Moffat County qualifies 2 for state golf championships | CraigDailyPress.com

Moffat County qualifies 2 for state golf championships

Moffat County High School's Tanner Etzler takes a lengthy putt during the 3A Region 4 Tournament at Aspen Golf Club.
Austin Colbert/The Aspen Times

In 2018, the Moffat County High School boys golf team saw their first state qualifier in several years.

This fall, the results from regionals were twice as nice.

MCHS qualified not one but two players for the next round Wednesday as David Andujo and Tanner Etzler each notched a state-worthy score during the 3A Region 4 Tournament at Aspen Golf Club.

Andujo and Etzler each shot a 91 on the links to tie with Gunnison’s Griffin Pederson for 14th, all securing a spot at the 3A state event.

“This was a really hard course, so we had a really good day,” said coach Tim Adams. “It doesn’t look that tricky, but it’s deceptive. Greens are fast, pretty undulating, but our guys did what they had to do to qualify.”

Adams added that though both players had their difficulties, neither had a “blow-up hole” with a 9 or 10.

Scores across the board were higher than expected on the Par 71 locale, with the lowest a +2 by Montezuma Cortez’s Blake Keetch. Regional favorites and hosts Aspen finished second in the team totals behind Montezuma, with the Panther roster totaling 236.

The +20 was a higher total than Andujo would have preferred, after keeping his strokes to the mid-80s for most of the season and shooting as low as a 74 this summer during Yampa Valley Golf Course’s Cottonwood Classic.

Still, he was pretty pleased with the outcome.

“My putting was pretty good, and my first five holes I was doing great and started struggling from there,” he said. “Clear skies, about 70 degrees, nice and warm. The course has a lot of trees, but the fairways are pretty open.”

Andujo had two birdies and broke even on several holes, though his biggest struggle came on Aspen’s Hole 11, four strokes over the Par 4.

“I hit a bad tee shot, and three-putted on the green, too,” he said.

Etzler’s usual results have been in the 90s this season, and the Wednesday round he felt was one of his better ones despite a shaky start on his first two holes, shooting a 7 on the first.

“It was a tough course, and I went out of bounds a couple times, but other than that, I did pretty good,” he said. “My putting was really coming along and my mental game was pretty good. It’s a lot better than what I’ve been shooting.”

First-year player Hayden Short struggled on the course, ending with a 158, with the Bulldogs 14th of 15 teams.

“He still had a good time shooting with the team,” Adams said of Short.

The group was without Tyler Burkett, who fell ill Tuesday and was unable to travel for the practice round or the tourney.

Adams said Burkett’s recent level of play would have put him in line with his teammates, had he been able to compete.

“I’m sure he’s really disappointed with that,” Adams said.

Andujo and Etzler will have more than a week of practice time coming up for the 3A State Championships, a two-day event Oct. 7 and 8 at the US Air Force Academy’s Eisenhower Golf Course in Colorado Springs.