Cooper Gould, Harrison Alonzo lead Eagle County golfers at state tourney |

Cooper Gould, Harrison Alonzo lead Eagle County golfers at state tourney

PUEBLO — The U.S. Open was at the Merion Golf Club in June, but it seems the United States Golf Association decided to take a trip to the Pueblo Country Club for Monday’s and Tuesday’s 3A state tournament.

Red numbers were an endangered species. Pars were darn good, and just surviving the two rounds was an accomplishment.

“I would say it was more like Oak Hill,” said VMS senior Harrison Alonzo, who is ever the historian.

So how amped up was the Pueblo Country Club? Only Basalt’s Tristan Rohrbaugh finished 1-under par with a two-day total of 141 (71-70) on the par-71 loop. Everyone else was well away from red numbers.

The major issue was the greens, rather crowned. (The sound you just heard was golfers from around the state snapping or flinging their putters.)

Vail Christian’s Cooper Gould topped the locals in Pueblo with a 75-82 performance. His Monday started with a sparkling 36 on the front nine. On No. 11, Gold missed a short birdie putt, and things started to get away from him. He had three putts on Nos. 12 and 15.

He wasn’t the only one. Three-putts were commonplace. There was no such thing as a tap-in.

For Gould, Tuesday was just not pretty. It happens to everyone. The good news is that he’s a junior, and though the season just ended, he’s looking to next season.

“I’m not happy with how I played,” said Gould, who won the regional championship two weeks ago at Gypsum Creek. “I hope that will drive me to win next year.”

Both Vail Christian and VMS had full teams — three players — on hand down in Pueblo. For the Saints, junior Tony Clark put up an 85-81, while senior Parker Poage finished his high-school career with a 90-83.

“They definitely did a good job pushing through,” Gould said of his teammates. “They weren’t happy and they persevered.”

Team scores

As for team scores, Vail Christian got the better of VMS in their season-long battle, but that’s about all we know. CHSAA’s website was not only crashing regularly Tuesday, but also reporting incorrect individual scores.

Alonzo definitely led VMS with an 85-78. And here’s the statistical wow for Alonzo. He had five birdies during that 85, and one during the 78. Statistical wow No. 2 was that the VMS senior only had two bogeys during 36 holes.

“The dreaded other,” VMS coach Ross Sappenfield said.

Don’t try that at home, people.

Alonzo said that the greens were the fastest he and others played all year.

For the Gore Rangers, sophomore Oliver Pesso went 85-91, and freshman Dylan Hardenbergh came home in 91-87.

“I think it was typical of this whole season,” Sappenfield said. “They fought back from disappointment. Oliver said, ‘I’m tired of disappointment. I want to eliminate it.’”

Both the Gore Rangers and Saints are in a good position to do so, as four of their six state qualifiers are not seniors.

Up at Hiwan Golf Club in Evergreen, Eagle Valley’s Tanner Caldarola was Eagle County’s only 4A state tournament entry. The freshman posted 96-95.

“He has a great attitude,” Devils coach Tom Buzbee said. “He’s a 14-year-old in ninth grade and a left-hander and he came off 18 with a smile on his face. This was paying his dues. He’s not going to let it get him down. It’s great for him to have that experience under his belt.”

Sports Editor Chris Freud can be reached at 970-748-2934 and

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