Craig graduate leads boys 17-18 division in Optimist junior tournament
The recent Craig High graduate posted seven birdies, three bogeys and two double bogeys to finish even par and take a four-stroke lead into today’s final round.
On the girls’ side, C.J. Enriquez carded a 2-over 73 and leads recent Parker High grad Katie Brossard by a single stroke. Both are familiar with the big stage, as Enriquez helped Madison Edgewood win the WIAA Division 2 golf title as a senior last fall, and Brossard led the Vikings to a Division 1 berth.
Ruef and his high-school teammate, Ross Peterson, comprised the twosome that opened play on the back nine at 7 a.m. The first six holes were emblematic of Ruef’s morning as he birdied Nos. 10 and 12 before double bogeying 13 and coming back with a pair of birds on 14 and 15.
“The first six holes were a rollercoaster,” Ruef said.
He wrapped up his first nine by rolling in a 20-foot birdie putt from below the hole on the par-4 18th hole. He made a perfect read, his ball sliding from left to right in the last five feet and finding the center of the cup. Too bad it didn’t translate into the front nine.
“I don’t think I hit a fairway on the last nine holes; I just completely lost my driver,” Ruef said. “But every time my driver wasn’t in the trees, I had a shot at birdie.”
Jordan Brovick and Jordan Gagg both shot 4-over 76 to hang within striking distance. Ryne Clatworthy had a Ruef-like round as he buried four birdies but carded a 77. Gagg and Clatworthy are the frontrunners in the 15-16-year-old division.
Today’s forecast is a foreboding one, calling for thunderstorms. Should the morning’s action get rained out, Ruef would be the winner of what would become a one-day event.
“I’d like to play another 18; it makes things more interesting,” Ruef said. “It makes it a challenge when you’ve got to hold people off and hold onto your lead.”
Future stars shine at Blackhawk
At Blackhawk Golf Course, golfers ages 9-12 often took the road less traveled, but they all ended up on the dance floor—both literally and figuratively.
Nate Farrell led the 9-10-year-old boys division with a 9-over 37, followed by Matt Zimmerman’s 39, and Zach Morris led the 11-12-year-old boys group with a 3-over 37.
But the scores were decidedly secondary as all 61 members of the field emphatically celebrated their mini-victories throughout their nine-hole rounds.
Christopher Ardrey stood about 40 yards from the monstrous mound that guarded the green on hole No. 5. But, with his trusty 9-iron, he spanked a shot that climbed the hill as he yelled “Get up there! Get up there!” Once it did, he leapt and hollered “Yes!” before giving his dad, Greg, a high five.
“I was just hoping to get lots of flight on the ball and get it up there,” said Ardrey, who shot a 48. “Once I hit it, I was like, ‘Oh no, it’s gonna roll back down; it’s gonna roll back down.’”
On No. 7, Zach Bush cut loose an iron shot that scooted through a bunker, up a slope and onto the putting surface. He reacted immediately with an ear-to-ear grin and a leaping fist pump.
“The best advice someone gave me was Joey (Nerad)’s grandpa,” said Bush. Nerad’s grandpop carted the foursome from hole to hole. “He told me not to have my tee so high when I hit. So I lowered my tee and I hit it a lot farther.”
Whether it was said tip or the momentum from the previous hole, Bush crushed his drive down the left side of the fairway on No. 8, ending up just 15 yards shy of the green.
“You learn stuff from each other and try to do what each other does; and it works,” said Leif-Erik Triller, who shot a 54 in one of his first-ever rounds.
Triller hit a thriller of a shot on the eighth hole when he pounded an iron over the green from about 70 yards out. The shot banged off a tree behind the green and shot back onto the back edge of the green.
“I thought it would go straight into the woods, and I’d get a penalty shot,” Triller said. “But it just hits the tree and goes onto the green. I was like, ‘Oh wow; I’ve never done that before.’”