A trying tune-up at Aspen golf invite
The Aspen Times
Aspen, CO Colorado
ASPEN ” As he walked off the 11th tee, Aspen’s Bobby Moyer shook his head.
“Things aren’t going so well,” he said, rolling his eyes.
Three holes later, after a three putt from inside 10 feet, the freshman tossed his ball off the back of the green, crouched down and put his head in his hands. Later, after completing a lackluster round of 88, he jokingly told teammates he was considering giving up golf altogether.
The Aspen Golf Course got the best of Moyer in Tuesday’s Aspen High School Invitational.
He wasn’t alone.
On a day when pesky greens, abundant hazards and an extended layout nearly 6,700 yards in length frustrated players and inflated scores, Steamboat Springs’ Alan Capistron fittingly clinched medalist honors with a double bogey on the first playoff hole.
“I didn’t think I’d have a chance to win with a 77,” said Capistron, who edged out Moffat County’s Nick Moyer. “I got lucky a couple times, especially on that last hole.”
Good fortune was rare Tuesday. Just eight players managed to shoot in the 70s on a course that will host 3A and 4A regionals Sept. 23. Both local teams finished well off the pace; Aspen and Basalt wound up 11th and 13th out of 14. Bobby Moyer and the Longhorns’ No. 1, junior Marty Knous, each shot 17-over.
Coulter Young finished with 89, and Omri Gildor and Tommy Doyle each carded 96 for the Skiers. Knous and Patrick Hall (93) were the lone Basalt golfers to break 100.
While the day was devoid of low scores, it did yield high drama. Battle Mountain (237) outlasted Steamboat in a one-hole playoff. Moffat County (245) was third, Montrose (251) fourth and Montezuma-Cortez (255) fifth.
Nick Moyer admittedly was fighting back nerves as he stood on the tee at the par-4 18th, waiting for the playoff to begin. After Capistron hit a 3-wood into the left rough, Moyer, driver in hand, launched a low liner that bounded off the ground and barely made it to the fairway. He was forced to lay up.
After Capistron’s second shot nestled into some tall grass to the left of the green, Moyer chunked his pitch. The ball landed short of the putting surface and spun back into a small stream. He was forced to take a drop.
Capistron provided Moyer a slim glimmer of hope when his third shot rolled onto the fringe to the right of the green, then he came up well short with the ensuing putt. But Moyer’s putt for double bogey rolled left and past the cup.
Capistron two-putted for the double and his first win in his first round in Aspen.
“That was a tough way to end a good round,” Moyer said. “It was my first playoff, and I think I choked. … I played well, I just had some bad breaks.”
Moyer, who failed to break 90 in two previous trips to Aspen, was one bounce away from winning outright. His approach from 100 yards at the 16th flew into the cup, then shot 20 feet straight into the air.
Capistron, meanwhile, was the beneficiary of some good luck. He hit two provisional tee shots at No. 11, assuming his first two drives had sailed out of play, but later found his first ball. His second shot at the par-5 15th hit the cart path and bounded into a cluster of trees. When he found his ball, he had an unobstructed look at the green.
Consistency also paid dividends for the sophomore. Capistron, who shot 79 five times in eight previous tournaments this season, did not record a double bogey.
Every shot was at a premium on a day in which 10 players finished within five shots of the lead.
“It’s going to be a really good regional tournament,” Aspen head coach Mary Woulfe said. “Everyone is really close this year.”
She would know. Woulfe had as many as eight players vying for five varsity spots this season. In the end, the Skiers’ junior varsity outscored the varsity Tuesday. Had Ryan Smith, who shot a team-best 83, played varsity, Aspen would’ve finished first among 3A schools.
Finishing first Sept. 23 will be more important.
“If we could play eight guys, we’d win 3A,” Woulfe said. “We have so many guys competing for that three, four and five spot, it’s hard to know who to play. It’s up in the air right now [who will play in regionals].”
Nick Moyer is eager for another shot at the Aspen Golf Course.
“Today I just wanted to break 90 and get a feel for this course,” he said. “It’s tricky, but I’m starting to feel comfortable here. It’s going to be exciting.”
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This decision is part of a game plan to focus on giant slalom and slalom in the early part of season. Shiffrin will likely also pass on a speed stop in Val d’Isere from Dec. 18-20.