14-year-old wins Soda Pop Open | PostIndependent.com

14-year-old wins Soda Pop Open

Post Independent Photo/Kelley Cox

Every time Michael Braklow teed up the golf ball, he sent it for a long ride.So long that it earned the 14-year-old the overall title at Monday’s Soda Pop Open at Glenwood Springs Golf Club.Braklow, who will enter his freshman year at Glenwood Springs High School next week, carded a 74 to win the tournament. The soon-to-be Demon said there was one thing that helped him best the tournament’s 55 other players, including 14 boys in the 16-18 age division.

“My drives were going 300 yards every time,” Braklow said.On the par-70 golf course, Braklow shot one under the boys 16-18 division winner Connor Rakowski and runner-up Mike Sours, who both shot 75.”I got three birdies and I bogeyed a couple,” Braklow said.Rakowski, who plays for Basalt High School’s golf team, won the oldest boys division by beating Sours in a one-hole playoff at the end of regulation. Sours, who plays golf for Rifle High, crushed the ball off the tee, out-driving Rakowski by more than 100 yards. But Sours’ shot hooked left, landing in the trees while Rakowski’s sailed straight down the fairway.

Two shots later, both were on the green. Rakowski was about 10 feet away while Sours was about four. Rakowski lined up his putt first and sank it. Sours couldn’t do the same, and Rakowski won the tiebreaker.”I like (tiebreakers). They are fun to do,” said Rakowski, who will be a junior at Basalt. “It kind of sucks that it ended like that.”Rakowski said he didn’t play up to his full potential, but gladly accepted the results.”I didn’t hit that many good shots, I hit a couple here and there. I chipped in from 60 yards on (hole number) nine for a birdie, but that was about it,” he said. “The trees. I was in the trees quite a bit, but I’ll take it.”

Grand Junction’s Julia Flores played her way to a girls 16-18 championship, shooting an 18-hole 86.”It was good. The greens were tough, but it was fun,” said Flores, who plays for Grand Junction High School and came up to play in the tournament with her friend Ashley Winder. “We both played pretty well. I hit the ball straight, that’s all that really mattered.”Natasha Derby finished atop the girls 13- to -15-year-old division, winning the 9-hole tournament with a score of 51. Cam Avery carded a 52, and Rhiley Anderson shot a 59 to win their respective 9-hole 10- to-12-year-old divisions. In the 9-and-younger category, which featured a three-hole tournament, Denton Norell hit a 25 to win the boys division, and Leah Swander took the girls division with a score of 26.Braklow, Rakowski and Sours will face each other on the links again on Thursday when Glenwood, Basalt and Rifle all play in their first prep tournament of the season at the Cardinal Invitational at Battlement Mesa Golf Course.

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