State legs and a hole-in-one

By Todd Fuqua

Courtesy photo Alexandra Michelena celebrates her hole in one, April 11, during day two of the Leroy Gooch tournament at Cree Meadows golf course.

RUIDOSO – It took four weeks into the season and six rounds, but Ruidoso’s boys golf team finally has itself a State qualifying leg.

Photo by Todd Fuqua The Ruidoso boys golf team finished second overall at the Leroy Gooch tournament, April 11, finally earning their first State leg while playing on their home course at The Links at Sierra Blanca.

They got it with a 328 score on day two of the Leroy Gooch Tournament, April 11, at the Links at Sierra Blanca.

One would expect the Warriors to do well on their home course, but there’s now just two tournaments – three rounds total – before the district tournament for the boys to get their next two legs to secure a trip to Farmington in May.

This year’s District 4-4A/1A tournament is also at the Links, but to earn a trip to state there, Ruidoso would have to win the team title outright.

Photo by Todd Fuqua Ruidoso’s Josh Mader chips onto the green at hole 7 of Alto Lakes, April 10, during the first day of the Leroy Gooch tournament.

“It’s an exciting time. I think we can pick up two more back to back if we don’t let the courses play a mind game with us,” said Ruidoso coach Jason Kampsky. “You’re playing agains the course as much as against other golfers.”

As a team, Ruidoso also finished second overall with a two-day score of 671. They were well behind Portales in first place, as the Rams shot a fantastic 314 on day one at Alto Lakes.

But Ruidoso was just two strokes back of the Rams in the second day’s round (326 to 328), and the Warriors were able to leapfrog Socorro in the standings and hold off the field to earn the second place trophy.

“The boys the last few days have played very well,” Kampsky said. “It was packed in pretty tight there after the first day, and we were able to keep our position.”

Additionally, Garrett Eggleston shot individual qualifying marks on both days, meaning he’s just one leg away from State.

Photo by Todd Fuqua Ruidoso’s Lexi Lucero, seen here making an approach shot at The Links at Sierra Blanca on April 10, was the top individual in the two-day Leroy Gooch tournament.

Still, he’s hoping the whole team can come with him.

“It feels really good, we finally got over the hump,” Eggleston said of the qualifying score. “We put four solid rounds down, and it got us a leg.”

“It’s exciting for the team to get a leg, but also fun to see Garrett get two legs back to back like that,” Kampsky said. “I had all the confidence in the world for him to do that.”

On the girls side, Ruidoso got two more qualifying marks, finishing their quest for a trip to State as well.

Additionally, Lexi Lucero and Alexandra Michelena finished 1-2 in the individual standings with two more State qualifying marks of their own.

Michelena’s day was even better due to her hole-in-one on the 13th hole.

It’s a short par 3 on the far western edge of the course, bordered on one side by condos and featuring a two-tier green.

At first Michelena wasn’t even sure the ball was even on the green.

“I actually thought I hit it over because it bounced,” Michelena said. “I walked up there with my coach and was looking for it, and I started to get a panic attack.

“While I was looking, my dad told me to look in the cup,” she added. “So I walked over and just saw the very tip of the ball, and it was unreal.”

The shot helped propel her to an 86 on the day, and was the highlight for Ruidoso – indeed, for every player there.

“The best part about it is she followed it up with another birdie,” said Ruidoso coach Melissa Misquez. “It’s hard to follow up a hole in one with something and keep going for the day because you’re so excited.”

Ruidoso has two days at the Roswell Spring Classic next week, then is in Deming for the Wildcat Invitational April 27 before returning home for the district tournament at the Links on May 1.

“We’ve got home course advantage, so it’s an opportunity,” Eggleston said of the district tournament. “We played Portales pretty much head-to-head today, so it’s going to be close.”

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