Montrose High School was on its home course Thursday, and it showed.
The Indians rolled to victory at the Montrose Invitational boys golf tournament at Cobble Creek Golf Course. The team shot 5-under-par to win the event, while Steamboat Springs was second at 15 over. Fruita Monument placed third at 17 over, and the Durango High School Demons were fourth at 20 over. It was a big tournament with 16 teams in the field. The result backed up Durango’s third-place finish at the Black Canyon Golf Course in Montrose on Wednesday, when the Demons shot 18 over. Montrose again won that tournament at 2 under, and Steamboat Springs was second at 16 over.
The Indians were paced Thursday by Micah Stangebye. The sophomore shot 7-under 65 to take home individual medalist honors. He teed off on No. 1 and picked up birdies on Nos. 2, 4, 6, 8, 11, 13 and 16 and didn’t record a bogey all day. A day earlier, he finished tied for third at even-par 70 at Black Canyon.
“Montrose is just kind of different for high school golf,” Rawles said. “They have that crew right now, and they’re tough. They won it all last year, and all those guys are back this year. They’re playing up to it again.”
The course played at 6,395 yards. After heavy rain Wednesday night into Thursday morning, players were allowed to lift, clean and place the ball all round, allowing for some preferred lies.
Stangebye wasn’t the only Montrose player in red numbers. Jordan Jennings shot 5-under 67.
After a bogey on No. 4, he got back to even with a birdie on the par-3 seventh and got under par with another birdie on the par-5 ninth. He got hot with another birdie at No. 10 and followed up with another at Nos. 13, 15 and 17, as he shot 32 on the back nine. On Wednesday, Jennings was the medalist with a 4-under 66.
Grand Junction’s Carson Kerr was 1 under to finish third. He finished with five birdies.
Durango was led for a second consecutive day by Anthony Flint, who shot 6 over to finish tied for 11th. At Black Canyon on Wednesday, Flint shot an impressive 3-over 73 to finish sixth. He was 1 under for 17 holes after he opened the day with a quadruple bogey.
Ethan Whidden and Levi Tichi each shot 7 over to tie for 13th, and Luke Tichi posted 8 over to finish alone in 17th. Also for the Demons, Sten Joyner shot 13 over and was tied for 30th, and Luke Ford finished at 14 over to tie for 33rd.
Flint was under par for a moment. He started on No. 4. After an early bogey on No. 5, he birdied the par-5 sixth and birdied again on No. 9. He bogeyed No. 10 and stayed at even par until a bogey at No. 14 and a quadruple bogey at No. 14, his lone blowup hole of the round.
Whidden had one birdie on his card at No. 10. He played holes 10-16 at 1 under. After a birdie at No. 5, Levi Tichi was briefly in red numbers. Luke Tichi birdied No. 6 and was even par through his first seven holes.
“I think our guys, across the board, are looking at what Montrose is doing and doing well,” Rawles said. “If they sharpen their wedge play and chipping around the green, I think as a team we can take 10 to 15 strokes off fairly easily. There’s definitely more greens they can hit and better club selection, a little bit better management.
“Our guys aren’t shying away from Montrose. They like the challenge of trying to get close to them.”
Durango will get its next chance to play Monday and Tuesday in Grand Junction.