Basalt golfers struggle in season opener | AspenTimes.com

Basalt golfers struggle in season opener

Jon Maletz
The Aspen Times
Aspen, CO Colorado

BATTLEMENT MESA, Colo. – Sophomore Dylan Rakowski rolled in a nearly 100-foot birdie putt on a par 3 in Thursday’s season opener. It was a rare thrilling moment on a trying day for the Basalt golf team at Battlement Mesa Golf Course.

Rakowski, the Longhorns’ No. 1, finished with 91 and teammates Austin Vannice and Tristan Rohrbaugh carded 88 and 94, respectively. Basalt finished seventh in a field of 16 teams – 34 strokes behind rival Aspen.

“There were some hiccups here and there,” first-year head coach Al Rakowski said. “We’re a young team and I think there were some first-tournament jitters. Some of the guys I expected to do well didn’t.”

Dylan Rakowski out-dueled freshman Rohrbaugh in Wednesday’s thrilling nine-hole team qualifier at Ironbridge Golf Club, prevailing on the first playoff hole after both carded 40s.

He could not keep that momentum going Thursday, despite an auspicious start to his round.

“He started out on a par 5 and got a routine par. Everything seemed to be going well,” coach Rakowski said. “I didn’t catch up with him until two holes later. I asked my wife, ‘How’s he doing?’ She gave me a half smile. I was hanging with Dylan and I knew his body language wasn’t indicative of a good score.

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“He was disappointed. He knows he’s a much better player than that and he was hoping to do better.”

He was not the only one. Six players broke 80, likely the result of intermittent wind and the fact that coaches opted to play from the gold tees instead of the traditional silver – a difference of more than 600 yards. As a result, competitors contended with a par 72 layout that totaled 6,695 yards.

Vannice, a junior, was encouraged by his round.

“I want to say this is one of Austin’s better efforts,” Al Rakowski said. “He’s pretty excited about it.”

The Longhorns will look to climb the leaderboard Monday when they visit Bookcliff Country Club in Grand Junction.

“I’m not going to go ahead and holler at the guys. … A lot of it is a confidence thing. Success breeds success,” coach Rakowski said. “They’ll be there. We’ll get all the cylinders firing.”

jmaletz@aspentimes.com