The Mountain Pointe boys golf team has been to hail and back this season.
The Pride ended the regular season by finishing second in the Mountain Ridge Invitational Oct. 12 and 13 when the first day’s conditions in Flagstaff were similar to a rough day over the pond.
“Those were very tough conditions on the first day,” Pride coach Tony Ramseyer said. “It was windy and rainy and there was even a little bit of hail. It was like playing in a British Open.”
The beautiful second day was more to the Pride’s liking as they finished as runner-up to prohibited state favorite Brophy by leapfrogging four teams on the final day.
“We’ve improved all year long,” Ramseyer said. “We had our ups and down as it is with the game of golf. It has been a roller coaster-type season. We started out really hot, had a lull in mid-season and now hopefully this is a sign of us getting hot again.”
There is no question that senior Austin Fletcher is hot.
He won individual honors in Flagstaff as he birdied four straight holes, nine through 12, and finished with two birdies for a 6-under 66.
“I was getting it on the green and everything was falling,” Fletcher said about his lowest high school competitive round and first tournament championship. “I felt good. The plan is to keep that going and win state.”
The top three individuals were all from Ahwatukee Foothills as Desert Vista’s Colton Estevez closed with five straight birdies to finish second with a 4-under 68 on the final day and the Pride’s Ben Harden was third at 1-over 73.
Desert Vista, which won the Tempe City Invite before fall break, is playing well heading toward the state tournament, which is Monday, Oct. 29 and Tuesday, Oct. 30 at Aguila Golf Course in Laveen. (The girls event is Friday and Saturday at Aguila, see the preview story in the Oct. 17 edition of the AFN).
Peeking at this time of the year is nothing new for the Thunder as it finished state runner-up three years in a row.
They have the players to make a run at the title again with Matt Liringis, Randy Ross and Estevez a strong top three. The fourth and fifth golfers have been interchangeable this season and how well they do will mostly likely determine how Desert Vista finishes.
Jason Kramer, Alec Costello, Kyle Price and Brant Jolly are the candidates.
The Pride has a similar situation with Johnny Campion joining Fletcher and Harden as the confirmed top three. In order to make a run at the top three at state Josh Mendoza, Alex Stoken and Kyle Dominy, who will battle this week to determine who will make up the state tournament roster, have to break into the 70s.
“We have to have four of our five in the 70s or below to win it,” Ramseyer said. “As good as some of the teams are we have to have two scores below 72 and two around 75. Then you have a chance. We’ve done that only twice this year, but we can do it.”
Aguila is a long course that will play around 7,000 yards. The Thunder finished sixth and the Pride was seventh at the Aguila Invitational in September,
This time the course will have just come out of overseeding about nine days before the event so how the greens are rolling could very well determine what team comes out on top.
“With fall golf there isn’t much you can do about it,” Ramseyer said. “Every golfer has to deal with it. We will take our chances, hopefully continue to play well and finish strong.”
Fletcher isn’t happy about the idea of a possible state winning putt coming on a green that might not be rolling true.
“It’s going to be tough if someone misses a putt at the end because the conditions are not the best,” he said. “Hopefully, it doesn’t come down to that.”
Contact writer: (480) 898-7915 or email@example.com. Follow him on Twitter @JSkodaAFN.