RUIDOSO – It was an odd two days for the Ruidoso boys and girls golf teams in this year’s Leroy Gooch Invitational.
Odd, but consistent.
It was a tournament that saw Jake Butkiewicz finish second in his second straight two-day invite, but only after a best-of-three playoff hole against Deming’s Aaron Perales.
The pair were tied with a two-day score of 153 after the second round on Tuesday, heading to Hole 10 at The Links at Sierra Blanca to settle things.
Butkiewicz won the first hole, and everyone – Butkiewicz included – figured that was the end of it, but the playoff continued with Perales prevailing by the end of hole 12.
“He came back and played really well on 11, but I think his tee shot on 12 is what did him in,” said Ruidoso coach Jason Kampsky of Butkiewicz’s play. “But without that playoff, technically he won the tournament. There’s 60-some players, and he won.”
This was also the tournament which saw the Warrior boys finally get their first leg to the State tournament, shooting 336 at The Links, four strokes better than their score at Alto Lakes the day before.
As a team, Ruidoso’s two-day score of 676 placed them in sixth place, but they were just four strokes back of Artesia in third.
The team’s consistency was due to the consistent scores by individuals like Brooks Eggleston and Brennam Stewart, who pulled off the uncanny feat of shooting the exact same scores in two consecutive rounds. It was the second straight week they’d tied in a two-day event, dating back to last week’s Socorro Seery Invitational.
“It’s quite unusual, but hopefully those scores can go down and they can keep competing against each other,” Kampsky said. “I wouldn’t mind them taking 80 and 80 as opposed to 89-84.”
Another players who had a consistent week was Conner Jameson, who shot 83 both days and just missed cracking the top-10. Unfortunately for the Warriors, his scores didn’t count in the varsity team score.
That should prompt Kampsky to change the lineup before the NMMI Invitational in Roswell next week.
“The other thing I like is when you don’t just have two or three boys that are capable of shooting decent scores,” Kampsky said. “We have five, six or seven sometimes. It’s nice to be that deep.”
After NMMI, the team heads to the Canyon Club in Albuquerque – site of this year’s State tournament – to try for another leg.
“Not only would we be in the State tournament, but we would have put in a good score on that course, which would show where we’re at as far as competing,” Kampsky said.
Girls sure and steady
Ruidoso’s girls shot almost identical scores on two courses over two days, turning in a 389 at The Links, then shooting 390 at Cree Meadows on Tuesday.
Given that the Warriors hadn’t practiced at Cree but once all season long, coach Melissa Nanz was pleased with how things turned out.
“It’s hard when you don’t play there all the time,” Nanz said of Cree Meadows. “They did well today on putts. It may have been hard, but it was like that for everybody.”
Individually, there were no local players in the top 10, with Alexandra Michelena finishing highest with a two-day score of 174.
But a look at all of Ruidoso’s individual marks showed how consistent they were, more more than seven strokes separated any Warrior from the previous days’ mark.
Additionally, Ruidoso achieved two more State qualifying legs to improve their seeding once they do get to Albuquerque.
“Our bottom three did exactly what I wanted them to do,” Nanz said of the Warrior trio of Hope Misquez, Regan Jameson and Sophia Henry. “Alexandra and Sarah (Cordova) had a couple of holes that got them. But they both never quit on themselves. That’s what I look for in my team.”