Vail Valley preps: Brown, back in form, wins in Delta
DELTA, Colorado – Welcome back, Cameron Brown.
It’s not like the Battle Mountain golfer went anywhere or fell into a hole the last two weeks. It’s just that with the high goals the senior has for himself, the last two weeks, including a 78 at Eagle-Vail and an 80 at Cotton Ranch, young master Brown has not been a happy camper.
He was feeling much better at the 19th hole, sodas at the Chili’s, after firing a 69 to win at Devil’s Thumb Wednesday at the Delta Invitational.
“It feels good,” Brown said. “I didn’t think about much. I didn’t put too much pressure on myself. I just played my game.”
Teammates Michael Wilhelm carded a 79 and Dillon McDonald an 81 as the Huskies tied for third with Steamboat Springs with 229 strokes behind Durango (225) and Cortez (227).
Meanwhile, Eagle Valley’s red team, theoretically the JV squad, knocked off the Devils black squad, the varsity, by one stroke, 254-255, to earn bragging rights as everybody heads to Cobble Creek for another tournament today.
‘We’re working on it’
After opening his round with a par on the fourth hole, Brown reached the par-5 fifth in two and got his first birdie of the day. The senior moved to 2-under with a tweeter on the par-3 seventh.
Brown went two-over with five pars and two bogeys on the next seven holes. That included the a par on the drivable par-4 13th, where Brown accidentally drove into teammate McDonald. No intra-team punishment has been designated yet.
“But we’re working on it,” McDonald joked.
After yet another birdie on the 15th – he birdied all of the loop’s par-5s – Brown dropped a stroke on the par-3 17th, and moved back to even. He birdied three of his final four holes – Nos. 18, 2 and 3 – to finish the day in fine style.
That run included a 30-foot putt which found nothing but the cup on 18 and driving the green on the short par-4 third with two putts for a tweeter on his last hole of the day.
“I really don’t keep track of where I’m at with my score,” Brown said. “I have an idea, maybe, that I’m 1-under or 2-under, but I’m just playing my game and trying to make putts.”
In other breaking news for Battle Mountain golf, freshman Wilhelm shot a 79 Wednesday. That’s three-straight rounds of 79 for the freshman who has been the delightful surprise of the season.
“Michael’s just been shooting consistently well,” McDonald said. “He’s helping us a lot.”
McDonald helped the cause with his 81. He visited the bird sanctuary on Nos. 18 and 2. His score helped the Huskies into a tie for third with regional rival Steamboat Springs. With Durango a 5A school come regionals, the Huskies found themselves tied for second among the 4A teams at Wednesday’s tournament.
“It’s cool, but I definitely can go lower,” McDonald. “I should have played better, but I didn’t putt today.”
Eagle Valley golf coach Tom Buzbee cleverly divides his program into black (varsity), red (JV), while and silver teams (younger players). The idea is to send these different teams to as many tournaments as possible to maximize the amount of golf his players can play in a compressed high school season.
But every so often his players throw a wrench in the system. Though the difference this year between black and red is not as defined as last year when the likes of Jamison Bair, Bryan Brennan, Bryan Matthews and Chris Brubeck pretty much had their black golf shirts stitched to their body, the Eagle Valley red team pulled the upset Wednesday, edging the varsity by a stroke.
“It’s definitely a pride thing. We get to rub it in and make (the black team) feel better about themselves,” joked the red team’s Jalen Aquino. “It’s all friendly in the end.”
Aquino and the black team’s Austin Farhrenholtz tied for top honors for Eagle Valley with 82s. Eagle Valley’s Taylor Sanchez (red), Cooper Senn (red) and Nick Bontempo (black) all formed a logjam at 86.
“It was an upside down day,” Buzbee said. “It got all jumbled up. This happened last year once. The black team took some ribbing, but that good. It’s nice to see the red team having a good day.”
For Aquino and Sanchez, their scores were season lows. Aquino’s high school low, though is a 78, which came at Cobble Creek last year. And in one of those nice coincidences, Battle Mountain and Eagle Valley head to the Montrose course today for a tourney.
“It’s a straight course,” Aquino said. “Water comes into play pretty much on every hole. As long as I stay in the fairway, like last year, I definitely have some confidence.”
Sports Editor Chris Freud can be reached at 970-748-2934 or firstname.lastname@example.org.