Coulter, Gould shine at state
With a record number of golfers at state, Eagle Valley’s Tanner Coulter and Vail Christian’s Cooper Gould made a little more history to cap the season Tuesday.
Coulter tied for 17th place at the 4A state tournament in at Pelican Lakes, while Gould was T12 among 3A golfers at Dos Rios up in Gunnison. That’s the first time Eagle County had two players in the top 20 in one year. (Battle Mountain’s Michael Wilhelm tied for 15th last year and Cameron Brown took T22 in 2009.)
Coulter shot a fantastic 74-77 over the course of the two-day tournament and he finished 23 strokes behind the winner.
No slight is intended toward the Devils senior, it’s just that Valor Christian’s Wyndham Clark dismantled Pelican Lakes and the field with consecutive rounds of 64 for a minus-16.
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“I practiced near him. He’s an absolute freak,” Coulter said in a complimentary manner. “He’s an absolute animal. He definitely will win on tour.”
By tour, Coulter means the PGA one. Clark is heading to play at Oklahoma State next fall. (And the tour talk isn’t that far-fetched. Clark had two eagles, 12 birdies and nothing resembling a bogey in two rounds.)
Coulter’s goal for state was to crack the top 10 and he missed that by just five strokes. He was the model of consistency with a 74 on Monday and got down to even-par with a birdie on No. 5 Tuesday. His group, however, had a 20-minute delay on the 16th when another player needed a ruling from an official.
That interrupted Coulter’s rhythm and ultimately derailed his hopes for the top 10.
“I had a super-good rhythm going,” he said. “The next shot was the only bad shot I had and it cost me.”
Coulter tripled the 16th hole. While that was a bitter pill, two rounds in the 70s in his first state appearance was quite the accomplishment.
“He was in the fourth-to-last group of the day. He was tied for 11th,” Eagle Valley coach Ryan Sappenfield said. “There was a ton of pressure with a lot of people watching. He played great and had a little bad luck coming home. Seventy-seven is nothing to be sad about. He was a contender to finish in the top 10.”
Gould shines at Gunnison
Freshmen are meant to crumble under state pressure. Gould, however is not the average freshman.
Gould put up a 78-74 and as an added bonus did not get struck by lightning Tuesday – the 3A tournament was held up for 45 minutes when a storm passed through, rather mild weather for what everyone was expecting for the first week of October in Gunnison.
That said, the weather turned out fine for Gould and teammate Robby Bowles. The Saints played at Gunnison last month when it was 50 degrees and pouring rain.
“I was thinking this course isn’t as hard as I remembered it when it isn’t dumping and clubs are flying out of my hands,” Gould joked.
It wasn’t all sweetness and birdies for Gould at state, though. On his ninth hole Monday, he carded a quadruple-bogey. Vail Christian coach Jeremy Lowe had walked the first nine holes with Bowles and was switching over to watch Gould when the snowman happened.
“He was really frustrated and angry,” Lowe said. “What I liked seeing was that he didn’t allow that to defeat him. He buckled down.”
After that, Gould had just one double in his final 27 holes and two birdies to boot.
“It was a huge experience,” Gould said. “I got so much experience of what it’s like to be in the state tournament. It’s definitely very beneficial.”
Bowles, a junior, cut 11 strokes of his score from last year’s state tournament. He went 84-89, and he still has another high school golf season ahead of him.
Finish with a bang
Battle Mountain’s Andrew Sady posted an 82-80, while teammate Brady McDonald put up rounds of 82 and 87.
“It’s always exciting to see them at state,” Huskies coach Cassie Desmone said. “At the same time, you hate to see them struggle. Andrew was great on his last nine. Brady struggled with the greens. But I’m proud of both of them.”
Vail Mountain’s Harrison Alonzo finished tied for 40th. Despite serious putting struggles, he shot a 79 and 87. Fellow sophomore Christian Bohren struggled in his first outing at state, but finished with a birdie on Tuesday.
“I was proud of how Harrison was in control of his game from tee to green,” VMS coach Ross Sappenfield said. “He couldn’t catch a break on the greens. I think Christian was just getting warmed up. His best nine was his last nine, and he birdied his last hole. That was a great way for him and Vail Mountain golf to finish.”
Sports Editor Chris Freud can be reached at 970-748-2934 or firstname.lastname@example.org.