Young’s 70 leads Aspen golfers in Montrose

Jon Maletz
The Aspen Times
Aspen, CO Colorado

MONTROSE, Colo. – The pain has subsided. Now, Aspen’s Coulter Young is back on course and back in contention.

The junior has been working for about two weeks to regain his form after injuring his ribs when a mower he was riding slipped on wet grass and careened down a steep embankment. Lingering soreness hampered the team captain Wednesday, when he shot 94 at Jack Nicklaus-designed The Bridges in Montrose.

Young said he was feeling much better during Thursday’s round at Black Canyon Golf Club. It showed.

He converted a chip-in for birdie at his first hole and finished with a 1-under par 70 – good for third place. The effort helped the Skiers finish third overall and first among 3A schools. Clayton Crawford carded a 73 and Jesse Beetham a 75 for Aspen, which scored 218 points – three off winner Montezuma-Cortez’s total. Durango (219) rounded out the Top 3.

Cortez’s Brian Grubbs secured medalist honors with a 5-under 66.

“You know, it could be better. It sounds crazy, but this team is capable of better and they know it,” Skiers head coach Mary Woulfe said. “The expectations are really high.

“I’m proud of Coulter. He’s been struggling coming back … but he has hung in there with the big boys.”

“I still had some work to do [after Wednesday],” Young added. “I have a little pain, but its manageable. … Just being able to swing [freely today] mentally was a lot better. I was back to getting my normal swing down.”

After his round-opening birdie at No. 4, Young said he slipped back to 2-over. He gradually worked his way back to even par, then closed out the day by burying a 6-foot birdie putt at the narrow par-4 third hole.

Freshman Crawford and sophomore Beetham nearly joined Young in red figures; Aspen’s two best players were eyeing rounds in the 60s before some late struggles.

“They both kept kind of bouncing back and forth, and both ended up a little bit over par. [Grubbs] was playing lights out, so it was hard to keep pace,” Woulfe said. “[Clayton is] hanging in there. This is just the beginning of what we’re going to see from him.

“[Black Canyon] is a pretty straightforward course. … It’s one of those places where if you hit it anywhere on the greens, you have a chance to make a putt. The greens are postage-stamp sized.”

Joseph Kistner finished with 76 for the Skiers, who were playing in their fourth tournament in as many days. They’ll tee it up Monday at Rifle Creek Golf Course.