Moffat County to send golfer Arianna Anderson to state event after home regional tourney

Moffat County's Arianna Anderson observes her drive from the 14th tee at Yampa Valley Golf Course during the 3A Region 4 Tournament on Monday.
Andy Bockelman/Craig Press

As the hosts of the 3A Region 4 Tournament, the Moffat County girls golf team was hoping to send all of its players to the state event. Due to unforeseen circumstances, the day on the links proved hard for some of the Bulldogs, yet there was still a net positive for the group.

Arianna Anderson will represent Moffat County at the 3A CHSAA State Championships on May 30-31 at Aspen Golf Club. Anderson, a home-school student in her junior year, shot a 98 to place 14th at Monday’s regional tourney at Yampa Valley Golf Course.

Though she had a few instances where she got as high as a plus-4, Anderson broke even on five holes and mostly had minor bogies. Knowing the layout of YVGC didn’t hurt in preparing for the regional event.

“There’s one particular hole I’ve been doing well on all week, No. 2,” she said. “I would try not to get into my head about it, but I parred it again anyway. There are holes I know I can do well on here, so that gets me in a better mood.”

Though there were a few puddles here and there, she added the temporary water hazards were not the impediment they could have been.

“There was a little water I wasn’t aware of that I hit into, but it was just one or two extra strokes,” she said. “Honestly, I like it because I find tadpoles and worms. That’s my favorite part of this.”

With YVGC’s trees in full bloom and occasional wildlife sightings, it was more like a nature walk than a golf tournament.

“All the flowers out here make me so happy,” Anderson said. “We saw a couple cranes and my parents wanted to take home a goose. I saw a red-winged blackbird that was beautiful.”

While Anderson’s score was one of the best she’s recorded this season, her teammates were not having the same luck.

Senior Reagan Hafey, a two-time state qualifier, recently incurred injuries to her back and ribs, but chose to play through the pain at YVGC. The dual aggravation affected her swing, and she finished with a 155.

“I know Reagan was really disappointed, but she showed a lot of class staying around,” MCHS coach Tim Adams said.

Fellow senior Aftyn Kawcak also struggled through the event, scoring 127.

Kawcak noted it’s been trickier to focus on the sport in the final days before graduation.

“I just had a lot going on and a bunch of things I had to figure out how to prioritize,” she said.

Though she would have preferred to have one more big tourney ahead of her, Hafey said she’s enjoyed her final season nonetheless.

“It was always fun, the whole season,” she said. “Tim made it fun for us and made sure we didn’t try and put too much stress on ourselves. I’ll probably take a little break to heal, but I’ll get out here again sometime.”

Kawcak added that Adams’ coaching always kept the game in perspective.

“He told us, ‘It’s just golf. It’s not anything to stress about,'” she said.

While some may take hosting a regional event as an automatic advantage, Adams said he believes the opposite may have been true given all that was happening for the Bulldogs.

“I think there’s a little more pressure being at home, and you tend to have more people here watching than normal,” he said. “I don’t think it’s that much of an advantage.”

MoCo golfers took eighth among the nine teams in Region 4 with a team score of 380.

Aspen sophomore Lenna Persson claimed the regional individual title with a 78, and the Skiers took the team championship with a 255 combined score. Berthoud was right behind at 256.

The top two groups qualify a whole team for the state event, with 21 total golfers attending the last stage of the season.

As opposed to the lengthy trips golfers have had to endure in recent years, Aspen is more reasonable travel as well as being a locale Anderson has already seen this spring.

She already knows where she’ll need to focus.

“Aspen’s putting greens are very, very fast, so I’ll be working on that and working on muscle memory and also taking breaks because I don’t want to overwork myself too much,” she said.

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