Moffat County boys golf team shows strong results to start fall season
For the Craig Press
The Bulldog boys have already teed themselves up for a promising golf season, and it’s only week one.
Moffat County High School athletes showed their drive in the sport this week with a pair of tournaments in Montrose.
Coming out swinging
MCHS boys, who began official practices a week earlier than any other fall team, on Aug. 2, finished 12th of 16 teams Wednesday during the Montrose Invitational at Black Canyon Golf Club.
Sophomore Aron Jennings set a new mark for the year with a 74 on the Par 70 course, during which he compiled a 38 on the front nine before breaking even on the back with a 36 that included three pars, three bogeys and three birdies.
Jennings finished third in a field of 79 golfers, only one stroke out of tying for second place and only five above Montrose’s Noah Richmond, whose 69 tally won the day.
Jennings initially competed for the Bulldogs last season before relocating with his family, though he is now back in Craig to shoot for Moffat County.
“I haven’t stopped playing all summer,” he said.
Dave Andujo, the Bulldogs’ lone senior this fall, shot an 86 to tie for 43rd amid a tight field in which the majority of players were taking high 70s and low 80s on their scorecards.
Andujo shot a 41 on the front, but his struggle came on the back nine with a +3 on the 11th hole and a +4 on the 17th.
“One was because of putting and the other was the tee shot,” he said.
Andujo said he had little opportunity to golf this summer between a job and family activities, though now he’s feeling more assured of himself with the initial event under his belt.
“I’m hoping that now that I’ve got that first one out of the way I can remember how to swing a golf club,” he said. “I wanna try to average in the 70s.”
MoCo coach Tim Adams noted Black Canyon worked well as a season opener, thanks to a layout that was friendly to MCHS golfers.
“It was a lot like our course, especially the front nine, that park-style with trees,” Adams said. “The back nine was also kind of reminiscent of ours, a lot of open-faced greens. It was a course they were really comfortable on, for sure.”
Junior Lance Brackett notched a 98 to tie for 62nd in his first tournament with the team.
“That’s great for your first tournament to break 100, just fantastic,” Adams said.
Also playing for the first time at the high school level were freshmen Wyatt Tucker and Andrew Duran, taking scores of 125 and 140, respectively.
“It was a great experience for them, maybe only their second time playing 18 holes. We played 18 on Monday to see who was going to go,” Adams said. “It’s a real learning experience, since you’re playing with kids you’ve never met before.”
Cobbling together success
MCHS continued a two-day road trip with a visit to Montrose’s Cobble Creek on Thursday for the latter half of the Montrose Invite, itself a separate event, which Adams cautioned athletes ahead of time would likely be more challenging.
“We drove out to Cobble Creek after we were done,” Adams said Wednesday. “It’s a tougher course, links-style, a lot of sand traps and water.”
The latter half of the trip was indeed more of a battle for all the Bulldogs, with Andujo the only MCHS player to stay in double digits. In a three-way tie for 65th place, he recorded a 96 with several steady stretches interrupted by some heavy bogeys.
Jennings had a much different day on the other Montrose course, finishing with a 101, with Brackett right behind him at 102 to give the group a team total of 299 to rank 16th of 18 teams.
For the freshmen, Duran was able to cut three strokes off his earlier score to make it 137, while Tucker had more trouble with a 143.
The greater difficulty at Cobble Creek proved at least partly due to the short game, which Adams routinely emphasizes to golfers.
“The greens there are a little more undulating,” he said. “They’re real slopey. You’re not climbing any hills, but you’re coming down a lot.”
Adams added that putting will be as crucial a factor as ever, given how much greens conditions can vary from course to course and thus harder to practice for in advance.
“You can go to the practice green, but I don’t feel like that necessarily prepares you for it,” he said. “Until you get out there and play a few holes, you don’t really know what the pace is.”
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Back in classes and back in competition, the wintertime athletes of Moffat County High School are making up time from the holiday hiatus.