Moffat County golfer Aron Jennings shoots 160 across 2 days at state to close season
If there’s a mark of a good golfer, it’s knowing where they can improve their game and always demanding more of themselves.
In his final tournament this autumn, Moffat County’s Aron Jennings showed he could turn things around quickly and proved that next year will be even more memorable.
Jennings shot a 160 two-day total Monday and Tuesday at the 3A CHSAA State Championships at Denver’s Pinehurst Country Club.
The Bulldog junior tied for 37th in the field of 84, in which Vail Mountain narrowly earned the team title and Montezuma Cortez senior Thayer Plewe shot a staggering 64 on his second day on the Par 70 course to achieve first place individually.
The final total Tuesday was an improvement for Jennings in his second state tourney, scoring 168 and tying for 50th as a sophomore.
He started the event with an 80 on the first day, beginning with Hole 13. Jennings ran into trouble quickly with triple bogeys on both 17 and 18 following a birdie on the par 5 Hole 16.
“After those two in a row, it kind of got in my head,” Jennings said. “On 17, that was uphill, I was short and had to chip it twice. After that, I was chipping short the rest of that round.”
The front nine went OK with nothing higher than a +1, and he finished the round with a birdie on 12.
Still, Jennings knew he could do better.
“I just had bad mentals, didn’t even play bad, but I expected to do better,” he said of his opening round.
MCHS coach Tim Adams said Jennings frequently had to redeem himself on the greens.
“He was a little bit off with his driver and would get himself in tough spots off the tee and had to make some good putts to salvage a hole,” Adams said. “They had some pretty tough pin placements both days, and he would compound that with a bad shot. The round kind of went south after that.”
For Day 2, Jennings teed off on Hole 1 this time, and apart from a triple on Hole 6, he had a better go on the front with a 41. As for the back nine, he cut three strokes from the previous day, including breaking even on the same two holes where he blew up previously.
With a +2 for the back, he ended the second day with a 78, coming back down to the numbers he was recording earlier in the season.
Adams pointed out that while Pinehurst only has two Par 5 holes on its 18-hole Maxwell Course — also featuring a smaller nine-hole course on the country club grounds — it was no less challenging.
“I thought it was a fair test. Personally one of the nicest I’ve ever been to. They had the biggest practice green I’ve ever seen,” he said. “What a privilege for kids to get to play on something like that.”
With some excellent results throughout this fall — shooting as low as 73 back in August — Jennings is already looking forward to his senior season next year, both for his own progress and those of his teammates.
“We had a great team this year, a lot of support,” he said. “There was a bunch of freshmen, and guys like Kolten Vasquez, he started in the 150s and brought it all the way to 110s-ish by the end of the year. It was a lot of good team chemistry. I’m hoping to practice really hard over the winter and come back even better.”
He added he will work on his driving especially, feeling more confident in his short game.
“My wedges have been the strong point of my entire game. If I have a wedge in my hands and I’m within 130 yards, most of the time I’m putting on the green pretty close,” he said.
As the lowest shooting athlete he’s overseen since coaching MoCo golf, Adams said he expects Jennings will only improve from here.
“The biggest thing Aron needs to work on is handling his emotions, and I think that’ll come with maturity. A lot of kids struggle with this; they let one bad hole become a bad round,” Adams said. “He did a much better job of that (Tuesday) since he tripled one hole and then turned around and parred the next one. That’s a sign he’s learning how to manage those things. He knows the secret.”
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