Prep golfers ready for regional tourney
For area prep golfers, it’s crunch time.
When the combined forces of 20 Western Slope Class 4A teams hit the links at Haymaker Golf Course in Steamboat Springs for Wednesday’s Class 4A regional tournament, the pressure will be on.
At the end of the 18-hole tournament, two teams and up to eight individual golfers are assured of advancing to the 4A State championships in Greeley on Sept. 30.
The others will put their clubs in the closet until next year.
This year’s field, according to all three area boys golf coaches, is balanced with no clear-cut favorite for the team championship.
“A number of teams on any given day can beat the other teams,” noted Glenwood Springs coach Norm Bolitho.
“Everybody’s got two or three guys that can shoot in the 70’s.”
Barry Maggert, Bolitho’s counterpart at Roaring Fork High School, agrees.
“It’s pretty interchangeable,” he said of which school could emerge as this year’s team champ. “The teams are balanced and I don’t look for any single one to be favored.”
With talent on an even keel, the X-factor to obtaining a state berth could be post-season experience.
In that department, Rifle holds an edge.
Jerrad Brown, Cole Manuppella and Jim Owens were members of last year’s regional champion team.
And first-year coach Steve LaDonne likes the Bears’ chances of repeating as regional titlists.
“All four (golfers whoincludes Jeb Savage) are playing very good and feeling good about themselves,” LaDonne said.
“The team has played at Haymaker several times and they know the course well.”
Brown was fourth among individuals at last year’s event, held at Grand Junction’s Tiara Rado Golf Course.
Manuppella and Owens finished in the middle of the pack.
Glenwood’s foursome consists of brothers Jesse and Adam Hansen, Sean Flohr and Jacob Zieman.
This will be Jesse Hansen and Flohr’s second regional tournament. Last year Hansen finished in 34th place. As a freshman, Flohr carded an 89.
Two Roaring Fork golfers, Sean McMecham and Bryant Maggert, have regional experience. The remainder of the team consists of freshmen Chris Webster and Adam Joiner.
All three coaches said shot accuracy will play a key role to success at Haymaker.
“The main factor is to stay on the fairway,” said Bolitho of the Par 72, 7,308 yard championship course.
“There are some holes that tempt you. So you have to remember not to use your driver, because some of the holes play short.”
“There’s a lot of long rough that’s not forgiving, so you have to hit the ball straight,” Maggert explained. The coach said the greens “played slow” at the Steamboat Invitational two weeks ago. “So, I assume they’ll play the same speed this time.”
McMechan shot a two-over-par 74 at Haymaker in the Steamboat Invitational. The score earned him a tie for the individual tournament title with the Sailors’ Jeff Franks.
As a team, the Rams ended in a three-way tie for second place with Rifle and Battle Mountain.
All three teams shot a combined 229, one stroke behind team winner Cedaredge’s 228.
The regional champion and runner-up teams, plus the next eight lowest-scoring individuals, advance to the 4A state championship.
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