Moffat County girls golf stays the course at home tourney

Andy Bockelman
For Craig Press
Moffat County's Taylor Powell tees off Tuesday from Yampa Valley Golf Course's fourth tee box. Moffat County players placed fourth in the home event, the Bulldog Invite. (Andy Bockelman / For Craig Press)

After getting a glimpse at the links around the Western Slope, the Moffat County High School girls team was more than happy to be on home turf this week.

MCHS hosted the Bulldog Invitational Tuesday at Yampa Valley Golf Course, with the hosting group earning fourth place among the five full teams.

Eagle Valley won the team totals with a 282, led by Kylee Hughes’ 76 at the top of the leaderboard, while the Lady Bulldogs’ lowest shooter and highest placer was sophomore Reagan Hafey, shooting a season-best 111 and placing 11th.

Though she had trouble starting from the back nine with a rough stretch on YVGC’s Holes 12 through 14, Hafey shot no higher than a double bogey on most holes, finding her groove on the more familiar front nine of the course.

For her, it came down to a certain level of comfort, part of which was familiarity with the layout of the course and anticipating the dog-legs and water hazards and more in the location.

“I like the idea of knowing where the hole is, that helps a lot,” she said.

She noted that the right grouping made things easier, as she spent the day alongside Eagle Valley’s Natalie Izbicki and Palisade’s Hailey Tuller.

“It helps a lot when you get put with a group of girls who are sweet and encouraging,” she said.

On another level, comfort came through attire. Though the dress code did not require it, Hafey was one of multiple players to wear a skirt with her team shirt.

“I just think it looks nicer and it definitely feels more comfortable” she said. “When it’s cold, we wear sweatpants and most times I wear shorts and a t-shirt at practice. I don’t know if it has too much to do with my swing that much.”

Taylor Powell followed with a 114 for 13th place. Though she did not need to record a 10 on any hole, she had a better run on the back nine, ending the tourney with a +1 on the ninth hole.

“That final hole, I feel like I did pretty well, even though I was tired. I’m pretty happy with my score,” Powell said. “The hardest part was just staying focused.”

The MoCo team was originally slated to play Monday at River Valley Ranch, but coach Tim Adams opted to not play given players’ busy schedules that day, knowing they’d be playing at home the next day anyway.

“They’re progressing, getting better every day,” he said. “Since I was running the tournament, I didn’t get to observe as much, but from what I saw they were doing well.”

While most varsity groupings consisted of three or four girls — a handful of JV players from other teams engaged in a scramble format rather than stroke play — MCHS teammates Madason Laman and Mia Cheuvront were the only duo, finishing up the day quicker than most.

Laman tied for 23rd at 129 in her first event for the team, while Cheuvront ended the day with a 133 scorecard, ranked 26th in the field of 29.

“Mia and Madason were very positive about their round, and they were playing a lot better,” Adams said.

Laman had the best single hole of any MoCo player, notching a birdie on the Par 3 Hole 16, on which Cheuvront broke even.

“Mia has really come along. For someone who’s barely played any golf, she’s really enjoying it,” Adams said. “The few times I was able to watch Madason, she had a really nice approach on 5, she hit it about 10 feet from the pin.”

Some of the YVGC fairways and greens were displaying patchy conditions, a feature Hafey and Powell said they had to learn to work around during the day.

Powell said she put more strength behind her putts to compensate.

“I hit harder more than I do lighter,” she said. “If you overdo it, at least you still have a chance after that.”

Madason Laman (left) and Mia Cheuvront pose following the completion of a hole Wednesday at Yampa Valley Golf Course. (Andy Bockelman / For Craig Press)

Adams has been emphatic about the importance of the short game to players.

“We’ve been working a lot on our putting lately, that’s been our emphasis,” he said. “Greens in regulation, that’s 36 putts, and on a Par 72, that’s half your strokes. I always tell them, you can make up for a not-so-great tee shot and a not-so-great second shot if you’re confident around the greens.”

MCHS girls will next compete May 24 at Gunnison’s Dos Rios Golf Club, as well as the JV championships at Grand Junction’s Chipeta on May 28.

Adams also is working toward another varsity tournament at Junction’s Tiara Rado in early June before the 3A Region 4 tourney at Alamosa’s Cattails Golf Club, hosted by Monte Vista on June 10.

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