Vail Valley preps: Jones leads Huskies golf to win
STEAMBOAT SPRINGS – Battle Mountain’s golf’s Big Three is back after Wednesday’s tournament at the Haymaker Golf Club in Steamboat.
It’s just not the three one would expect.
Mike Jones – surprise – led the Huskies with a 74, earning second place individually as Battle Mountain won the tournament. The Huskies shot a 233, five strokes ahead of Steamboat Springs. Eagle Valley’s red team was 11th (262) as the Devils try to sort out the four players they will be sending to regionals at Cobble Creek in Montrose Sept. 21. The Vail Mountain School was 12th (267).
Conventional wisdom is that Battle Mountain golf’s Big Three is Michael Wilhelm, Dillon McDonald and Brady McDonald with Jones and Andrew Sady battling it out for the fourth spot.
Not only did Jones likely go a long way to nailing down the fourth spot for regionals in less than two weeks with his 74 Wednesday, but he’s making a case that when it comes to Huskies golf, it’s actually the Big Four.
“I hope so,” Jones said when talking about his regional chances. “That was the lowest round of my life.”
While Jones doubtless will save his card from Wednesday, he’s had a 79 at Gyspum Creek and an 80 a Tiara Rado this year. So this actually shouldn’t come as much of a surprise.
Jones started on Haymaker’s second, and after two bogeys in the first three holes, he smoked an 8-iron to within 2 feet on No. 5 for a tap-in birdie. As became the pattern on the day, Jones responded to problems like a double on No, 8 with birdies, as he did on the par-5 ninth. That sequence was a booming drive, a smooth 8-iron and easy two-putt.
After finishing the front 2-over par, he started his back with tweeters on Nos. 11 and 12. He drove the par-four 11th and then sank a 20-footer on the par-3 12th. He followed with a bogey and a double, the latter being an unsightly four-putt. But the golf gods taketh and giveth. After the four-putt, he promptly canned a 25-footer for birdie on the 15th.
Finishing his day on No. 1, Jones ended with his sixth birdie.
“It’s nice to come out and play well, especially after the last couple of tournaments where I haven’t been playing well,” Jones said. My putting was hot and I was hitting great shots off the tee.”
And this was good for Battle Mountain because Mike picked up Michael. Wilhelm had a bad day by his standards with an 81, but with Dillon McDonald at 79, Brady McDonald at 80 and Jones at 74, Wednesday was the Huskies third win of the season.
This is quite a delight for longtime Battle Mountain golf coach Cassie Desmone’s whose time-worn lament has been finding a third golfer for scoring at regionals. A perfect example was last year’s squad with Cameron Brown, the eventual regional champion, leading the charge followed by then-freshman Wilhelm in the No. 2 hole and then a either Dillon or Brady McDonald or others alternately being that inconsistent third.
Now, the coach has four who can shoot in the 70s.
“I knew it was coming with Mike,” Desmone said. “Now we’ve got to get Michael and Brady going again.”
Eagle Valley’s team finish in 11th was really irrelevant. The greater importance for the Devils is finding their fourth for regionals at Cobble Creek.
Coach Tom Buzbee selects his final four based on scoring average, and so Wednesday’s tournament at Haymaker and today’s at Yampa in Craig are the last chance for members of Eagle Valley’s red team to play their way into that spot.
From the black team, which is at home this week, Nick Bontempo, Austin Fahrenholtz and Dustin Arguello are on the regional team. The black team’s Stuart Rasmussen holds the No. 4 spot for regionals right now.
But he’s probably going to be doing some serious texting today. While Hayden Floyd and Alec Sterkel led the Devils with 86s Wednesday, Tanner Coulter, who shot a 90, is the one with the greatest chance to overtake Rasmussen for that fourth regional spot today in Yampa.
“They’re all fighting to make that No. 4 spot, and it’s becoming a little more difficult with each day,” Buzbee said. “We talked after today and each guy knows what they have to shoot (at Yampa) to make it. They have their magic number.”
Sports Editor Chris Freud can be reached at 970-748-2934 or email@example.com.