Gore Rangers golf takes third at Vail Mountain Invitational

Vail Christian placed fifth with Battle Mountain taking ninth and Eagle Valley finishing in a tie for 10th.

Vail Mountain's Tiki Jaffe strokes home his putt on the 10th hole during the Vail Mountain Invitational on Sept. 5. Jaffe led the Gore Rangers to a second-place team finish at the 3A Region 4 golf tournament on Monday in Delta.
Ryan Sederquist/Vail Daily

Tiki Jaffe never looks at the iWanamaker scoreboard app during a golf round. Standing on the Vail Golf Club’s 18th tee box at Tuesday’s Vail Mountain Invitational, he decided to break his habit and sneak a peek.

“Just out of curiosity,” he said. “And I was one off, so that’s why I was a little frustrated at the end. Could have been better, especially the last three holes.”

Jaffe and his senior teammate Henry Andrie both made eagles on the 12th hole, at which point they were 1-2 in the 85-player, 17-team field. A few stumbles down the stretch led to a 75 and tie for sixth place. Even though Jaffe’s three-putt elicited slight disappointment walking off the final green at his last home meet, the Gore Ranger was for the most part feeling upbeat.

“Coming in if you’d ask me if I’d take a 75, I totally would. So, I can’t be mad even if I would have like to finish differently,” said Jaffe, who won the tournament as a sophomore.

“I wanted to do that again,” he continued. “This is the most nervous I’d been going into a tournament this year just because you can’t play bad on the home course and go to school the next day. At least I can go to school tomorrow.”

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The Gore Rangers finished third as a team with 230 points. Grand Junction took the team and individual wins, as sophomore Hunter Simmons, the 4A state runner-up last fall, repeated his winning ways in Vail (he won the Vail Mountain Invitational as a freshman) with a clutch birdie on the final hole to tie Montrose’s Noah Richmond.

“Today was a great day. At one point in time we were leading the tournament, at another point we had two kids tied for the individual lead. And you know, they’re still a little rusty — so we didn’t close,” Gore Ranger head coach Andy Meltz said.

“A triple, a couple doubles, had a four putt. They’re kids — so they’re learning the game, but I feel good about it. I feel good about their progress.”

Meltz will have a tough decision to make after the team’s final two tournaments next Monday and Tuesday. He has five worthy players vying for four regional slots.

“So this is it. Pressure is on all of them,” he said, adding that he was impressed by Andrie. The senior got off to a slow start, with three bogeys on his first seven holes, but caught fire after turning the corner. A par at 10, a birdie at 11 and an eagle at 12 brought brought him to even par. Unfortunately, his victory hopes were dashed with a six on the par-3, 115-yard 15th hole.

Henry Andrie lines up a putt during Tuesday’s Vail Mountain Invitational.
Ryan Sederquist/Vail Daily

“Henry stepped up today,” the coach continued. “He shot 75 with a triple bogey on the shortest hole on the golf course. He made a great advancement today.”

Vail Christian (241) also impressed with a fifth-place team showing. The Saints were led by junior Sam Casey’s ninth-place finish.

A Vail Christian golfer hits his second shot from the 18th fairway Tuesday morning at the Vail Golf Club.
Ryan Sederquist/Vail Daily

“Sam is a great player. He has a great attitude about the game. He shot 76 today with no birdies,” said new Saints head coach Ian Minder. Austin Reyna (80) and Andrew Gruell (85) rounded out the team scoring in 15th and 28th, respectively.

“This was our best showing so far this season,” Minder said, adding that he wasn’t surprised with how this squad handled the 4A and 3A teams. “We’re getting there.”

Vail Christian placed fifth out of 17 teams at the Vail Mountain Invitational on Tuesday at the Vail Golf Club.
Ryan Sederquist/Vail Daily

Minder said his first season of prep coaching has been “very rewarding.” His goal is to get the team to state.

“I think we have a good shot,” he said.

Battle Mountain (256) placed ninth and were led by Owen Jackson’s 84. Beau Suman (86) and William Morrison (86) tied for 34th for the Huskies. Eagle Valley tied for 10th behind Peter Boyd and Ben Vito, who each shot 85. It’s the first season for Boyd, who only picked up golf a year ago.

“It’s definitely different, but it’s fun,” the lacrosse star said of his first individual sport. “When I make a mistake, it’s all on me. I’m enjoying it, though, playing with friends, meeting new people.”

Boyd said his driver was off today but his irons and short game were working well.

“I made a lot of up and downs that really saved my round,” he said. “Coming in, I just tried to focus on my game. I play for fun a lot, so I try to keep it in that atmosphere and try not to take it too seriously.”

“The team did alright; definitely could have done better,” Boyd continued. “Can’t complain — we’re out here golfing on a beautiful day.”

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