Beetham, Aspen golfers start strong |

Beetham, Aspen golfers start strong

Jeff Caspersen
Glenwood Springs correspondent
Aspen, CO Colorado
Jeff Caspersen Post Independent

BATTLEMENT MESA, Colo. – A broken finger didn’t slow down Aspen’s Jesse Beetham. Not much, anyway.

The sophomore Skier still managed to ring in the boys golf season with a fourth-place finish at Thursday’s Grand Valley Invitational, held at breezy Battlement Mesa Golf Course. Beetham wrapped his day with a 5-over-par 77.

“It’s not bad,” he said, referring to his injury. “It feels good just to be playing. It happened a couple weeks ago. A friend of mine just kind of grabbed it.”

Had it not been for a three-putt on his final hole, Beetham might have wound up in first. He finished only a stroke behind Battle Mountain’s Michael Wilhelm, who carded a 76 in regulation and then edged Eagle Valley’s Nick Bontempo in a one-hole playoff for medalist honors.

Beetham lost a playoff for third place with Battle Mountain’s Dillon McDonald. Beetham did finish as the tournament’s top 3A finisher.

Not a bad result for a season opener. And not bad given that he was playing while injured.

“Whenever I hit it a little heavy, it’ll tingle a little bit,” Beetham said. “I had it in a splint for like a week. It’s still pretty swollen, but it’s getting there.”

Beetham wasn’t the only Skier to post a respectable score Thursday. Teammate Ryan Smith placed seventh with an 80 and Clayton Crawford carded an 82 to round out a second-place team score of 239. Aspen was first among 3A schools.

Battle Mountain won the overall team title with a 237. Eagle Valley was third with a 241.

“Things went really well,” Aspen coach Mary Woulfe said. “This was a good result for the team and a great way to start the season.”

Tournament host Grand Valley’s 2010 prospects look bright after Thursday’s opener. Led by an 89 from Douglas Mikesell and a 92 from Dylan Walters, the Cardinals posted a team score of 286 and finished up in ninth place overall.

And Walters’ score could have been much lower.

The senior took a 10 on the 18th hole – his final hole of the day – and a seven on 17. He had been cruising up until that point.

“Those two lost holes really killed me,” said Walters, whose day was highlighted by an eagle on No. 5. “They just came out of nowhere.”

Knowing Walters could have shaved a few strokes off his final count and taking into consideration Mikesell’s solid showing, Grand Valley coach Scott Carpenter left the course enthused about the program’s future.

“It’s a good start,” he said. “And we’re missing a player who should be a good varsity player for us – Brody Hayes. He played a bit for us last year and was starting to come around. He should be good for us.”

Led by an 85 from Jacob Withee, Rifle finished up fifth in the team hunt at Battlement Mesa. The Bears recorded a team score of 257.

No Rifle player turned in a card with a score worse than 92. Triston Quigley shot a 90, Tieg Hauer a 91 and Danny Bartels and Ty Caron posted matching 92s.

Kevin Flohr’s round of 86 paced Glenwood Springs, which wrapped the day in eighth place with a team score of 284.

Robert Reynolds finished second among Demons with a 90.

Trenton Reeds carded Roaring Fork’s top score. His 94 helped the Rams to a 12th-place mark of 296.

Thomas Cerise chipped in with a 96.

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