Vail Christian’s Bowles going to state
EDWARDS – You would have thought that Vail Christian might have gotten an e-mail or a postcard or something.
Thursday morning, Vail Christian principal and golf coach Jeremy Lowe went to chsaa.org to check out the 3A state golf tournament tee times for Monday.
“Being a rookie coach, I had gotten to know some of the other school’s coaches and players, and wanted to know when they would be playing,” said Lowe, who coached the Saints in their maiden voyage through high school golf this fall.
What he saw was quite the shock. Ladies and gentlemen, in the 9 a.m. Monday group from hole No. 1 at the Eaton Country Club, Vail Christian’s Robbie Bowles.
The prompted a heart-felt “holy mackerel” from the coach and a flurry of phone calls. Though neither Lowe nor the school’s athletic director Tim Pierson had heard from CHSAA on Bowles’ status as a second alternate to the state tournament, they confirmed it. Bowles is, in fact, going to state.
“Mr. Lowe called me and said I’m going,” Bowles said. “It was so exciting. I didn’t think I had a chance.”
Bowles shot an 87 at regionals last week down at Cobble Creek at Montrose. That was just outside the cut for a guaranteed berth at the 3A state tourney, but the sophomore did play in a playoff for alternate status, finishing second.
At the time, Lowe and Bowles took a wait-and-see approach, but honestly, it seemed a longshot. If Bowles were the first alternate, maybe. But second? Probably not.
“Like I said at the time, it was an honor for Robbie to be a second alternate,” Lowe said Thursday. “As a first-year program and Robbie being a sophomore, I’m excited for him and feel pride that Vail Christian will be represented at the state level.”
Bowles had not stopped practicing after regionals, though he didn’t think there was much of chance for him to go. Maybe now, they’ll put in putting green in the school’s gymnasium. If Bowles can hole out putts while the Saints volleyball team is practicing, he’s probably ready to go.
Seriously, Bowles’ invitation is not unprecedented. Two years ago, Eagle Valley’s Bryan Brennan was hoping to get the call as a first alternate. Then-Devils coach Tom Buzbee got a call from CHSAA saying Brennan had made it because the state’s high school sports governing organization mandates 84 players at the state tournament.
In Bowles’s case, four teams qualified from each of the 3A regional tournaments along with 10 individuals (not from the qualifying teams) from the quartet of tourneys. Said number likely did not add up to 84, so CHSAA went to the alternates of those regionals and Bowles has a 9 a.m. tee time Monday.
However it happened, Lowe and Bowles are understandably excited. Bowles said his main concerns when it comes to competing in state are his putting and overall mindset. The good news is that Bowles gets a practice round at Eaton on Sunday before the tournament begins.
“I think the first couple of holes, I’ll be nervous,” Bowles said. “After that, my nerves will calm down. That first drive is always the hardest.”
Sports Editor Chris Freud can be reached at 970-748-2934 or firstname.lastname@example.org.