Golfers face still competition at regionals | VailDaily.com

Golfers face still competition at regionals

Ian Cropp

CRAIG – The clouds hovering in the distance of Yampa Valley Golf Course were an omen of things to come.It rained early on Wednesday in Craig, but for some golfers, it could have been raining all day.”We didn’t even come close to playing our game today,” said Battle Mountain coach Cassie Desmone. “The conditions were kind of nasty. It rained hard and the wind was blowing.”For the first few holes, both teams had to battle the rain. When the rain stopped, the Eagle Valley freshman duo of Bryan Brennan and Jamison Bair finished strong to shoot 84 and 86, respectively. Along with Zach Coe’s 91, the team did well enough to beat rival Battle Mountain for the first time this season.”We never beat Battle Mountain at regionals,” said Eagle Valley coach Glen Ewing. “We’re happy to hold bragging rights for the boys golf team for the year.” The fourth Devils’ golfer at regionals, Ethan Smith, finished with a 96. Some of the golfers had trouble playing with consistency on a course they had played the previous day.”All these guys think they can shoot a 72,” Ewing said. “If they were capable of hitting 90 percent of their shots, they would shoot that, but they are only capable of hitting around 70 percent of their shots, so this is where the frustration comes in.”Battle Mountain had one golfer finish under 90 as Derek Rush flirted with dipping into the 70s, but finished with an 81.”He had a four putt on one hole, which ruined his round,” Desmone said.Clay Wilson shot a 92, and would have been in the mid 80s without one bad hole. Zach Domenico also had a 92, and Mason Cullen finished with a 91.Big field, little roomOf the 73 competitors at the regionals, only 14 made the cut and will compete at state. Six individuals golfers qualified, and two teams of four also qualified. The caliber of golfers ranged from those shooting in the 70s to almost double that. Eagle Valley’s Zach Coe was paired up with golfers who shot in the 130s.”I get kind of impatient and I like to be pressured,” Coe said. “I wasn’t making any putts.”The greens didn’t make it any easier for the golfers.”Those greens are killer,” Domenico said. “Every one of them had a hill going one way, so if you hit it too hard, the ball would take off and you could be chipping again.”Even though both teams played the course on Tuesday, and earlier this year, it wasn’t as much as the players would have liked.”Earlier in the season, I shot an 82, and my practice round wasn’t good either,” Domenico said.Bair found the Devils practice round a bit relieving.”We played a scramble so it wouldn’t mess with our heads if we didn’t play well,” Bair said. On the back nine, Bair turned his game around and shot a 39, eight better than he did on the front.Farewell to EwingEagle Valley returns all but one of its top-five golfers for next year. When Smith, Bair, Brennan, and Brian Matthews return, however, they will be without Ewing.Stepping into Ewing’s space will be Sean Riley, head pro at the Cotton Ranch Golf Club.”This will be a nice transition,” Ewing said. “It’s good to have someone in the community coaching.”Ewing likes what the future holds for the Devils.”The freshman took their scores down 10 shots this year, and Ethan Smith improved a lot, too,” Ewing said. “In the next three years we are going to have some incredible teams.”Battle Mountain graduates three of its top-five players in Rush, Cullen and Clark Simmons. Much like the Devils, the Huskies have a number of solid younger golfers.”Overall our season was fine, but not one of our better ones,” Desmone said. “We’ve got some work to do in the future.”Sports Writer Ian Cropp can be reached at 949-0555, ext. 608, or icropp@vaildaily.com.Vail, Colorado