Panthers 6th at state

Sam Green/Cortez Journal

Jakob Rudosky watches his drive Tuesday at Cobble Creek Golf Course during the 4A state tournament.

By Bobby Abplanalp Journal staff writer

MONTROSE — Montezuma-Cortez High School golf may not have had the end result it wanted.

But it was a state tournament finish nonetheless.

The Panthers concluded the 2012 season at the Colorado High School Activities Association 4A Golf State Championships on Tuesday at Cobble Creek Golf Course.

Cobble Creek’s long, narrow fairways surrounded by various water hazards, proved to be very difficult for M-CHS.

“It was a great course to play. It was fair and it was challenging,” M-CHS coach Micah Rudosky said. “The greens were firm and had some speed to them. I tell you, the hole locations were very difficult. You had to really be precise on your iron shots going in.”

Teams totals for the Panthers were 233 and 236 each day for a tourney score of 469, which was good for sixth-place out of 12 schools.

“I feel we had a good season. The kids came out, and stepped up and gave it their best,” Rudosky said. “There’s a lot of good players out here and we are as well. We just have to be on our game to be right in there. We played decent, but that wasn’t good enough.”

The highlight came from junior captain Jakob Rudosky. He shot 74 and an even-par second-round 72 for a two-day total of 146. Jakob Rudosky’s eighth-place finish was a personal state tourney best, which placed him on the 4A All-State team.

“I hit a lot of fairway, so I had a lot of short wedges in,” Jakob said about his second-round. “I think I should have done better. I had four bogeys in a row on the front nine, which hurt my score. I brought it back pretty good on the back (nine). My driving was good and I started putting pretty good.”

Jakob Rudosky birdied five holes on Tuesday. Perhaps the most impressive birdie was on the 13th hole. Rudosky sank a 20-foot putt up a slight incline to stay in the lead with his group.

Among Jakob Rudosky’s second-round group was Wilson Belk (Cheyenne Mountain), who finished 12th at a score of 150. The other player was Kyler Smith. The Palisade phenom has won the last two 4A Western Slope Region titles, including the 2012 medal at Conquistador Golf Course.

However, on Colorado’s biggest high school stage, Smith struggled, while Jakob Rudosky flourished.

“He drove the ball as good as anybody here,” coach Rudosky said. “I was very impressed.”

Jakob did not win a coveted state title, but was overall pleased with his performance.

“My goal was to either be All-State or kind of contend for state,” he said. “I didn’t really content. I never really pressured anybody, but I never really was out of it. I’m glad with how I did.”

Senior Keith Hawkins recorded scores of 81 and 85 (166) to come in 51st. It was a bittersweet ending of sorts to Hawkins’ high school career. A feeling that hadn’t quite sunk in yet.

“It hasn’t hit me yet that it’s over,” Hawkins said. “I guess it’s a moment where I’m a little disappointed. I didn’t play too good. My chips kept running out. I couldn’t get them to stop. That’s the most difficult thing I had trouble with.”

Hawkins plans to go to college after he graduates from M-CHS. He may try and walk on to a college golf team. Hawkins will always remember his time as a Panther.

“Definitely some of the rides up and a couple of nights in the rooms. Stories that can’t be told,” he said chuckling about his time travelling with the golf team.

Hayden Plewe placed 24th, shooting 78 and 79 for a two-day score of 157. The Dolores sophomore will return next season.

Another sophomore, who will be a state returner, is Tristen Shelby. He shot 97 and 102 (199) for 84th-place, but gained very valuable experience.

“He’s really only played golf for two years,” said Micah about Shelby. “It was a great experience for him. For him to be here, I think he’ll be rearing to get back. I think this helps our kids at home to inspire them to work on their game to get here.”

M-CHS golf continues to be strong. It placed second and fourth at state in 2010 and 2011. Having a proverbial target on their back is nothing new for the Panthers. In fact, they welcome it. Western Slope teams will again be gunning for M-CHS in 2013, and again, the head coach knows how tough it will be to return to state.

“We need some kids to step up, if we want to get here again next year. That’s all there is to it,” coach Rudosky said. “We’ve got to have some of these kids really stepping up their game. All these other guys, you know, they’re getting better and better as well.”

It was indeed Pueblo’s day at Cobble Creek. Pueblo South took home the state championship, edging Valor Christian in a two-hole playoff. Pueblo Centennial’s Jacob Allenback shot 68 (-4) and 71 (-1) for a 5-under total of 139 to win the state championship medal.

The 2011 state champion, Silver Creek High, placed third with a 448 total. Cheyenne Mountain and Thompson Valley were fourth and fifth with scores of 456 and 465, respectively.

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