Vail Valley preps: Wilhelm wins at Lakota Canyon
NEW CASTLE – Battle Mountain’s golf’s Michael Wilhelm is good to go for regionals next week. In fact, if regionals start immediately, the Huskies sophomore probably wouldn’t mind.
Wilhelm ripped up Lakota Canyon to the tune of a 2-under-par 70, winning the final regular-season tournament tournament before Cobble Creek in Montrose on Tuesday.
“I know scores are going to be low at regionals, so this was good,” Wilhelm said.
Earlier this month, Wilhelm carded a 72 at Cobble Creek and finished fourth. That was his best round in high school competition until Thursday.
Wilhelm started out with four pars, before birdieing the par-5 fifth with a 340-yard drive, a 6-iron to the green and a two-putt. He went to 2-under with a another on No. 8. There, he used a 7-iron off a very elevated tee, where one can run out fairway quickly. Wilhelm’s 60-degree wedge put him within 3 feet for the tweeter.
Wilhelm closed of the front with a a three-putt for bogey on the par-3 ninth. He had two lip-outs on that slippery green. Wilhelm made up that stroke on No. 11, a par-5, with a combo of driver, pitching wedge and a two-putt.
The sophomore had his only serious trouble of the day on the par-4 16th, which is No. 1 on the card. His 8-iron approach went into the green-side bunker and he promptly bladed his shot out of the sand. Wilhelm recovered nicely with a punch-out from the rough and 12-footer for bogey.
He got back to 2-under with a birdie on the drop-shot 17th and played the home hole, a precarious par-5, as a three-shotter.
“I knew I was 2-under,” Wilhelm said “I just wanted to get in.”
Wilhelm won by four strokes over Summit County’s Dylan Mitchell. And by the by, this was the first time that Wilhelm’s dad watched him in high school tournament.
“He thinks I play better when he’s there,” Wilhelm said. “I did today.”
Dad will be going to regionals, where the Huskies think they have good shot as a team with Wilhelm, Dillon and Brady McDonald and Mike Jones as their foursome.
“I think we definitely can win,” Wilhelm said. “Summit showed up today and they’re pretty good. I think if we do what we can do, we can win.”
The rest of Battle Mountain’s regional players had the day off, but the Huskies still managed second place with 236 strokes, 11 behind Summit. Collin Hanson and Lucas Kern both had 83s for Battle Mountain.
Eagle Valley finished tied for fourth in its final tuneup. Tanner Coulter led the way with an 80, followed by Nick Bontempo (83) and Austin Fahrenholtz (85).
Vail Christian had one of its better days of the year, taking ninth. Parker Poage was tied for seventh with a 78. Robbie Bowles and Jordan Mesch carded an 88 and 89, respectively.
Battle Mountain, Eagle Valley, Vail Christian and Vail Mountain all head down to Montrose Monday for a practice round and then fight it out for state berths on Tuesday.
Sports Editor Chris Freud can be reached at 970-748-2934 or email@example.com.