Youth will be served on the links this year for Durango High School.
The DHS boys team lost two key seniors to graduation in Fort Lewis College signee Morgan Miller and 2011 state qualifier Michael Thomas – two of the better golfers in recent program history.
Without last year’s two anchors, Durango head coach Kirk Rawles will open the 2012 campaign by taking a pair of freshmen along with two returning juniors and one senior to Montrose for today’s season-opening event at The Bridges Golf and Country Club.
He’ll also bring two freshmen and another junior to play junior varsity as he tries to sort out his best possible lineup.
“If you look at the optimistic side of things, with two juniors and a lot of freshmen, we’ll put a lot of mileage in this year and get in gear with sights set at regionals, but then we’ll get this whole crew back next year,” Rawles said.
The two key contributors from last year’s varsity squad back for this season are Bo Ward and Trevor Bogus. Ward is coming off a recent victory at the Hillcrest Junior Club Championship, and Bogus missed out by one stroke on a spot in a playoff to determine last year’s final state qualifier.
Rawles said he’s hopeful that between those two and freshman Corey Gillespie, DHS can have three guys consistently shoot in the 70s.
“I think if they get going, get playing, and we can get in the 70s for a few rounds and know that you have some teammates there to help support each other, we’ll be all right,” he said.
Speaking of support, senior Max Ponce and freshman Eric Walker will join the trio on varsity for the opening two events this week, while junior Garrett Mulkey and freshmen Cy Spicer and Cameron Barnhardt will play junior varsity this week.
After a few weeks, Rawles said he’s hopeful that as the scores roll in, the lineup at varsity will become more clear.
“As they start charting scores, we’ll start shifting and get whoever earns it a different spot,” he said.
After looking around the Western Slope, Rawles said he’s fairly optimistic about this season.
“I think it will be a learning process. We just have to get on the ground, get going and see where everybody’s at,” he said.