Second squad surge for Eagle Valley
Vail, CO Colorado
GYPSUM ” As the Eagle Valley golfers made their way into the clubhouse and handed coach Glen Ewing their scorecards Thursday, the situation became pretty clear.
The second team, or designated JV squad for the day, was going to beat the varsity team.
Then, as the scores kept coming in from other teams, it looked more and more like the Eagle Valley No. 2s were going to win the Devils’ home tournament at Cotton Ranch.
Only when Steamboat ” the final team to report ” posted a 242 did the Devils slip out of first place. Eagle Valley’s No. 2 team shot a 250, with it’s first team at 253. Battle Mountain was fourth at 257. Eagle Valley’s No. 3 team tied for fifth with Coal Ridge at 276.
“We didn’t have this problem three years ago,” Ewing said of his team’s depth. “Now, you don’t know who to pick to be in the top five. It’s wonderful to have such a talented team, but we do need to pick up our consistency a little more.”
Each team is allotted five golfers, with the top three scoring. Two of Eagle Valley’s top three golfers had off days, while four of the five Devils on the No. 2 team and one on the No. 3 team would have scored for the first team.
Ewing has his top three golfers set on varsity, but has been rotating in golfers to fill the final two spots, two of whom had excellent rounds for the No. 2 Devils team Thursday. Freshman Austin Fahrenholtz had an 80, his personal best at Cotton Ranch, while Ethan Smith overcame an early bogey trio of triple-double-triple to pull in an 85.
Kevin Stough rounded things out for the Eagle Valley winning squad with an 85.
Bryan Matthews led Eagle Valley’s No. 1 team with an 80, followed by Jamison Bair at 85. Brian Brennan, who was overcoming a bout of food poisoning, pulled in an 88.
“They should be about 20 (strokes) under that,” Ewing said. “Jamison shot a 77 yesterday at a tough course (Eagle-Vail Golf Club), then comes here and shoots an 85. Bryan Matthews shoots a 98 at (Eagle-Vail), his career high, then comes back and shoots an 80, which is pretty close to his career low. That’s the way golf goes.”
Battle Mountain coach Cassie Desmone had a similar assessment to Ewing’s on the bounces of golf.
“I don’t know where to begin,” Desmone said. “These kids know this course, almost as much as (Battle Mountain’s home course) Eagle-Vail. They just had an off day … It’s golf for you. That’s the game. You forget it happened.”
Dustin Martin, coming off a 79 Wednesday at Eagle-Vail, led Battle Mountain with an 80. Geoffrey Funk carded an 88, followed by a higher-than-normal 89 for Cameron Brown.
“If I pared 17 it would have been a 79,” said Martin, whose score last year at the same tournament was, “three digits, let’s say.”
Matthews rebounded wonderfully from Wednesday and did just about everything right Thursday.
“I shot an 86 last year and in tryouts I shot an 84 (at Cotton Ranch),” he said. “So mid 80s is a really good score. Of course there’s always your two holes where you knew you could have done better on. But I played well today. The whole day I was hitting solid shots. My driver was on. All my irons were on.”
Fahrenholtz kicked off the shotgun-start tournament by sinking a 40-foot putt on No. 5, then followed with two pars and a bogie for an impressive even on Cotton Ranch’s mesa section of the course. Previously, Fahrenholtz’s best round at Cotton Ranch was an 83, and the freshman was close to breaking into the 70s.
“I had a lot of three-putts I should have made,” Fahrenholtz said.
“We’re very happy with the way Austin played,” Ewing said. “Dustin Aruello is playing well, too. He’s been pretty consistent.”
Aruello, another freshman, shot an 84.
“We’ve got Austin and Dustin, two of the three ‘tin’ men playing well,” Ewing said. “If we can get the other ‘tin’ man, (freshman) Westin (Blevins) in there, we’ll be good.”
After three holes, Smith ” at eight-over ” could have easily called it a day, but the senior gutted it out, playing the final 15 holes at five-over with only one double bogey.
“That’s my first time I’ve been in the 80s all year,” said Smith who has either been in the 70s or 90s.
Rounding things out for the Devils’ No. 2 squad, Jake Lammert had an 87, while Evan Buzbee shot 106. For the first squad, Chris Brubeck had an 89 and Cooper Adams pulled in a 96. Jalen Aquino shot a 94.
Brennan, who went to the hospital last night for his food poisoning, still wanted to play Thursday and didn’t think his sickness excused his play.
“Who cares where I was last night,” Brennan told Ewing. “I should have shot in the 70s.”
Battle Mountain’s Diego Gaspar, who shook off a 10 on one hole and shot an 88, had a painful day.
“Someone hit me with a golf ball,” he said. “I just felt something and then I was on the ground.”
Gaspar’s left ankle took a direct hit from a ball that another golfer topped from 60 yards away.
“It was going to go into the sand. It bounced 30 yards to the left, right off my bone. It didn’t bounce (on the way) either.”
The good-natured Gaspar took a direct shot in the back last year during a tournament in Aspen.
Brown didn’t have his best day, but found some luck with a pink ball.
“I was one over on six holes, but it doesn’t go far,” Brown said. “I always play well with the pink ball.”
The ball, despite its solid performance, was retired by Brown after the round.
Other Huskies golfers at the tournament were Matt Berry (99), Sam Sterling (93) and William Thompson (93).
Sports Writer Ian Cropp can be reached at 748-2935 or firstname.lastname@example.org.