Durango High School junior Zach Griswold shot a 74 on Tuesday at the Eagle Ranch Golf Club to qualify for the 4A state champions a second year in a row. The top 18 individuals and two teams at the 4A Region 4 championship qualified for state. Griswold finished tied for eighth to punch his ticket.
“I’m excited for Zach; his goal was to make it state,” said DHS head coach Kirk Rawles. “To shoot a 74 at Dalton last week and then to back it up with another 74 is solid playing at the right time of the year.”
Griswold started on hole No. 10 on the back nine, the tougher of the two. He bogeyed hole No. 11, but followed with a birdie on No. 12 while getting pars the other seven holes. “He started really well,” Rawles said. “He was even par after nine.”
On the front nine, Griswold sunk another birdie, five pars and three bogeys to qualify comfortably.
“He played really steady,” Rawles said. “If he had to make an up and down, he’d make an up and down.”
Sophomore Owen Muraro shot an 85 to finish 45th out of the tournament’s 79 golfers.
“He actually played pretty solid and hit 10 greens in regulation, but he couldn’t figure out the read of the greens up there,” Rawles said.
Senior Nicholas Best finished one shot behind Muraro, placing 46th with an 86.
“He never really got it going,” Rawles said, noting that three double bogeys and one triple hurt Best.
Junior Eli Holden, meanwhile, was 10-over after 10 holes, but then got sick and had to withdraw.
As a team, Durango finished tied with Palisade for 11th out of 20 teams at 245.
Montrose shot a 217, just one-over par, to win the team title. Grand Junction finished second with a 219, followed by Mullen (223), Erie (230), Broomfield (231), Denver South (235), Steamboat Springs (236), Eagle Valley (239), Battle Mountain (239), Summit (242), Durango and Palisade, Northfield (+31 after 17), Central Grand Junction (263), Rifle (263), Loveland (286), George Washington (268), Vista Peak (270), Thomas Jefferson (+93 after 17) and Denver West (452).
Jake Legg of Montrose shot a 68 to win the region’s individual title. Hunter Simmons of Grand Junction placed second with a 69 while Noah Richmond of Montrose finished third with a 71. In year’s past, Rawles said golfers who shot an 84 or 85 would have a good chance to qualify for state, and that was true at the 4A Region 2 championships Monday at the Country Club of Colorado. In Durango’s region, however, golfers needed to shoot a 78 or lower to qualify for state.
“That’s how deep our region was,” Rawles said. “Both (coach Kermitt) Barrett and I were surprised the number was so low to qualify. To shoot a 79 and not be going to state will be tough on a lot of kids.”
The 4A state championships will be held Oct. 3-4 at the Pelican Lakes Golf Club in Windsor.
The Demons, however, will keep practicing as a full team until Sept. 29, continuing match play while also holding one more fun tournament for the team.
Montezuma-Cortez hosted the 3A Region 1 championship on Tuesday at the Conquistador Golf Course, and Thayer Plewe capitalized on his home course. The senior made six birdies, two bogeys and 10 pars to win the regional title by four strokes with a 68.
Vince Lopez shot an 80, Airoughn VanGrandt shot an 88, and Kaden Huff shot an 89 as M-CHS finished second as a team with a 236 to also qualify for state. Colorado Academy shot a 225 to win the team title. Pagosa Springs finished third, (254) and Monte Vista placed fourth out of 16 teams with a 257.
The 3A state championships will be held Oct. 3-4 at the Pinehurst Country Club in Denver.