Aspen golfers top field at 3A regional |

Aspen golfers top field at 3A regional

Jon MaletzThe Aspen TimesAspen, CO Colorado
Aspen golfer Ryan Smith chips onto the green at the Haymaker golf course during Tuesday's regional tournament.

STEAMBOAT SPRINGS, Colo. – Aspen golf coach Mary Woulfe’s young team is all grown up. Coulter Young fired a 5-over par 78 at Tuesday’s 3A regional at Steamboat Springs’ Haymaker Golf Course to lead the Skiers to the team title and a state tournament berth. Conor Hansen and Ryan Smith finished with 84 and Jesse Beetham carded an 85 for Aspen (246), which bested Gunnison (260) and Ridgway (263). Basalt (279) wound up fifth out of nine scoring teams.”I wanted to keep expectations in the modest range, and not let the boys feel too much pressure,” said Woulfe, who was named the region’s coach of the year. “To have everyone play well at one time is hard to do. … It’s all about building consistent players.”She did just that in 2009, as Aspen picked up five tournament wins – two coming at Haymaker. On a day when cold temperatures delayed the tournament start and they opened on the challenging back nine – the par-4 10th, aptly named “Waterloo”, is guarded up the entire right side by wetlands and a lake – the Skiers vaulted into contention. Young made the turn at 2-over and likely would have picked up a win had it not been for the late charge of Ridgway’s Nick Purvis. The freshman, who won last year’s regional at the Aspen Golf Club, closed with a flurry to finish first with a 76.”[Young] had a little bit unfortunate luck coming in, but it was a great showing,” said Woulfe, who had two players (Bobby Moyer and Omri Gildor) qualify for state in 2008. “Coulter showed great fortitude and played great golf. He was just grinding it out.”On a day when Beetham, who, along with Young, was named to the region’s first team, struggled, Aspen did receive some help as a result of unfortunate circumstances. Gunnison, widely regarded as the Skiers’ stiffest competition in 3A, was hindered by a shoulder injury to its top player. Nothing went Basalt’s way on this day. A year after finishing second at regionals, Longhorns No. 1 Marty Knous found himself battling it out in a playoff into the late hours Tuesday just to secure a state alternate spot after a season-worst 91. The senior wound up winning that spot on the second playoff hole. Freshman Dylan Rakowski finished with 92, while seniors Luke Newberry and Patrick Hall carded 96 and 103, respectively. “It was just a super disappointing day out there,” Basalt head coach Steve Knous said. “Our goal for everybody was to shoot five strokes or better than their seasonal average, and I think they kind of went the other way. It’s tough, but I guess I’ll say maybe next year.”[Marty] has a chance, but there are certainly no guarantees. … I’m not booking a hotel, if you know what I mean.”The 36-hole state tournament kicks off Oct. 5 at Cougar Canyon Golf Links in Trinidad. Aspen’s top four as well as Tuesday’s next eight top finishers will make the trip.”Down there, there are a lot of good players. Half the field can probably break 80,” Woulfe said. “There are a lot of factors, but my expectations is they perform well. Where they fall in the pack in the grand scheme of things, I’m not too sure. If we can get three scores in the 70s on the first day and again on the second, we can be a contender. “There’s no doubt they have the potential to be contenders.”

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