Beetham, Aspen golfers win in Junction | AspenTimes.com

Beetham, Aspen golfers win in Junction

Jon Maletz
The Aspen Times
Aspen, CO Colorado

GRAND JUNCTION, Colo. – Disheartened by his round of 80 on Monday, Aspen’s Jesse Beetham switched putters with teammate Omri Gildor before Tuesday’s tournament at Tiara Rado Golf Course in Grand Junction.

Beetham might not give it back any time soon.

The freshman, competing in just his third varsity event, finished with a 1-over-par 73, overcoming a four-putt and some inconsistent play down the stretch to earn medalist honors. Bobby Moyer shot 74 and Conor Hansen tied his personal best with 76 for the Skiers, who bested a field of 3A and 4A schools to clinch the team title.

Aspen finished first among 3As on Monday at Bookcliff Country Club in Junction.

“All in all, it couldn’t have been a better day today,” head coach Mary Woulfe said. “It’s unbelievable. I sat there and looked at [the leaderboard], and I was thinking ‘Jesse is going to win. No way.'”

“I was very surprised [by the way I played],” added Beetham. “I thought I would kind of choke in my first year.”

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Hardly. Beetham, who started on the back nine, made the turn Tuesday at 3-under – he birdied 14, 15 and 16 – then overcame some adversity down the stretch to hold off Moyer, who tied for second with Battle Mountain’s Cameron Brown.

After reaching the green in regulation at the fifth, Beetham hit behind the ball on his first putt, then was “too aggressive” on the second, knocking it 5 feet past the hole. After the third putt lipped out, he tapped in for a double bogey.

“After that, I thought he would fold,” Woulfe admitted. “He just hung in there, though, which was great. … He pulled it out. He could’ve shot 71 easily.”

Beetham split the fairway at the sixth, then got up-and-down to save par.

“I had some bogeys coming in, but I kept it together I thought, he said. “I’m feeling comfortable. … We’re really happy with the progress we’ve made.”

Basalt head coach Steve Knous does not share that sentiment. A day after finishing third among 3A teams, the Longhorns dropped to fourth Tuesday (Montrose and Eagle Valley were second and third, respectively). No. 1 Marty Knous shot 78, while Patrick Hall and Dylan Rakowski struggled, finishing with 94 and 95, respectively.

Knous could’ve gone much lower; the senior was 1-under after nine but couldn’t wiggle out of trouble down the stretch.

“I don’t know, but for some reason the kids had a really tough time today,” Steve Knous said. “It just wasn’t working for them. … I’m not going to get upset about it just yet, because I know they’re capable of shooting better scores.

“Sometimes, when kids have a bad hole or two, they have a hard time getting back on track. They get upset with themselves a little, and golf is one of those games where, if you let your emotions get too high, it’ll be detrimental to your score. I think that happened today. … Aspen crushed us.”

jmaletz@aspentimes.com