Moffat County golfers see improvement in Bulldog tourney, anticipate regionals at home
The Moffat County girls golf team has gotten increasingly familiar with the grounds at Yampa Valley Golf Course in recent weeks, and that will benefit them greatly later this month.
The Lady Bulldog Invitational teed off Monday morning with seven area schools hitting the links at YVGC.
With Steamboat Springs winning the group results with a 248 team score — led by individual champ for the day Kaitlyn Grommeck’s 76 — the hosting team stayed competitive with a 321 for sixth place.
Senior Reagan Hafey also took No. 6 on the leaderboard with an 86.
The Bulldogs had senior Aftyn Kawcak and junior Arianna Anderson in the varsity stroke play event with scores of 115 and 120, respectively. Kawcak tied for 20th place and Anderson ranked 26th.
Additionally, junior Valerie Teeter played in the JV scramble alongside a group of Meeker golfers, and two golfers out of Moffat County’s roster of six were unable to compete in the home event.
While not everyone had their best outing, it was the best score yet for Hafey, who shot a 42 on YVGC’s front nine and 44 on the back. She said the even play was helped along by seeing more practice time with Yampa Valley’s facilities opening up more toward the end of April.
“I think I golfed pretty fair on both of them,” she said. “This whole week we were able to come out here and work on things, and we’re finally starting to get back into the groove.”
Kawcak said she’s been needing to work on her stance, and a lot of her shots showed.
“I was hitting left all day and found myself in the trees quite a bit. I need to work on my alignment a bit,” she said.
Even so, she was pleased with her performance with irons and the short game.
“I did pretty good on chipping today,” she said. “The greens weren’t too fast since they were dry.”
Having shot as low as the high 90s this season, Anderson said she’s looking to get back to something like that. Though she’s played the sport since age 10, this is the first year she’s been competing regularly.
“It’s tougher playing with other people because I tend to do better by myself, but it’s more fun than I expected,” she said. “I’m not nearly as nervous as I used to be.”
Anderson added that her group for the day included helpful competitors from Rifle and Meeker.
“I played with one of those girls in two other tournaments, and the other I just met,” she said. “They helped me figure out ranges and what clubs to hit and offered me some support and encouragement.”
Bulldog golfers will see back-to-back tourneys in Montrose this week, as well as events in Gunnison and Aspen next week, possibly with another late addition to the schedule.
With the 3A state rounds taking place at Aspen at the end of the month, MoCo players recently learned their home course will also be hosting the 3A Region 4 event that will serve as the state qualifier.
Coach Tim Adams said CHSAA shifted the event to Craig after other plans changed.
The regional event will take place May 22 and will include several of the teams that played at YVGC this week. Hafey expects the site will serve as a welcoming course for players who have never competed in Northwest Colorado.
“It’s a pretty fair course for something like a girls regional; there’s some water, there’s some sand, but it’s not a hard course to walk, which is nice for kids,” she said.
Hafey placed third in last year’s regional tourney and has twice qualified for state, so shooting at the course she knows better than most will be an advantage.
She spent the home event analyzing the locations of YVGC she needed to improve upon as well as her mechanics.
“Hole three gives me a little trouble — that one’s a really sharp dogleg,” she said. “Eight is also hard for me with all the trees. I think I get in a hurry a lot when I’m swinging, so that was my main focus today to take my time and not necessarily worrying about how hard I’m swinging — just keeping it nice and even. That’s what I’ll be working on up until regionals.”
For Kawcak, she’ll be working on her approach on the longer and shorter holes.
“I need to work on the par-fives a little bit, get my drives to go a little bit farther,” she said. “Sometimes the threes are hard too because you don’t know what club to use, and you don’t want under or overshoot it.”
For Anderson, the aim for the near future is working with her driver.
“I’m excited the driving range is open again because I want to practice that,” she said. “I need to get that muscle memory.”
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