Eagle Valley Devils Barrett Jones finishes tied for second at state golf tourney
LITTLETON — Nothing beats “Monday Night Football” and some dinner after a bad day.
Eagle Valley’s Barrett Jones had shot, for him, what was a ghastly 6-over 78 on the first day of the 4A state tournament on Monday, Oct. 2, at Raccoon Creek in Littleton. Jones was really ready for some football.
“That was an awesome game, the Chiefs and the Redskins,” Jones said. “We just hung out and watched the game and went to dinner.”
And then Jones came out on Tuesday, Oct. 3, fired a 71, playing himself right back into the tournament, finishing tied for second with Evergreen’s Bridger Tenney at 5-over, three shots back of Thompson Valley’s Darren Edwards.
Jones finished his Eagle Valley golfing career with two top 10 finishes — he was T7 last year — at the state tournament, the best results by an Eagle County high school golfer at the big dance.
Jones started Day 1 by hitting a wedge into the water. Jones just doesn’t do that.
“Shanked it,” Devils coach Tom Buzbee said. “You couldn’t script a worse start.”
Yes, you could, Tom, because the worst was to come. Jones found the drink on Nos. 11, 12 and 13. In retrospect, Jones did very well to save bogeys on those holes, but the Eagle Valley senior was not feeling that way at the time.
“Usually, my goal when I’m not playing well is to get back to par,” Jones said. “Just reset, and get back to even. I knew after that I was digging myself into too much of a hole to do that. So I just decided to have fun.”
So as exciting as the Chiefs-Redskins game was — at the Vail Daily sports section, we advocate the watching of “Monday Night Football” — the turnaround probably started on Monday.
Jones put up four pars and a birdie to finish Monday.
Jones talked it over with his father, Mike, after the round.
“He said, ‘I’ll bet you won’t start tomorrow like you did today,’” Barrett said. “’You’ll carry that momentum over.’”
“At the range, on Tuesday, Barrett said that five shots was nothing in high school golf,” Buzbee said. “He was a completely different kid.”
Here we go
Jones set the front nine on fire on Tuesday, going out in 33, six pars and three birdies.
The first of his visits to the bird sanctuary came on the par-5 second (534 yards). He reached the green in two, a nice development as his irons had been the focus of pre-state practice.
Jones two-putted, and started to roll.
“That set the tone for the day, 1-under for the day,” he said. “Now, I just needed to make some pars and climb up the leaderboard. If I make a shot that’s close (for birdie), great. My mentality was that pars are good.”
Unbeknownst to Jones, he caught Thompson Valley’s Edwards on No. 11 — Buzbee was tracking the leaderboard. Jones was 3-under for the day, going into 17 and asked his mother, Dana, to give him an update the leaderboard.
“She said, ‘I can’t.’ Barrett said. “I said, ‘It’s all right, Mom.”
Tied for the lead, Jones went for the win on the par-3, 226-yard 17th. He stuck the green, but going for the birdie and the lead, Jones was a little too aggressive with the birdie putt and left himself 5 feet for the par. He ended up three-putting, dashing his hopes of state championship.
While disappointed primarily with his first round, more so than the three-putt on No. 17 on Day 2, Jones was pleased with the way he finished.
“He was the only kid under par on (Tuesday),” Buzbee said. “Coulda, woulda shoulda. It would have been a miracle story. What a turnaround.”
Jones will play in the Junior Golf Alliance Colorado Tour Championship at Cherry Hills on Saturday and Sunday, Oct. 7-8. And he’s also going to continue his studies and golfing at the University of Northern Colorado.
“I am totally looking forward to coach (Roger) Prenzlow and his program,” Jones said. “I cannot wait to go play some Bears golf.”
In the meantime, he has also left a legacy for young program at Eagle Valley. The Devils had 16 freshmen on the squad this fall. Jones was a good guy helping those ninth-graders get to and from practice, but there was a catch.
If Jones gave you a ride home, then you had to hit a bucket of balls with him on the range at Eagle Ranch.
“Barrett would practice with the ninth-graders,” Buzbee said. “Barrett was fine with playing with the kids, and he’s gotten a lot of them into the game. That’s way more powerful than (assistant coach) Blake (Scott) or I telling them to work on their game.”
Sports Editor Chris Freud can be reached at 970-748-2934, firstname.lastname@example.org and @cfreud.