Devils’ Jones leads locals at state golf tourneys
It’s never as good as one wants.
One imagines going to the state tournament, putting up red numbers and raising the trophy, or perhaps, winning a green jacket like the Masters.
Eagle County’s four state golfers did themselves proud at their state tournaments earlier this week. Eagle Valley’s Barrett Jones carded 74s in both of his rounds at River Valley Ranch in Carbondale and finished tied for seventh at the 4A tourney.
Eagle Valley’s Tanner Caldarola and Battle Mountain’s Miles Joersz both ended up tied for 53rd. Meanwhile, at Saddle Rock Golf Course in Aurora, Vail Mountain’s Tucker Thomas finished tied for 75th.
Not feeling so well
The state tournament is tough enough — the course is lengthened, the rough grown in, and the competition stout.
And then Eagle Valley’s Jones got food poisoning before it the 4A tournament ever started.
“I just basically thought that whatever happens, I have to push through it,” Jones said.
So not at his best physically, Jones was still 2-under after the first nine before the food poisoning caught up with him. He felt better for Day 2 of the competition, but Tuesday turned into one of those days when his putts just didn’t drop.
“Every putt looked like it was going heart of the cup and they ended up short,” Jones said. “Those days happen.”
And it stinks when it’s at state. That said, T7 is the best finish in the history of the Eagle Valley boys golf program, and Jones is a junior.
“I didn’t think about it as the state tournament, but a tournament with guys I play with all summer,” he said. “I know I can compete and win. If I were playing to my potential, I feel like I could have finished a lot better.”
Like Jones, Caldarola didn’t have the tournament he wanted. A steady 70s shooter all season, Caldarola went 84-86 at state. Nonetheless, Caldarola had an outstanding season, which included qualifying for the dance after some heartbreak at regionals last year.
“It was a blast. I loved having him with me at state,” Jones said. “I know those were not two his best rounds, but he’s a really fun person to be around.”
Soccer and the kid
Joersz is a competitive guy — in soccer. He is a talented athlete who can make the state-golf tournament, even though playing center-back for the soccer team is his main preoccupation in the fall.
The Battle Mountain senior started well with an 82 on Monday, and then things “started to get in (his) head” as golf will do to anyone. That led to an 88 on Tuesday, which was followed by a quick drive from Carbondale to Edwards, so that he could score the opening goal that evening against Montrose.
“I was happy to break 90 both days,” Joersz said. “It was a really fun experience. I like how there’s a lot of strategy involved. It’s you against the golf course, instead of other people.”
VMS’s Thomas had a rough go of it at Sadle Rock as a freshman. He shot 94-102 during his two rounds — “my worst rounds of the year,” he said.
Since self-flagellation is a part of golf, Thomas was disappointed, but he’s a freshman, and he’s got three more shots at this thing.
“I hope to get to go next year and do a lot better,” Thomas said. “It motivates me a lot. If I do this and this and this, and work on putting, I could drop a lot of strokes.”
Sports Editor Chris Freud can be reached at 970-748-2934, firstname.lastname@example.org and @cfreud.
Rita’s two closest peers have climbed the 8,850-meter (29,035-foot) peak 21 times each, but both of them have retired from mountain climbing.