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The sound of the cup

Mental game key for Smith in senior season

Jerry Raehal

— When Sean Smith prepares to play in a golf tournament, he goes through the same ritual.

The Moffat County High School senior stretches well and then works on his short putts before extending his game out.

By practicing his short game first, he’s looking for one thing. Actually, he’s listening for it – the sound of the ball sinking into the cup.

“The sound of the cup makes me feel more prepared,” he said.

And after what he termed “a choke season” last year, being mentally prepared is the theme for Smith entering his final season as a Bulldog golfer.

“I’m stronger mentally this year,” he said. “Last year is motivating me to play better and think better.”

Improving his mental game has meant physical work on the course, a feat he has accomplished virtually all summer and throughout his high school career.

In June, he went to a golf camp in South Carolina and has been at the Yampa Valley Golf Course almost every day this summer, attempting to perfect his craft.

“I’ve been practicing on every inch of my game,” he said. “I’ve probably dropped 30 strokes since my freshman year, and I’ve been playing a lot better this year.”

Smith will get a chance to see how much his game has improved when he and his teammates swing into action at 8 a.m. Monday for a contest in Grand Junction.

Coach Ken Harris said his team is currently small in numbers at 10 players, but his players know how to use a club. Smith is the team’s lone senior, and the coach is looking for a strong season from him.

“I think he’s got a good chance to do well,” he said. “He’s worked a lot on his game and he cares about it. … The Western Slope is tough, and he’s going to have to play well. But with his dedication, he’s got a shot” at going to state.

Smith thinks the same.

“I know a lot of the people out there (in the region) and what kind of games they have,” he said. “I know the courses. I’ve played them. So, I’m just trying to come out and have a good season and make it to state this last year.”

Jerry Raehal can be reached at 824-7031, ext. 204, or jraehal@craigdailypress.com.


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