Portales golfers own day at Rockwind

Edge Clovis by two strokes

 

April 17, 2018



HOBBS — Call it a championship day for Portales.

Though the Buck Brandon Classic at Hobbs’ par-72 Rockwind Golf Club is a two-day event, the local teams were only planning on taking part in Monday’s first round because of scholastic testing today. But in that busy Monday, the Portales boys team shot the low round, with a team 313 score, edging out Clovis by two strokes.

“They did well,” Portales coach Matt Hunton said of his boys team. “Austin Davis — he’s my only senior this year — he really had a good round, played solid all the way through. And then Valen (Low) — he’s just a freshman — he’s just the most level-headed freshman golfer I’ve ever seen. Every time he makes a bogey or something, I’m not worried about it because I know he’ll come back around.”

Low shot the Rams’ best round — a 75, with a 38 on the front nine, 37 on the back.

Davis was just a stroke behind with a 76, thanks to a 39 on the front nine and 37 on the back. His round also included a birdie.

Talon Payne was next for Portales, firing a 78 that included a 40 on the front nine, 38 on the back and two birdies on the day.

Nate Cota rounded out the Rams’ top four with an 84, comprised of 42s on each nine. Kenevan Bailey was Portales’ other golfer, and he shot a 107.

All in all, the Rams found Rockwind quite agreeable.

“I know a couple of them have played it before,” Hunton said. “It’s really a pretty wide-open course, but it’s a little longer and the greens can be a little bit tough if you hit it in the wrong spot.”

Most importantly, Monday’s effort showed that Portales is playing top-notch golf as the postseason nears.

“Progression-wise we are definitely working the right way,” Hunton said. “We’ve improved every tournament, so obviously you want to be doing that as the season is drawing to a close and you’re getting closer to states. And we’ve done that so far.”


Clovis was no slouch at 315, earning its fifth team leg of the season.

Woody Casey had the Wildcats’ best day, firing a 40 on the front nine, 37 on the back for a 77 that earned him a state-tournament leg.

Christian Fontanilla was right behind with a 78, also earning a leg. He shot 41 on the front nine, 37 on the back. And just behind Fontanilla was Kolt Bennett with a 79 — 40 on the front nine, 39 on the back — to also earn a leg.

Dakota York rounded out Clovis’ top four, shooting an 81 (42, 39). Narrowly missing the top four was David Maldonado with an 82 (41, 41).

“We played pretty decent,” Clovis boys coach Dale Fullerton said. “Good course, tough to putt, but we’re getting better at it.”

Maldonado and York each overcame bogeys on two different holes to post their low-80 scores.

“The other (Clovis) kids were kind of up and down,” Fullerton said. “They’d go along, birdie a hole, then three-putt one. We just need to work on our putting.”

Still, a second-place 315 was pretty solid.

“Yeah, it’s not bad,” Fullerton said. “Of course, everybody can go back and say they could shave a few shots off, but overall, we hit the ball pretty well.”

Clovis also finished second on the girls side, posting a 356, behind only Artesia’s 323. The Wildcats easily beat third-place Lovington (373) and fourth-place Deming (374).

“We really, really played well today as a team,” Clovis girls coach Steve Speck said. “I was really proud of them. This is a tough, tough course. We don’t like to come here because it’s tough to qualify here, and we qualified by more than 30 strokes.”


Logan Clayton was Clovis’ top golfer, finishing third on the day and shooting a personal-best 81 (40, 41), her eighth state-tournament leg of the season.

Sydni Hill was next with an 86 (42, 44), also earning her eighth leg of the season.

Ashley Maldonado had a good haul at the tournament. She shot a personal-best 93 (44, 49), picked up her third leg of the season, qualified for states with that third leg, and sunk her first birdie, doing so on the par-5 18th hole.

“When you’ve got two girls who shoot their personal bests on one of the hardest courses we play, that’s pretty impressive,” Speck said.

Completing the Lady Wildcats’ top four was Destiny Hodges, who shot a 96 (49, 47), her sixth leg of the season.

Matti Dosher also golfed for Clovis, shooting a 108 (52, 56).

Artesia’s Brianna Davis had the low score, firing a 74. And her teammate Josey Jackson took second with a 78, just three ahead of Clayton.

Speck thinks his team is golfing well at this late point in the regular season.

“The (Rockwind) greens are really fast, a lot of undulation on them, really tough putting on them,” he said. “I’m really happy because they’re similiar to the greens we’re going to see at Farmington (in the postseason).”

Portales’ Janae Hale shot an 82, one stoke beind Clayton to finish fourth overall. She had a 40 on the front nine, 42 on the back, and two birdies overall.

“She played really well,” Hunton said. “She was 2-under on her last seven (holes), so she’s really coming around and going in the right direction.”

Texico’s girls finished fifth with a 394, led by Grace McDaniel’s 96.

Sarah Harrison and Macey Tharp were three strokes behind McDaniel, each shooting a 99.

A stroke behind them was Kaitlyn Queener at 100, and rounding out the Lady Wolverines’ golfers was Charity Wilson with a 104.

Coming up Friday is a big regular-season match at New Mexico Military Institute. Winds up to 50 miles per hour and a chance of rain are in the forecast.

“So it may not be fun,” Fullerton said.

Hunton, though, likes the challenge inclement weather would present.

“I don’t mind a couple of those a year,” he said, “because that’s how we learn how mentally tough the kids are.”

 
 

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