Skiers golfers tops among 3As in Grand Junction
The Aspen Times
Aspen, CO Colorado
The Aspen golf team’s depth was on full display Tuesday in Grand Junction.
On a day when no players went low at newly revamped Tiara Rado Golf Course, Tommy Doyle, the seventh player on the Skiers’ depth chart, helped propel Aspen to another impressive finish. The straight-hitting junior fired a 6-over par 76 – his lowest score to date in tournament play – teammate Ryan Smith matched that effort and top players Jesse Beetham and Clayton Crawford carded 79s for the Skiers, who finished first among 3A schools.
They were five strokes behind Cortez (226), who topped Battle Mountain in a playoff to clinch the team title. Aspen has now finished first among 3As in both tournaments played this season. (Monday’s event at Bookcliff Country Club in Junction was suspended after 12 holes because of inclement weather.)
“We’ve got eight or nine guys that can break 80 right now,” Skiers head coach Mary Woulfe said. “[Doyle] is No. 7 on our team, but we played him in the No. 5 position today. It’s not fair to only play the top four or five, so we rotate the guys through. … It was really great.”
Doyle struggled to keep pace during his freshman and sophomore years because he was undersized, which created quite a disadvantage off the tee, Woulfe said. He has slowly but surely started adding distance to his drives, and that length, coupled with his solid short game, suited him well on a tight track at Tiara Rado.
“This course is narrow and favors a really straight hitter, and that’s him,” Woulfe said. “Just as we expected, he was straight and getting up and down. When he hits fairways and greens he really plays well.”
The same could be said of Smith, the team’s No. 4, who was one of the Skiers’ top performers at regionals last year.
“Smith was really the anchor today,” Woulfe added. “He seems to always come through when we need him.”
Smith’s and Doyle’s efforts helped offset lackluster rounds from sophomore Beetham and freshman Crawford. The duo, who both were at even par when play was halted Monday, “fought through some frustrations” Tuesday, their coach said.
“It wasn’t that Beetham struggled. He would hit it onto the green and all of a sudden the ball would jump left,” Woulfe added. “Instead of being 4 feet from the pin putting for birdie, he’d be 10 feet away on a side hill.
“Clayton, I knew after a few holes he wasn’t on top of his game. We left him alone to try and work it out on his own.”
Coulter Young also tried to work through some struggles Tuesday. The junior team captain, making his first tournament appearance of the season after missing time with a rib injury sustained in a lawn-mower accident, finished with 84. He went out in 44 – a score that included an eight on his second hole.
“I think he was disappointed. His ball striking was difficult off the ground because of the rib injury, and the putter frustrated him because he hasn’t played competitive golf since tryouts,” Woulfe said. “He’ll get in shape.”
The Skiers return to the course two more times this week in Montrose. They tee off at The Bridges at 9 a.m. today, then tackle Black Canyon Golf Club on Thursday.
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