Aspen golf struggles in opener | AspenTimes.com

Aspen golf struggles in opener

Jon Maletz
The Aspen Times
Aspen, CO Colorado

Jeff Caspersen Glenwood Springs Post Independent

PARACHUTE, Colo. – As they drove back into town Thursday afternoon, Aspen High’s golfers asked head coach Mary Woulfe to drop them off at the course.

The team also will practice this morning on what typically is an off day. After a disappointing season opener in Parachute, there is work to be done.

Undermanned Aspen appeared overmatched at Battlement Mesa Golf Club. Standout senior Jesse Beetham struggled with some swing issues en route to a 3-over-par 75, and no other teammate finished with better than an 84 for the Skiers, who wound up sixth in a field of 3A, 4A and 5A squads.

Their score of 246 was 25 strokes higher than 5A Fruita Monument, who captured the team title in large part because of the play of medalist Troy Dangler and runner-up Hunter Emerson, who carded 71 and 72.

Vail Christian (233) finished third overall and first among 3As.

“I’m a little disappointed. It was a tough day,” said Woulfe, whose squad has won three consecutive regional crowns. “Nobody played well, and we got crushed. The course played tough, and the breaks are subtle at Battlement. They didn’t go our way.”

Recommended Stories For You

Seniors August So and Joseph Kistner finished with 84 and 87, respectively, while sophomore Trey Robinson shot 89 for the Skiers, who were without junior Clayton Crawford. Freshman Will Hazen carded a 92.

“We missed him today, definitely. You could feel it in the car on the way home – everybody was thinking it,” Woulfe said of Crawford, who Thursday wrapped up play in a junior tournament in Longmont with a 2-over 72 for a 54-hole total of 14-over.

“Things are going to be a little more competitive than they were last year. That shows the strength of Ryan Smith. Like I’ve been saying, Speedy’s shoes are going to be big ones to fill. When he was here he was always so consistent, right behind Jesse and Clayton.”

Beetham spent much of the day scrambling after an inauspicious start. An errant tee shot on his first hole resulted in a double bogey. He followed that up with a bogey and could not gain much traction the rest of the way.

“It was a bit of a struggle out there,” Beetham admitted. “There were tough pins, and on top of that my rhythm was off. My swing was not where it needed to be.

“It could’ve been a lot worse. I had a lot of great up-and-downs and at least salvaged the day.”

Beetham closed things out with two great shots and a birdie on his final hole. He’s hoping there will be many more positive moments Monday, when the team heads to Bookcliff Country Club in Grand Junction for the first of five tournaments in as many days.

“Everybody struggled today. I think there were some first-round nerves for some of the younger guys,” Beetham said. “I think things will even out once Clayton comes back – I know we’ll be a contending team. We’ve all just got to start playing like we know how to.”

jmaletz@aspentimes.com