Aspen’s Crawford solid at junior golf event | AspenTimes.com

Aspen’s Crawford solid at junior golf event

Jon Maletz
The Aspen Times
Aspen, CO Colorado

Summit Daily/Mark Fox

The fine tuning continues.

As he prepares for his starring role on the Aspen High golf team, which kicks off its fall season Thursday in Parachute, Clayton Crawford admits his game is a work in progress. That was clear Tuesday, when he put together a stellar if not dynamic round at an American Junior Golf Association event at Longmont’s Fox Hill Club.

The junior fired a 5-over-par 75 – one shot behind former Skiers teammate Ryan Smith, of Snowmass Village – and sits in the middle of the 72-golfer field. Ben Davis, of Las Vegas, set the early pace in the 54-hole tournament with a 4-under 66.

“I played all right. It wasn’t awful, but I definitely feel like I could’ve scored better,” Crawford said. “My swing has been a little rough the last few days. … I’m just trying to make some small changes. I’m struggling with making big numbers on holes during tournaments. I guess I’ve been trying to make a hero shot when I should just punch it out of the trees or something. I’m trying to eliminate those.”

He succeeded on that front on a blustery Tuesday, but Crawford failed to challenge for the lead on the 6,815-yard layout.

He opened with a birdie at No. 1, and then strung together four pars. Crawford ran into trouble from there, however.

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A three-putt at No. 6 yielded a bogey, and his second shot at the par-5 seventh landed in a water hazard, leading to another dropped shot.

He could not get up and down out of a greenside bunker at No. 8, falling to 2-over.

“I could’ve gotten into more trouble on that par 5, and at nine I had a lip-out for birdie and made par,” Crawford said. “It was pretty solid.”

He drilled a fairway bunker and missed the green at No. 10 and 11, respectively, resulting in bogeys. He parred six of seven on the way in, including a memorable up-and-down at No. 17.

Crawford is slated to compete in today’s second round. Then, he’ll join his Aspen teammates Thursday at Battlement Mesa Golf Club to begin the pursuit of a state championship.

The Skiers won seven of nine tournaments during one stretch last fall, captured a third-consecutive regional championship and finished second at state, 16 strokes behind six-time defending champion Kent Denver.

“I can’t wait. It should be another great year,” Crawford said. “We were close last year, and we’re going to miss some of those seniors, but we’ve got a lot of young, talented players.”

jmaletz@aspentimes.com