A slew of new incoming players added some competition within the Fort Lewis College men’s golf team going into the 2020-21 season. It has already paid off for the Skyhawks, including the returning players.
After a fourth-place finish at the Mile High Shootout on Sept. 14-15 in Thornton, the Skyhawks hit the road again this week for the Lone Star Conference-Rocky Mountain Athletic Conference Shootout in El Paso, Texas. FLC fielded two full teams at the tournament so head coach Jim Foltz could take a hard look at the squad going into the final half of the fall schedule.
One name he won’t be able to leave off the traveling roster is Darren Edwards. The junior from Loveland tied for second overall with Adam Miles of Western New Mexico, as the two shot 6-under-par for the three-round event at Butterfield Trail Golf Course.
Edwards began the tournament 1 over after his first 18 holes. But he shot a collegiate career best 5-under 67 in his second round and backed it up with a 2-under 70 in the final round. Only Midwestern State’s Garrett Leek was better, as he shot two rounds of 68 and finished with a 67 to finish 13 under.
Edwards was named the RMAC Men’s Golfer of the Week for his play.
“Darren is a different player this year,” FLC assistant coach Devin Schreiner said in a news release. “I know he did a lot of hard work this summer playing in professional events and state opens, doing his due diligence to raise the bar. He hits the ball really consistently. On top of that, he just needs to have a good putting day. If his putter is on like it was this week, he can put himself in contention every time out.”
FLC junior Samuel Salisbury tied for 19th. He shot 2 over for the tournament but was 1 under through his final two rounds.
Senior Blake Kuzava tied for 44th. He opened with a 69 but finished with a 78 and an 81 to finish at 12 over. Sophomore Kellen Kudrna and freshman Nicholas Krantz of FLC were both one shot further back to tie for 47th.
FLC’s top team placed 10th, and the second team finished last in the 12-team field. Western New Mexico had a seven-shot win ahead of Colorado Mesa University.
“I’m extremely pleased with what I saw this week,” Foltz said in a news release. “This course was 7,300 yards, and we don’t typically get to play on bent grass, on Bermuda greens. I thought our players adjusted really well, which is what you have to do if you want to win golf tournaments. I think if we’d have played our starting five together instead of split teams, I think we could have been pushing for a top-five finish. But we did that for a reason. We want to take a good long, hard look at what we’ve got, and we did see a lot of good individual showings.”
FLC will be back in action Oct. 5-6 at the Sam Proal Invitational at Walking Stick Golf Course in Pueblo. Then, it’s off to the Ryan Palmer Foundation Invite at Tascosa Country Club Oct. 26-27 in Amarillo, Texas.
“I think we have a strong five who will be going to Walking Stick, which is going to play a lot like the course we saw this week,” Foltz said. “I truly think we’re going to fare well. We want to be challenging for a top-five or a top-three finish in Pueblo.”