Prep golfers to tee up at home

Durango to host two-day invitational tournament

Let’s play two.

That’s two rounds of high school golf.

The annual Durango Invitational, featuring two days of tournament golf, will open today at Hillcrest Golf Club with 13 high schools taking part.

Play will begin at 10 a.m. with tee times stretching to 1 p.m.

The second round of the Durango Invitational will be played Tuesday at Dalton Ranch Golf Club north of Durango with a 10 a.m. shotgun start.

“A two-day tournament ... that’s the way the state tournament is played,” Durango High School head coach Kirk Rawles said of the end-of-season CHSAA Class 4A State Golf Championships.

“We’ll seed the second day after the results from the first day,” Rawles said.

The result will be pairings of the top regional high school golfers for the second 18-hole round Tuesday.

“It seems like there will be more on the line when we pair them like that (after the first round),” Rawles said.

“A two-day tournament is good because it gives them an understanding that both days matter ... it keeps their heads in the game,” Rawles said.

The familiar Southwestern League schools of Grand Junction, Grand Junction Central, Fruita Monument, Montezuma-Cortez, Montrose and Durango will tee off today at the familiar Hillcrest layout.

Gunnison, Telluride and Pagosa Springs are entered along with five schools from northern New Mexico: Farmington, Piedra Vista, Kirtland Central, Shiprock and Aztec.

Rawles said that the Southwestern League schools will use the two-day tournament as the annual SWL Championships.

The two-day format will continue when the league championships move to the Grand Junction area and Montrose, he said.

Rawles said he’s excited to give his full squad a tournament opportunity today.

He said 17 DHS golfers will be in the field.

“All the kids will play (today). I usually only have five to eight to travel,” he said.

The top 12 DHS golfers will qualify for Tuesday’s round at Dalton Ranch.

“Everybody has a chance. This will give them something else to play for,” Rawles said of his youthful Durango squad.

“If they play well, they can move up the food chain.”

dstrode@durangoherald.com