson and Kolten Vasquez.
Andy Bockelman/Craig Press

As most fall sports seasons get underway for Moffat County, the Bulldogs boys golf team has already seen plenty of action.

If the rest of the team’s events are as noteworthy as their early rounds, low scores and high expectations are in store for Moffat County this fall.

The boys golf team is several weeks into its season with coach Tim Adams seeing some of the best results he’s seen since taking over the program.

From the start, the group has been showing the progress they’ve made in the offseason, and the Cedaredge Invitational on Aug. 5 was a great example.

While Basalt won the tournament with three players shooting a 76, MoCo junior Aron Jennings was right among the Longhorns in a four-way tie for plus-4 on the par 72 course.

Though he lost a playoff round for the tournament title, Jennings said the contest helped him get focused. While he’s been hitting the links at Yampa Valley Golf Course this summer, he also spent part of the previous winter in Louisiana and was able to keep up in the sport.

Placing ninth as a group among 15 teams, senior Lance Brackett shot 91 in Cedaredge to tie for 22nd, while sophomores Jayden Evenson and Andrew Duran recorded scores of 112 and 126, respectively.

“Cedaredge is a lot different than our course: The greens are a lot different speeds, it was all hilly and the fairways were about 50 feet wide,” Duran said. “My putting and chipping have been better, but I think I’m having trouble with my driver and irons.”

Moffat County’s scores from the Aug. 9 Bears Classic hosted by Rifle had the Bulldogs in fourth place in the smaller field with Jennings right behind three Steamboat Springs competitors at 80 strokes. Evenson brought his score down to 104, Brackett shot 105, Duran 115 and freshman Kolten Vasquez 139 in his first tourney.

A week later at Carbondale’s River Valley Ranch, Jennings recorded an 83 while Brackett had a drastic improvement to shoot an 87, as the group tied for fifth of 12 teams.

Jennings said he and Brackett have been working together to help each other improve this season.

“If I’m messing up on something, he can see it better than I can since I can’t see my own swing,” Jennings said.

At an event in Delta at Devil’s Thumb last week, the Bulldogs saw a phenomenal team total. Jennings took second with a 73 — one stroke over par. His scorecard recorded nine pars and four birdies, including one on the par 5 18th hole.

“My iron play has been really good lately, and I was just making my putts,” Jennings said. “Actually, I feel like I still could have played better. My best round in Craig is a 68, so I really want to get an under-par round in a tournament.”

Brackett had a shaky front nine in Delta with a 47, but his performance was smooth on the latter half, with a 39 and a birdie on No. 18 to place 13th at 86. Meanwhile, Evenson tied for 38th as he brought his season best into double digits with a 99 to help the team take third at 258, just edging out Telluride’s 259.

“Jayden has been making some definite improvements,” Adams said. “He just needed a little more confidence last year, but he’s been working really hard out here all summer. They all have.”

The team rounded out this week at the Montrose Red Hawks tournament Thursday at Cobble Creek, tying up for 12th as a group. Jennings again notched a 73, Brackett brought his total down to 84, while Evenson shot 105 and Vasquez 129.

Upcoming events at Grand Junction, Gunnison and Vail will be good tests for the group, Adams said, as will the home event Sept. 12 at Yampa Valley Golf Course and the same week’s tourney at Rollingstone Ranch in Steamboat.

For Jennings, the lone state competitor from last season, the goal is a return to that level and to savor a true victory.

“I want to get a solo win — no playoff or anything like that,” he said.

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