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Devils golf ready to defend title

Then, there’s the Eagle Valley girls golf team, which wants it to howl all day long come Tuesday’s 4A Regional Golf Tournament at Cotton Ranch, the Devils’ home 18.

“The wind’s been blowing hard the last few days here,” junior Charly Hoehn said. “We want it to be like that on Tuesday. It works to our advantage. We practice in it all the time. Some of the other girls we play against hardly see wind like this.”

Cotton Ranch is a stern test of golf on any day and when the wind kicks up that makes the course’s mesa holes – Nos. 4-8 – all the harder. Cotton Ranch head pro Sean Riley predicts some interesting action up there Tuesday.

“I see the key holes as six (par-5, 460 yards from the ladies tees) and seven (par-4, 241 yards) on top of the mesa,” he said. “Those are always tough holes so expect them to come into play.”

The general theory at Cotton Ranch is to hang on through the front nine and try to make hay after the turn coming home. Big numbers are a distinct possibility on the mesa, starting with No. 4, which seems innocent on the scorecard until the golfer sees the uphill trek ahead.

The aforementioned sixth is the No. 1-handicapped hole on the course with good reason. Par is pretty much as good as a birdie there. The mesa ends with the drop-shot eighth, which is one of Cotton Ranch’s more memorable holes. The catch here is that the wind will blow your ball all over the place as it makes its descent down to the green. No. 9, a long par-4, finishes the front.

After Nos. 10 and 11, which often play into the wind, scoring opportunities start to appear.

“Holes 13-16 are where you really have to take advantage,” Hoehn said.

That stretch includes two reachable par-5’s in 13 (452 yards) and 16 (415 yards), both of which usually play downwind. The home hole will be decision time for the field as the competitors will try to cross Gypsum Creek in two strokes to a tough green for a finishing birdie or par.

Eagle Valley’s quartet – Hoehn, Erin Sterkel, Miranda Cox and Mandy Preston – enter as the two two-time defending regional champs. The Devils also have a 52-stroke win over the field at the Eagle Valley Invite last month under their belts. So does that give the hosts a psychological advantage?

“It does and it doesn’t,” Hoehn said. “I’d certainly like a repeat, but I know the girls aren’t going to give it to us.”

The winning team and top 10 individuals advance to state. The tournament starts at 10 a.m., with tee times. The field will be out for a practice round Monday.

Chris Freud is the sports editor for the Vail Daily. Contact him at (970) 949-0555, ext. 614 or by e-mail at cfreud@vaildaily.com.


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