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Bair, Brennan headed to Castle Pines

SPT Bair and Brennan BH 8-4
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EAGLE ” Monday is the first day of practice for the Eagle Valley boys’ golf team at Cotton Ranch, and sophomores Jamison Bair and Bryan Brennan will be conspicuous by their absence.

But they’ve got a good explanation.

“They are indeed excused,” Eagle Valley boys’ golf coach Glen Ewing said with a laugh.

The two earned spots to play in a five-hole scramble Monday at Castle Pines as part of next week’s International, the PGA Tour’s annual stop in Colorado. Bair and Brennan will be in foursomes rounded out by a PGA player playing in next week’s event.

“It’s all I can talk about,” Brennan said understandably.

The two got the nod from the tournament because of their work at the Eagle Ranch Golf Club with The First Tee, a program intended to introduce kids, particularly from minority and disadvantaged backgrounds, to the game.

“It’s great to see. We’re so proud of Jamison and Bryan and a lot of our other juniors we’ve coached for the last five or six years,” Eagle Ranch head pro Alice Plain said. “You can really see so many of them improve, and they’re just great young men and women. We’re very proud of them. They will be great representatives of Eagle Ranch.”

Volunteering

Bair and Brennan have spent each Tuesday at Eagle Ranch working in the club’s junior program. They set up the range for some 300 kids who come out to participate in First Tee. They’ve helped the club’s staff throughout the summer, and they’ve also done their fair share of teaching.

But First Tee is not only about golf. The program teaches the values of honesty, courtesy and character development through the game, something in which the two have taken great pride.

“It was a great experience helping younger kids, teaching golf skills and life skills,” Bair said. “It was fun working with them, watching them grow and get better. It was more than golf. I saw one of my students in a store and he introduced me to his mom and she was happy and I was happy and it was a great thing.”

“It’s been good because it’s nice to see the improvement that kids have and to see that they enjoy the game as much as I do,” Brennan said. “They started wanting to do it, instead of having to do it.”

They’ve got game

Not only have the two done good work with First Tee, but Bair and Brennan both have developed into strong golfers at the tender age of 15. They’ve spent the summer working to hone their skills.

Bair can boom it off the tee. At a recent long-drive contest, he won his age division, corking his driver 338 yards. Brennan is a ever-steady player noted for keeping his golf ball in the short stuff.

Like most golfers, the two have their rough patches in some aspects of the game. Bair has recently been struggling with his irons and Brennan, at times, has a hard time shaking off a bad hole.

“They’re both really solid players,” Plain said. “They shoot high-70s, low-80s. They’re both out here or playing in a tournament just about every day.”

Gulp

The duo will be down at Castle Pines Monday with 13 other juniors playing with PGA players ” and doubtless, Bair and Brennan will have some butterflies.

“I think it’s going to be awesome,” Bair said. “The course will probably be in the best shape. I hope I don’t get too nervous being with a pro player, but I think I’ll hopefully handle it.

“I think I’ll enjoy it no matter what, just the experience is going to be great. Maybe I’ll just try to swing easy and not try to crush it, just do my thing.”

Plain has encouraged the two to get some tips from the pros to help their game in the future.

“I’m going to ask how they practice, and maybe I can benefit from that in my practice,” Brennan said. “I’m just going to take that as a learning experience, just try to calm down and play each shot shot-by-shot.”

Good start

No matter what happens at Castle Pines, it’s a safe bet that the two will be getting a great start to the high school season, which begins Thursday at Battlement Mesa in Parachute.

The Eagle Valley boys’ golf team has never qualified an individual for the state tournament.

“That’s Bryan Brennan’s goal,” Plain said. “He’s told me all summer, ‘I am going to get to state. I am going to be the first player to qualify for state.’ So he has that goal in mind.”

And after having teed it up at a PGA venue in front of a pro player, the pressure of a high school tournament likely isn’t going to seem much by comparison.

“This is going to be a great experience for me,” Bair said. “I’ll get some tips from a pro player, maybe just little things to work on, drills. Plus, I’ll be confident going into other events, just because if I can play with a pro player, I can play with these other kids.”

“Those two have been working their tails off this summer,” Ewing said. “Working in any sport is doing the perspiration. If they get more inspiration from this, I’m all for it.”

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

Vail, Colorado


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