GUNNISON — It’s amazing the amount of scenarios that a player can play out in their mind before a state tournament.
Senior Jackson Grace had visions of something very special on Monday and Tuesday at Dos Rios Golf Course in Gunnison, the site of the Class 3A state championships and his final prep event.
When it didn’t play out the way he has envisioned it, his round — that started with such promise, quickly took a nasty turn. The Tigers lone returner from last seasons second place team, had a three hole stretch in the middle of his round that cost him on Day 1 and led to an 11-over par 82 that has him sitting in 34th place.
It’s nothing that the senior can’t overcome on Tuesday with a big round that could get him back into the top 10.
Through his first seven holes, Grace was just 2-over and appeared to have righted the ship after a double bogey was followed up with back-to-back pars. But the par-4 18th demanded a good tee shot to the open part the fairway to avoid tree trouble on the approach. Grace got greedy, and while he had an open look for his second, it was just a little too tight and he caught some branches that sent his second into the river guarding the front of the green.
He would go on to make triple there and then another double at No.1 and went from 2-over to 9-over in just three holes (he also doubled 17). Grace, who was battling his aching back all afternoon, leveled out coming home and finished his final eight holes in just two over.
The only other Tigers golfer in Gunnison is freshman Rudi Heitz. And much like his teammate, had it cooking for most of the day. But when the wind started to kick up late in the day, things got a little off the tracks, and it wasn’t necessarily off the tee or on the approaches, but on the green. A normally solid putter, Heitz had two three putts and a four putt over his final four holes that saw him go double-bogey-double-bogey to finish at 83.
Both Grace and Heitz will likely go later in the morning on Tuesday after the frost melts away.
CLASS 3A STATE GOLF TOURNAMENT
At Dos Rios G.C. (par 71)
Team scores — Kent Denver 222, Colroado Academy 223, Sterling 228, Vail Mountain 230, Sr. Mary’s 233, Aspen 238, Lutheran 239, Montezuma-Cortez 246, Eaton 259, Swallows Charter 284.
Individuals — 1. Nick Pavny, Aspen, 69; 2. Thayer Plewe, Montezuma-Cortez, 70; t3. J.T. Timmers, Colorado Academy, 72; t3. Connor Downey, Vail Christian, 72; t3. Jeffrey Zhou, Kent Denver 72; t3. Jacob Dietrich, Kent Denver 72; t7. Jack Pashel, Colorado Academy, 74; t7. Tayleb Schaefer, Sterling, 74; t7. Garrett Exelbert, Basalt, 74; t10. A.J. Papajohn, Lutheran, 75; t10. Stewie Bruce, Vail Mountain, 75; t10. Trey Kuntz, Sterling, 75.
Holy Family players — 34. Jackson Grace 82; 38. Rudi Heitz 83.