Local is no match for coach’s son
Golf can be brutal. Thankfully, Andy Sopczyk has a sense of humor.Down five holes to Kirk Adams on Sunday in a match-play showdown to decide the men’s city championship at the Aspen Golf Club, Sopczyk was hoping for a good tee shot on the par-4 12th to have a chance of making a comeback.Instead, the 45-year-old local hooked his drive into the rough on the left side of the fairway, with the ball landing just in front a port-a-potty that was tucked between some trees.”It’s just the way my round has gone,” Sopczyk said sarcastically. “In the [expletive].”Sopczyk actually pulled the toilet away from his lie – which was completely within the rules – to hit a good second shot and salvage a tie for 4 with Adams on the hole.But the damage had already been done. After trailing by two after 18 holes, Sopczyk three-putted on the first hole of the second round, then got bogged down in a bunker on the next hole to fall to four holes behind Adams.”I hate to say it, but that was it after that,” said Sopczyk, who is partially retired and has played golf nearly every day this summer. “The air was out of my balloon and I was done. I could have walked in from there, it wouldn’t have mattered. It was just exercise and courtesy at that point.”After Sopczyk’s miscue at No. 12, Adams only needed one more hole – the par-5 13th – to reel in his first city championship. After losing in the final pairing of the city championship seven years ago, Adams savored the win with his father, Henry – the varsity golf coach at Aspen High – and his caddie, Sean Groover, a four-time city champ.
“It’s very gratifying,” said Adams, who came back to Aspen this summer after spending the last six years in Santa Barbara, Calif. “I didn’t play very well today, but it’s whatever. You just come out here and you’ve got to win. That’s all there is to it.”After grinding out a tough semifinal win against local attorney Adam Gillespie, Adams said he felt good about his chances entering Sunday’s 36-hole match.Gillespie led Adams by two holes with four to play in a round of 18, but Adams tied up the match, then won on the 19th hole.”I felt good when I got through that one – real good about my chances,” Adams said. “I didn’t putt very well today, but I hit good shot after good shot and put a lot of pressure on [Sopczyk].”Four other city titles were handed out Sunday as the month-long tournament – featuring some 60 locals – came to a close. Danielle Leffler took the women’s city championship by winning her match against Annie Gabriel in 16 holes. Adams won the men’s championship flight, which consisted of the 16 locals with the best handicaps.The other three men’s flights were seeded in descending order in regard to handicap, with seven players of comparable ability in the first flight, 10 in the second flight and six in the third.In the first flight, David Amory defeated Chris Uber by two strokes after 18 holes. In the second flight, Bob Coover defeated Pat Mitchell after leading by four with three holes to play. John Rigney won the third flight by the same margin in his championship match against Gil Moriarty.Nate Peterson’s e-mail address is firstname.lastname@example.org
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