Moffat County golfers tee up at home, aim for multiple state qualifiers
The Moffat County boys golf team took to the links they’re most familiar with on Monday, Sept. 12, with big expectations.
The golf season is in its final weeks, and the Bulldogs are already preparing for the Class 3A Region 4 Tournament on Tuesday, Sept. 20, at Carbondale’s River Valley Ranch.
Hosting the Bulldog Open on Monday at Yampa Valley Golf Course, MCHS tied for sixth among 12 teams, including 3A and 4A schools.
Basalt won the tournament with a 223 team score, led by Longhorns Garrett Exelbert and Jackson Stewart, who both shot an even 72 to tie for the individual victory.
Bulldog sophomore Aron Jennings was paired with Exelbert and tied for fourth on the leaderboard at 75. At plus-one on the front nine, Jennings’ total saw a little shakeup on the back nine with a birdie on the par-five No. 15 hole to help to counter his bogeys on Nos. 10 and 18.
Jennings’ scores this season have been as low as 73, as he is aiming for another entry into the state tourney. He wasn’t disappointed with his performance at home Monday, but he also wasn’t completely satisfied with it either.
“That kid Garrett was really good,” Jennings said. “I was hitting my wedges really good besides the very last hole, and I hit my driver fine, but I could have done better.”
After tying Jennings with an 82 at the Vail Golf Club a week earlier, senior Lance Brackett was hoping to stay in the low 80s, perhaps even break into the 70s at home. His highlight for the day was a well-played approach to the 16th hole, but bogies on the front nine put him at 89 for the day.
“Lance was obviously disappointed, but he’ll bounce back because he really is a good player,” said MCHS coach Tim Adams. “I think Aron was really pleased with his round. I think they tend to put too much pressure on themselves here. I see that every year — they just don’t play as well as they think they will.”
Jayden Evenson had his best round of the season after shooting a 93. The MoCo sophomore has steadily improved this year by getting into double digits and staying in the 90s for much of the fall. Still, he noticed a drop-off early.
“I went par, par, then just kind of fell apart going into the back nine,” said Evenson, who started the day on the No. 6 hole.
In addition to the four players he had in a JV scramble — Davian Marsh, Eli Gomez, Malykai Hampton, Trevor Odell — Adams had four first-year team members competing at the varsity level — Brant Gutierrez (120), Kolten Vasquez (122), Gavin Barrett (129) and Jack Swenson (136).
The boys golf team also had its final regular season tourney on Tuesday, Sept. 13, at Steamboat Springs’ Rollingstone Ranch and placed 12th of 14 teams, with an 85 for Jennings and a 90 for Brackett.
Vasquez played well in the contest, taking 15 strokes off his previous day’s tally at 103. Meanwhile, Evenson shot a 112 and Gutierrez finished at 131.
“Very tough,” Adams said of Rollingstone Ranch. “(It has) narrow fairways, lots of sand and slick greens.”
Jennings, Brackett and Evenson are set for regionals, with Adams still deciding who the fourth player on the team will be.
Adams is confident Jennings and Brackett have a strong chance to make it to state with steady play, and he said he wouldn’t be surprised if Evenson makes the cut as well.
“He’s playing well and has a great attitude,” Adams said. “He’s really working hard — they all are.”
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