Small group, big aims: Moffat County girls golf back in action
For the Craig Press
Though the roster is entirely different from past seasons, a bundle of young talent offers plenty of potential for the Moffat County High School girls golf team.
Lady Bulldog golf got swinging early compared to most of the Season D teams, with boys coach Tim Adams stepping in to coach, replacing Joe Padon.
“In the middle of the boys season was when they asked me about doing it,” Adams said.
Adams noted that several players from recent seasons opted to play other sports this spring, though he has an enthusiastic squad of four.
“They’re really young. Most of them haven’t played a ton of golf yet. I think the biggest thing is they’re still learning the game, so you want it to be fun for them,” he said.
Adams began with just three: freshmen Taylor Powell and Mia Cheuvront and sophomore Reagan Hafey.
Just this week, he added his fourth: junior Madason Laman.
Laman is originally from Craig, but in recent years competed in the sport in Saratoga, Wyoming and with fellow Western Slope school Cedaredge before moving back to Craig with her family.
“I’m so excited to golf again because I haven’t done it in a hot minute. COVID shut the course down in Saratoga, and I usually do it in the summer with my dad,” she said.
Getting back in the game was a little tricky due to her job schedule and an unexpected thumb injury.
“It’s a little hard because I can’t technically bend it very much, and my glove doesn’t fit because of the big, huge bandage on my thumb. I had to figure out how to nuzzle it and not put as much pressure on it,” she said of her grip. “My old coach actually bought me my first glove. I wear rings on my fingers, and it feels weird when I take them off, but when I take them off my swing is off because I’m so used to them.”
Though she has yet to play a tournament as a Bulldog, Laman had a particularly good round in Rifle while competing for Cedaredge, shooting in the high 90s.
“My coach was really excited and I was happy with it,” she said.
Hafey is also a Northwest Colorado native who recently transferred back to Moffat County from North Dakota. With more experience in softball and volleyball, she noted that she had played golf with her grandfather Steve and wanted to return to the sport, though she’s had some trouble finding her swing.
“I’m struggling a lot with my tee-offs and my driver, so I’m trying to correct that with my hips,” she said.
The girls golf season so far has offered multiple formats for teams, some with a scramble format and others more traditional stroke play. While the Eagle Valley Invitational didn’t go well for any of the players, Hafey turned things around well as the only member of the team to play in May 3’s Vail Mountain Invite at Eagle Ranch Golf Course, notching a 116 and placing 19th out of 30.
“The first tournament I played as an individual I did well, but then I kind of took a couple steps back. So my goal is to improve and just focus on the little things, not necessarily the end result, but fixing what I need to work on personally.”
The team played back-to-back Grand Junction area events this week, Monday at the Tiger Invite at Bookcliff Country Club, followed by Tuesday’s Wildcat Invite.
“They’re all really beautiful courses, and it was fun to get out and see them all,” Hafey said. “They’re very open and not a lot of trees, so that’s nice.”
Powell led at Bookcliff with a 109, tying for 30th, with Hafey shooting 125 and Cheuvront 155.
The next day Powell brought her numbers down to 106 to tie for 19th, while Hafey shot 127 and Cheuvront 143.
“I was feeling in a really good mood that day,” Powell said of her second round, where she was feeling more confident.
Powell said she opted to play the sport after getting an early start in the sport.
“I played golf when I was little, so I’m a little more experienced in it than I am in any other sport. Golf just kind of stood out, I guess,” she said.
With numerous events in the past two weeks, MCHS will host its Bulldog Invitational May 18 at Yampa Valley Golf Course
“It’s been a lot of golf in the past two weeks. We have our tournament, then we go to Gunnison, Chipeta and regionals,” Adams said. “We might also try to do a match-play with Meeker and Steamboat as an unofficial event.”
With the group prepping for their home tourney, Powell said she felt comfortable on the front nine if not as much on the back.
“I’ll probably be focused on staying on the fairways and making good putts, simple things like that,” she said.
Powell noted that Adams has been a good coach so far.
“He’s helpful with explaining things about the swing,” she said.
Hafey echoed those sentiments.
“He’s a very encouraging and positive person when you start to get down on yourself. He lets us know it’s not all about the score,” she said. “When he gives you feedback, it’s more constructive criticism, and I appreciate that.”
Adams said he’s been glad to be able to be part of the experience for players, and while he hopes to bolster the roster through junior golf sessions at YVGC, he’s happy to work with the small group he has.
“They’re an enjoyable group, and it’s been fun working with them. They all work hard and really want to learn the game,” he said.
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