McLennan leads AHS victory
Led by junior Patrick McLennan, the Aspen High School golf team won its second prep tournament of the season Tuesday evening in Aspen.
McLennan, 16, drained a 20-foot birdie putt on the second hole of a four-man playoff to win the individual tournament and secure Aspen’s four-stroke victory over second-place Basalt. Sixteen teams from around the Western Slope competed in the invitational tournament.
McLennan shot a 2-over-par 73 over 18 holes at the Aspen Municipal Golf Course, which put him in a four-way tie with Devon Child and Trevor Johnson, both of Basalt, as well as Kevin Denton of Battle Mountain. All four players parred the first playoff hole.
Johnson and Child “missed the green off the tee, so they had to chip on to the green,” McLennan said Wednesday. Denton drove “onto the green, and he was further out, but he missed his birdie put.”
“So then I had the crack at it and made it,” he continued. “I was so nervous though.”
Golf coach Alden Richards noted that McLennan “sank a pretty good-sized putt. But he didn’t look nervous – I saw a smirk on his face when he knocked it in.”
AHS senior Colt Hartrich and teammate Nate Walla shot 77s to tie for third place in individual scoring. AHS golfer Grant Gracis shot a 79, followed by Cameron Wenzel with an 82. In high school golf, the top three scorers on teams of five count toward the team’s cumulative score.
“It was cool having the high school team win it here in Aspen,” Richards said. “They know the course, and they stepped up. They’re playing consistently and not making mistakes.”
McLennan, whose family moved to Aspen this summer from Hilton Head, South Carolina, said he tried to capitalize on his new home course.
“I knew I had to take advantage of that,” he said.
On Aug. 15 in Grand Junction, the AHS golf team won its first Colorado high school tournament outright in eight years. A week later, on Aug. 23, the AHS team finished second to a strong Durango team at a tournament in Gunnison.
So today, brimming with confidence, the AHS golf team travels to Rifle to play another high school tournament against a similar field of teams from the Western Slope.
“I think the team is coming together really well,” McLennan said. “Last year, I understand our team was so-so, but now that we’ve won a few, we’ve got more confidence in ourselves and each other. Hopefully, we can make it to states and do well there.”
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