After a break, golf teams shine in Junction

GRAND JUNCTION — You won’t find these tips in Golf Digest, but they work.

“How to cut strokes off your game by going fishing or calling your grandma,” by David Ledbetter?

Nope.

After a breakneck four tournaments in four days last week, the four local high school golf teams got the weekend off to recoup, and it showed in tournaments Monday at Bookcliff and Tuesday at Redlands Mesa.

Vail Mountain School senior Harrison Alonzo spent the weekend fishing with his family. The result? A 73 Monday at Bookcliff, which tied him for third, and a 77 at Redlands Mesa, another top-10 finish.

After Lakota Canyon, Eagle-Vail, Gypsum Creek and Rifle four days in row, Alonzo and almost everyone else from Eagle County needed a break.

“I was tired,” he said. “I was having trouble finding it when I lost it, if you know what I mean. I took a fishing trip with my family and fished like eight hours each day, just completely relaxed my mind. It really helps.”

Vail Christian’s Parker Poage got on the phone with his grandmother, for what he called her “words of wisdom.” That conversation happened after a brutal 96 last Tuesday at Eagle-Vail.

“Well, after that, I call my grandmother every week for her words of wisdom,” Poage said. “She said, ‘Try your hardest and leave the rest to God.’ I went out with the mentality of trying my hardest and letting everything else fall into place.”

Hank Haney, met Valeta Poage. Parker Poage had a 79 at Gypsum Creek Wednesday and was down to 76 Tuesday at Redlands Mesa.

For what it’s worth, Saints coach Chis Coleman said that the Saints won’t be doing the four-day stretch next year. Too much is too much. That said, Alonzo will go fishing before the next tournament at Vail on Sept. 3 and Poage is dialing up grandma. (If it works, it works, people.)

Overall, the Saints looked quite refreshed Tuesday. Poage’s teammates, Cooper Gould (76) and Tony Clark (81), were in fine form.

“It was a tough week,” Coleman said of the four-in-four. “We were a bit beat down. But this team has a new maturity level. Call it mental fortitude or a confidence. They’ve really matured.”

Same goes for VMS. Oliver Pesso went 85-86 Monday and Tuesday, while freshman Dylan Hardenbergh posted a 90-89 during those two days.

And if it’s Battle Mountain, it’s got to be a hole-in-one. The Huskies struck with an ace for the second time this season. This time it was Mitch Lee with an ace on No. 12 at Redlands Mesa. Poage, who was in the same group, said Lee told him it was a pitching wedge. (The he-said, he-said back-and-forth is important. Lee told Poage. Had Poage asked Lee, that’s a penalty in stroke play.)

“That was one of the coolest things I’ve ever seen,” Poage said.

While Battle Mountain played both Monday and Tuesday, Redlands Mesa was the better day for the Huskies. Taylor Peel was in the 70s, ho-hum, again (77). With the ace, Lee had a high-school best 77, while Michael Thompson logged an 88.

Eagle Valley was at Bookcliff Monday and tied the Huskies with 252 strokes. Kyatt Johnson shot an 81 and was flirting with his first round in the 70s before it caught up with him. (This happens to just about everyone when attempting to break the 100-90-80 barriers for the first time.) Tanner Caldarado punched in at 84, while Justin Hollis carded an 87.

“It’s building-block kind of year for Eagle Valley,” Devils coach Tom Buzbee said. “I really like watching these kids make progress.”

Sports Editor Chris Freud can be reached at 970-748-2934 or via cfreud@vaildaily.com.


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The VailDaily Updated Aug 23, 2013 10:32PM Published Aug 21, 2013 05:41PM Copyright 2013 The VailDaily. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.