Aspen’s Will Hazen wins junior golf tourney
The Aspen Times
Will Hazen likes the golf courses in Grand Junction — obviously.
Hazen, a 16-year-old from Aspen, won the annual Daily Sentinel Western Chapter Junior Championship golf tournament last weekend.
A member of the Aspen High School golf team, Hazen defeated two other players in a playoff to claim the prestigious junior golf honor.
He and Donny Kinnaman of Grand Junction and Nick Leibold of Littleton finished the two regular rounds of the tournament tied at 149.
Three playoff holes reduced the field to Hazen and Kinnaman.
Two holes later, after Hazen parred the par-5 13th hole at Tiara Rado Golf Course, he stood alone at the top.
Hazen shot a final-round 74 after opening the tournament with a 75 at Bookcliff Country Club.
“This is my first big win, you could say,” Hazen said in an interview with Daily Sentinel Sports Editor Tim Harty. “I felt some pressure. This is the first time I’ve put myself in position to win. I’ve always finished second, third, fourth. … I just needed to break through, get that first one, and I’ve been looking to do that for a while.”
Hazen said he tried to stay consistent with his routine in the playoff.
Hazen played in the state golf championships last year with the Aspen Skiers.
“Will has always had terrific course management and a solid short game,” said AHS golf coach Mary Woulfe. “His mental attitude and thought-processing are very mature for a young player.”
Woulfe said Hazen’s even temperament serves him well on the golf course.
“His father Brian has been a terrific role model for him on the golf course,” Woulfe said. “They spent hours playing together with Brian sharing his depth of knowledge about the game. It is a great father-son story. “
Woulfe said Will Hazen also helped AHS teammate Pat Martin refine his golf game to the point where Martin will play next year at Knox College in Illinois.
“His relationship with Patrick Martin … has taught him how to share his course-management skill and mental approach with his teammates in a humble manner,” Woulfe said, adding that the AHS boys golf team is looking forward to the fall season.
In the girls division at the Daily Sentinel junior tournament, Morgan Sahm of Centennial won with a 73 in the final round. She won by eight strokes over Carbondale’s Lauren Murphy and Denver’s Kacey Godwin. Those two tied for best score among girls ages 14-15. Murphy won in a one-hole playoff.
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Peter Arnold’s playing career ended after high school, but his time on the ice continues a few decades later. A longtime USA Hockey official and new Aspen resident, Arnold is searching for the next generation of hockey referees among the youth ranks here in the Roaring Fork Valley.