Vail Valley preps: Devils’ Coulter makes the cut
CRAIG – Tanner Coulter, come on down.
Thursday’s round was not the prettiest – very little was on a fiercely windy day in Craig – but Eagle Valley golf’s Tanner Coulter carded an 88 and secured the fourth and final spot on the Devils’ regional team in Montrose at Cobble Creek later this month.
“It’s cool,” Coulter, a junior said. “It’s my first year back golfing since I broke my back. It’s good to be on the regional team. I didn’t expect it.”
Coulter, who had a stress fracture in his back from playing golf and baseball, ironically shot one of his poorer rounds of the season ironically. That said on a very windy day, beauty is in the eye of the beholder,
Coulter’s task was clear. His magic number for his season scoring average was 97 or lower to join Nick Bontempo, Austin Fahrenholtz and Dustin Arguello for the regional tournament.
“I didn’t come in with a different approach,” Coulter said. “If I really blew up, I wouldn’t make it. I needed to stay away from the big number.”
And that was easier said than done on a gusty day that blew golf balls all over the place at Yampa. With gusts of 40 mph, Coulter joked that he “hit every hazard.” His short game, however, was impeccable. Coulter got up-and-down nine times, had consecutive one-putts on hole Nos. 12-17, and just one three-putt.
That’s how you score and that’s why Coulter is bound for regionals.
“There were no pretty shots,” Coulter said. “You just had to be crafty,”
And so Eagle Valley heads into the final two regular-season tourneys of the year – Aspen Tuesday and Lakota Canyon Thursday – with the squad set.
“I like the variety,” Devils coach Tom Buzbee said. “Nick plays a power game. He doesn’t back down from anything. Austin is more of a tactician, thinking his way around the golf course. Dustin is a riverboat gambler who can fabricate shots. Tanner is the one with the short game. From 50 yards and in, I’ll take him every time. They’ll spend the week together and then go to Cobble Creek. Hopefully, everyone, will rub off on each other.”
CRAIG – Michael Wilhelm’s buying.
The Battle Mountain sophomore had his first hole-in-one Thursday, acing Yampa Valley’s par-3 seventh on his way to a 79, good for second in the field, on a blustery day up in Craig.
“He has to take us out for ice cream,” Huskies coach Cassie Desmone joked.
“Probably chocolate milk,” Wilhelm said.
Despite being battered by the wind, the Huskies finished tied for second with Rifle among varsity squads Thursday with a 247 behind only Fruita Monument. Wilhelm was behind only Rifle’s Tristan Quiqley (76).
No. 7 was just Wilhelm’s second of the day. He pulled 8-iron for 178-yarder with the wind behind him.
“I was just trying to get it on the green. It was so windy,” Wilhelm said. “I aimed right. It landed right near the pin. One of the guys in my group said, ‘It’s in.”
Wilhelm didn’t know until he got to the green. He saw only one ball on the surface, which he knew wasn’t his. Initially he thought he had gone over, but he then checked the hole. He saved the ball and plans to get his scorecard framed.
Dillon McDonald had a good start, but a rough finish with an 84. Andrew Sady also came around with that score. Brady McDonald finished with an 88 and Mike Jones with an 89.
Sports Editor Chris Freud can be reached at 970-748-2934 or firstname.lastname@example.org.