Devils conquer Gypsum Creek, eye regionals
GYPSUM — So if you want to go to Carbondale, the way’s through Montrose.
That’s what the resurgent Eagle Valley girls golf team hopes to do after winning their home tournament at the Gypsum Creek Golf Course on Tuesday in their final regular-season competition.
Next stop is Montrose’s Cobble Creek for the regional tournament on Tuesday. The top-two teams and 13 individuals from that round make the 4A state meet at River Valley Ranch on May 18-19.
Taylor Sandoval fired an 85 for individual medalist honors, followed by Allyson Ludewig (99) and freshman Nicole Matthews (102). The Devils’ team score of 286 put them ahead of Fruita Monument (302), Coal Ridge (313), Grand Junction (329) and Gunnison (359).
That’s Eagle Valley’s third tournament win alone this season, and when the Devils haven’t won, they’ve been pretty close against their Western Slope competitors.
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“I’ve been working with the girls on their swings for the last three years, and it’s connecting this year,” Devils head coach Blake Scott said. “We’ve done nothing but improve from tournament to tournament. It’s pretty exciting going into regionals.”
Meet the team
You may remember Blake — his dad is Dave Scott, a former coach and athletic director in Gypsum — as an alumnus of Eagle Valley, Class of 2002. He played golf in the fall for the Devils and also picked up a part-time job at then-Cotton Ranch in 1997. (He was 13 at the time.)
Sandoval, a junior, has been on a roll all season, with a low score of 82 at Lincoln Park in Grand Junction.
“Taylor works so hard at everything she does,” Scott said. “And she’s going to keep improving. She has one of the purest swings I’ve ever seen. She’s right in the middle of the fairway about 80 percent of the time. Her accuracy is dialed in.”
Ludewig is the big bopper off the tee for Eagle Valley, but as most hackers know distance combined with accuracy is better. Ludewig has come a long way from 154 in her first outing to a tournament low this year of 86.
“Ally probably hits it further than anyone in Colorado,” Scott said. “Coaches can’t believe how far she can hit it. We’re working on course management, but she’s definitely my most improved player.”
Matthews is just a freshman and she’s shown her mettle in tournaments.
“She’s a fireball,” Scott said. “She hits the ball with everything she has. She’s improved from tournament to tournament.”
Of course, getting to practice and play at Gypsum Creek on a daily basis helps the cause. As local golfers know, if you can survive the mesa on the back nine, you can play just about anywhere, and coach Scott expressed his gratitude to the facility for allowing the team to hone their skills at the course.
Putting practice, anyone?
With two juniors and a freshman as the scorers, the Devils are quite young, but there’s still plenty of time to bank course knowledge and playing experience. The Devils finished third at Cobble Creek during the regular season.
Eagle Valley will have a practice round on Monday in Montrose and the tournament is Tuesday. Expect a lot of work with the flat stick during Monday’s round.
“We had troubles putting there,” Scott said. “We lost a lot of strokes on the greens. We are going to be spending a lot of time reading those greens, and, hopefully, we’re going to put it all together.”
Sports Editor Chris Freud can be reached at 970-748-2934, firstname.lastname@example.org and @cfreud.