Four local golfers headed to state tourney | VailDaily.com

Four local golfers headed to state tourney

EAGLE COUNTY — Welcome to the dance, gentlemen.

Eagle Valley's Barrett Jones and Tanner Caldarola, Battle Mountain's Miles Joersz and Vail Mountain's Tucker Thomas all qualified for next week's 4A and 3A state tournaments next week.

Jones shot a 71, Caldarola a 78 and Joersz a 79 at Monday's 4A Region 1 Tournament at Adobe Creek. They're all off to River Valley Ranch in Carbondale for 4A state on Monday. Meanwhile, Vail Mountain freshman Tucker Thomas carded an 87 at Devil's Thumb in Delta and punched his ticket to the 3A tourney at Saddle Rock Golf Course in Aurora.

Two ways to state

Jones' 71 was good for second in Region 1, but that really tells only a part of the story. He had just five pars, three bogeys, two doubles and a whopping eight birdies.

"It was pretty crazy," Jones said. "Bogey-birdie-bogey-birdie. It was pretty funny."

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And when it all results in a 1-under 71, everyone can laugh afterward.

Jones, a junior, is now 2-for-2 in his Eagle Valley career in qualifying for state. He shot a 74 at Haymaker In Steamboat Springs last fall to qualify for state.

"I knew that if I got a double bogey, I could make that up with pars and birdies," Jones said. "That's basically what I did all day. I just kind of knew that I was capable of going low."

Jones said that he was aggressive with his driver at Adobe Creek, which is wide open. Long bombs set up those birdies and they also set up the doubles. So getting the big dog to behave, along with the short game, is the priority before hitting River Valley Ranch, which also has room off the tee.

Jones will have company in Carbondale because Caldarola is back at state. As a freshman in 2013, Caldarola had one of those Jones' like all-over-the-place rounds at Gypsum Creek at regionals, and was a surprise qualifier.

Ironically, now a senior, Caldarola had a nice boring round on Monday — seven bogeys, one tweeter and no uglies.

Qualifying in his senior year was particularly sweet as Caldarola was steady as a rock all season last fall, had a bad outing at regionals in Steamboat and did not make state.

"This time, the pressure was a lot easier," Caldarola said. "I tried to relax and take it easy. It's very satisfying. I think it's kind of hysterical that I made it my freshman and senior year and nothing in between. It's definitely nice to make it in my last year."

Caldarola has two goals for the next week. He needs to work on his putting and he doesn't want to finish last at state. The latter is a joke as he finished 78th out of 84 at state three years ago as a freshman.

With state a short drive from Gyspum, both Jones and Caldarola were talking about getting in a practice round later this week at River Valley Ranch. The two will also try to get the most out of Sunday's official practice round.

Double duty

Joersz is having a pretty good week. On Monday, he qualified for state in golf. On Tuesday, he went to Steamboat and scored twice for Huskies soccer in their 3-0 win over the Sailors.

"I've been kind of saving that," he said of his 79 on Monday. "I have not shot well this season. I finally pulled one out."

Joersz was does soccer practice in the morning on Mondays and does golf in the afternoon on the same day. He played a bunch of tournaments early in the season, and doesn't miss much time on the pitch.

On Monday he was 1-under through six. Like Caldarola, Joersz avoided anything worse than a bogey. He jarred a long putt on 18 to break 80.

The double duty continues on Tuesday. That's the second round of state golf, while Huskies soccer is home for Montrose at 6 p.m. He'll be at both.

A good phone call

Vail Mountain's Thomas thought he was done. The freshman hit two balls in the water on No. 18 at Devil's Thumb and finished with a triple bogey. That's a devastating way to end things.

"(The round) started out so well, but there was no way I was making it, so I told my coach (Todd Novak), 'Let's just go.'" Thomas said.

In the van, Thomas got a call saying that he, in fact, had made it to state.

"I was pretty excited," Thomas said. "I made that a goal at the beginning of the season and got to fulfill it."

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