Basalt, Aspen struggle at Cobble Creek |

Basalt, Aspen struggle at Cobble Creek

Jon Maletz

The Links at Cobble Creek in Montrose offer up a true test of golf, from water-lined fairways and testy tee shots to its expansive, undulating greens. The combination provides a challenge to those who play the course habitually, let alone those who see it for the first time.Just ask Basalt junior Connor Rakowski. He, like every one of his Longhorns teammates, took his first swings at Cobble Creek during tournament play Wednesday. Rakowski posted an 80 on the par-72 track – not bad considering he hit three balls out of bounds, found the water on four different occasions and had two eights on the card. “There are a couple of tricky holes out there, and you don’t know quite what to do,” said Aspen head coach Henry Adams, whose players also had never played the course. “That might cost you a few shots.”These greens were so big, you could have an 80-foot putt, no problem. If you didn’t hit the ball right, you’d be looking at your putt like a surveyor.”Despite being unaware of the course’s quirks and trouble spots, Longhorns No. 1 Jim Knous continued his streak of solid play. The junior, who has won two of the year’s first five tournaments, fired a 1-over 73 to finish third. Senior Nick Johnson had a 79, freshman Marty Knous an 84 and senior Bryan Mason an 85 for the Longhorns,whose 232 was good for fourth. Fruita Monument took first with a 226, and the Skiers (244) took seventh. The low round of the day was a 70 turned in by a golfer from Cortez.Knous was once again a putt or two away from claiming top honors. He had three chances for eagle putts on the round – including one from 10 feet on the 18th – but walked away with birdie all three times; he left his attempt on No. 18 just two inches short.”He played his usual game and was right there,” Basalt head coach Pat Riley said. “He only had three birdies all day. I think he was a little disappointed he didn’t do better.”Skiers No. 1 Matt Butler, too, positioned himself to battle for top position, but unraveled at the 438-yard par-4 13th. Butler’s 2-footer for par lipped out and rolled 2 feet past the hole; on the come-backer, he again watched the ball narrowly miss the cup. He walked away with double bogey and finished with 76.”That’s the only place where his score shot up,” Adams said. “He just didn’t have enough birdies to bring it back.”Junior Trent Manchester and freshman Conor Hansen had 84s, junior Gerald Hua a 92 and sophomore Taylor Huskie a 96 for the Skiers, who next tee off in Monday’s tournament at Rifle Creek Golf Course. Basalt will host a qualifier to determine which golfers occupy the team’s fourth and fifth positions Monday at the Roaring Fork Club. Jon Maletz’s e-mail address is