Lower scores, higher goals: Moffat County golfers seek return to state
For the Craig Press
It was a rare occasion in 2021 when the Moffat County High School girls golf squad was able to post a full team score during tournaments.
Nevertheless, the small but mighty group sent the most athletes it’s had in years to the highest level of competition, and they’re aiming to do it again.
MCHS golfers are getting back into the swing of things this week as the Bulldogs prepare for the season ahead.
After taking over the girls program last season, Tim Adams is excited to see an increase in players. While last year saw no more than four girls at any given time representing Moffat County, Adams already has seven on the team.
Two of his returning players made it to the 2021 3A State Championships. After placing sixth and 19th, respectively, at the 3A Region 4 Tournament, Reagan Hafey and Taylor Powell moved up to state competition.
Hafey tied for 34th in the field of 84 with a two-day score of 203, while Powell tied at No. 50 with a final score of 211.
Hafey, now a junior, is seeking to return to the way she was shooting last June, perhaps even better.
“I’m going to try and focus on the little things this year,” Hafey said. “Putting especially, cutting down a lot of those strokes that way. I’m hoping to do about the same as last year.”
She added that she’s pleased with the greater turnout.
“It’s good to see new girls come out and put their best effort in,” Hafey said. “Golf is great and getting it built up more in the school and making it more of a known thing will be great for kids here and encouraging them to come out for it.”
Fellow junior Aftyn Kawcak is back in the program after going out for the team as a freshman — a season that offered one early tournament before the COVID-19 pandemic shut down all spring sports — and opting against playing as a sophomore since the season would go well past the end of the school year.
“I just had a lot of things going on in the summer. It was a busy time and I knew I couldn’t fully commit,” Kawcak said.
Besides being on staff at the Yampa Valley Golf Course pro shop, Kawcak said she was raised in the sport.
“I’ve golfed forever, so I know how to hit the ball. My parents played a lot and I was always there,” she said. “I’m just working on everything all around and trying to improve.”
Course conditions at YVGC haven’t allowed the team to use their facilities, which is a considerable change from last season, which started in late April.
“Last year, it was normal golf, and we could practice every day out on the course. This year, for the first month or so, we’ll have to practice wherever we can find some grass,” Adams said. “We did some conditioning before spring break, but this is really our big start.”
Golfers were working on their driving Monday afternoon on the MoCo soccer field, an upgrade from what some of them were expecting.
“I would much rather be on the course, but we’ve got to work with what we’ve got. I was happy we’ve been able to be outside instead of just inside hitting into nets,” Hafey said.
Adams said he hopes to host a tournament this summer to raise money for a golf simulator to help keep practices consistent.
For now, the girls team will play when and where they can, with their first event scheduled for March 29 at Gypsum Creek, followed by dual tourneys the next week in Montrose.
With no seniors on the team, Adams added that he’s eager to get his novice players involved in lower-level competition as they continue to grow.
“The first few tournaments, you can enter some of the girls in a scramble, so that might be what we do since stroke play can be kind of intimidating,” he said. “Since they can’t practice half the year anyway, that way they have some fun and there’s not that pressure on them.”
Though she’s only briefly had him as a coach, Kawcak said she appreciates Adams’ style.
“He’s super understanding and just wants to help everyone,” she said. “I like that it’s easy-going and you can kind of just hang out with your team. It’s competitive, but it’s a lot more enjoyable than other sports in that way.”
Adams said he intends to make the season a pleasant and productive one for newer players, emphasizing daily improvement and goals as they gain fundamental skills.
“I just want them to enjoy the game, learn the game and want to continue playing it,” he said.
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