Eagle Valley takes first at Rifle Creek
RIFLE ” Get a marker but maybe not a permanent one. The Eagle Valley golf team set another record by winning its first tournament ever Monday at Rifle Creek.
“Beating 12 teams is fantastic,” said Eagle Valley coach Glen Ewing. “Especially beating Rifle on its home course. We were virtually in last (place) all last year.”
After the Devils set a school record with a score of 236 Thursday, they shot a 237 Monday. Ethan Smith led the way with a 78, followed by Bryan Matthews (79) and Bryan Brennan (80).
“It felt really good. It was definitely a boost of confidence for our team,” Smith said. “But two of the major teams (Basalt and Steamboat Springs) weren’t at the tournament, but we still won. We are going to beat those two teams.”
The Devils have been able to spread out the scoring among five different golfers, which helps take the pressure off individuals.
“It goes to show you how strong this team is when our two guys who have been scoring well are a few strokes off what they usually shoot, and a couple other guys step up,” Ewing said.
Jamison Bair (83) and Jake Lammert (90) rounded out the Eagle Valley squad.
“Jamison and Bryan (Brennan) are bummed when they aren’t shooting 78 or better,” Ewing said. “That’s a nice thing to see.”
Battle Mountain freshman Cameron Brown continued his solid play Monday with a second-place 77, helping his team take fourth (245).
“I had three double bogies, but everything else was good,” Brown said. “My putting was on. My chipping was on. My driving was perfect. I missed (hitting) two greens (in regulation) the whole round.”
While Brown had never played the course before, he did scouting.
“I went on the Internet to check out the course. It kind of helped,” Brown said. “I just went out there and tried to be as confident as I could.”
Brown’s teammates think there was another reason behind his success.
“He wore mandals: Sandals with spikes on them,” said Zach Domenico, who shot a season-best 79. “He forgot his golf spikes. We’re going to make him wear the mandals all the time. (He) better buy some new ones for when his feet grow.”
Domenico had an inauspicious start to his day but turned things around quickly.
“I’ve been playing really bad lately in tournaments. I started Monday with a double bogie and decided I didn’t want to shoot as badly as I had been shooting,” Domenico said. “(After that) I didn’t have anything over a bogie.”
Domenico, who was paired with a golfer who shot a 76, used straight drives and nice approaches to finish with a 39 on the difficult back nine.
“It helps my game when I play with guys that are good,” Domenico said. “It makes me concentrate on my approach shots, which really helped me. I’d be 130 or 140 yards out and put my shot to within 15 feet.”
Clay Wilson (89), Diego Gaspar (90) and John Ryan Melzer (95) rounded out the field for Battle Mountain.
Smith, who last week had an outing in which he shot a 103, has seen his scores drop significantly.
“I’ve just been chipping away at it,” said Smith who had a 39 on the front and the back Monday. “There were two holes where you have to hit some solid drives even to consider par. I had been hitting my driver decent for the entire day, but on those holes I got it together and hit two amazing drives.”
Smith had one birdie and nothing over a bogie.
“I had 38 putts, which is really high, so there’s still room for improvement,” Smith said.
While Ewing has no seniors on his team, he’s still impressed with the maturity level of his golfers.
“It seems like they are going after this in an amazingly mature, workman-like manner,” Ewing said.
Battle Mountain coach Cassie Desmone, who also has a young squad, was pleased with the way her kids are golfing.
“I’m real happy with how scores are dropping,” she said.
The Huskies host several teams, including Eagle Valley and Aspen today at Eagle-Vail. Thursday, the Devils host their own tournament at Cotton Ranch.
After a busy week, the golfers look forward to some practice rounds.
“I think that’ll be nice,” Smith said. “The tournaments are great practice and great experience, but it’ll be nice to hit the range and concentrate on parts of your game.”
Sports writer Ian Cropp can be reached at 748-2935 or firstname.lastname@example.org
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