Huskies defend home course’
EAGLE-VAIL ” Classes don’t start until next week for Battle Mountain and Eagle Valley, but the Huskies and Devils boys’ golf teams definitely schooled some people Wednesday at the Eagle-Vail Golf Club.
Barrett Chow and Dustin Martin carded 79s, helping the Huskies to win their home tournament, the Battle Mountain Invitational, while Eagle Valley’s Jamison Bair fired a 77 to win individual honors.
“Playing here for the last three years gives you some sense of home-course advantage,” Chow said. “You’ve just got to learn it and play it a couple of times.
“It feels good to win two tournaments this year. It feels like we’re going somewhere this year, finally to get into the low numbers. It’s time to get even lower come regional time.”
The Huskies showed they’ve mastered Eagle-Vail’s elevation changes, slanting greens and carries, posting a 241 team score. The Devils, in a warm-up for their home tourney today at 10 a.m. at Cotton Ranch, took second (258), and like the Huskies, are starting to eye the regional tournament in Cortez next month.
“We haven’t done as well as a team as I think we should,” Bair said. “But I think we should place second at regionals if we have a good day and qualify as a team for state. We’re doing all right.”
“Seventy-seven is good for Jamison. Seventy-four is better,” Devils coach Glen Ewing said somewhat jokingly. “We do want him down there. I am getting greedy. We do expect better than 77 tomorrow.”
We put Ewing in the early lead for Toughest Coach Award. Bair was magnificent Wednesday, going out in an even-par 36 and carding a 41 on the back.
“I was stoked with that,” Bair said of his front nine. “My irons were pretty consistent the entire day. I hit 13 greens, which is good. I was hitting the driver well. I was hitting my hybrid well. I was hitting a bunch of hybrids off the tee because I didn’t need driver.”
Bair made up for bogeys on two and five with tweeters on eight and nine. On the par-5 eighth, after a a piping his drive down the fairway he was laying two in the far right bunker, a good 20 yards from the right green.
“I was kind of scared of that shot,” Bair said. “It’s the hardest shot in golf. I hit a great bunker shot and it was 3 feet (from the pin).”
As they say on SportsCenter, “useful shot that.” After a tap-in for birdie, Bair used his hybrid off the tee on nine. Finding the short stuff again, he used local knowledge crushing his 9-iron from 175 yards. The shot landed on the apron and trickled down to the center of the green. The junior jarred a 25-foot putt from there.
Bair got into trouble with an errant tee shot on the par-3 13th. Hitting three from the tee box, he salvaged a double, and wasn’t in a better mood after bogeying the last.
“I was just kind of bleeding on the back,” he said.
It should be noted that most local golfers would like to “bleed” a 41 on the back nine of their choosing.
Thumbs are overrated
Battle Mountain’s Martin was back in California last weekend doing some chores with his father and managed to take a chunk out of his right thumb. A few stitches, a few bandages and a glove later, he still shot a 79 Wednesday.
“I had a glove over it, but the last couple of holes it started to hurt a bit,” he said. “My chipping and putting was really good. It helped me a lot.”
Martin started on 18 with a a crushing 320-yard drive on the par-5. A well-placed 7-iron and two putts later, he had his birdie and was on his way to a nice 79.
Chow avoided bee stings, a problem at a tournament earlier this month at Battlement Mesa, and fixed his slice with the help of local pro Tom Apple.
“He just tweaked (my swing) a little, just got everything back on plane where it was in the beginning of the summer,” Chow said.
Chow was even for the first third of his round, thanks to a visit to the bird sanctuary on the par-4 sixth. After a costly double on eight, Chow more than righted the ship with an eagle on 14.
On the course’s longest hole he was a bit right with his drive, but still fine. The senior’s second shot was perfectly placed on the apron between to hole’s two front bunkers. All he did with his third was chip in from 35 yards.
“I just tried to put it in there snug and tight and it just went in,” Chow said.
Cameron Brown rounded out Battle Mountain’s scoring with an 83.
Making their case
Bair sizzled for Eagle Valley and freshman Austin Fahrenholtz continued to impress with a 90. Chris Brubeck posted Eagle Valley’s third score at 91. Ethan Smith continued his up-and-down year with a 94. Bryan Matthews had a day he’d rather forget, shooting a 98. Brian Brennan was out with food poisoning.
Though he wasn’t playing varsity, Cooper Adams gave Ewing a good problem by firing an 84. Starting on the 15th, Adams was flirting with 80 before a bogey stretch at the end of his round.
Eagle Valley will get home course advantage today at Cotton Ranch.
“All the Battle Mountain guys, they did well at their home course,” Adams said. “Hopefully, we’ll do the same at our course.”
Possessing vast experience with course’s featured mesa holes ” Nos. 5-8 ” the advantage swings to the Devils, especially if Brennan is ready to go.
“I like the holes on the mesa,” Bair said. “I think you can score there because you only hit your driver on six. If I can be even through the mesa or shoot well through the front, I can take care of the back.”
“I’d love to shoot a 230-235,” Ewing said. “We’d have to have guys shooting in the mid- to low-70s. We’ve got four guys capable of doing that with Brian Brennan back.”
Sports Editor Chris Freud can be reached at 748-2934 or firstname.lastname@example.org.