Durango High School Golf Set to Begin 2020 Season – The Durango Herald

Flint and Tichi lead a young DHS golf team

The high school boys’ golf season has begun and the Durango Demons have their roster for Monday’s tournament at Adobe Creek National Golf Course in Fruita.

The Demons will be led by juniors Anthony Flint and Luke Tichi, two players with plenty of college experience. Tichi qualified for the state tournament last year, while Flint just missed the cut for the state in the regional qualifying tournament.

This year, the two are aiming to make it to the CHSAA Class 4A State Golf Championship at the Eisenhower Golf Course Oct. 5-6 at the Air Force Academy. Flint said he would like to finish in the top 20 in the state this year, while Tichi aims to improve on his 21st place finish from a year ago.

“I would like to win the state. It was always a goal,” Tichi said. “I like our team this year, and we have a few guys who can shoot well behind us. I think we can do well.

It’s a different kind of season with COVID-19 health protocols in place. Travel will be more difficult for Demons, especially for back-to-back tournaments with overnight stays which are currently not allowed. So DHS head coach Kirk Rawles will rely on more parental involvement on road trips to try to get players to as many events as possible.

Durango High School head coach Kirk Rawles checks Ian Jackson’s temperature before the start of practice at Hillcrest Golf Club on Wednesday.

Jerry McBride/Durango Herald

Before every workout, Rawles must also administer a temperature check. Players will practice wearing a mask and keep well spaced out in the practice areas at Hillcrest Golf Club. It’s all part of the sports landscape in 2020.

“It’s different,” Rawles said. “At tournaments, most all go to tee times instead of shotgun tee times to avoid having large groups of 80 or 90 golfers on the course at the same time and to make sure they are not not all on the driving range together. There will be no awards ceremonies after tournaments, that sort of thing. And there will be fewer teams at tournaments, especially our home tournaments without the schools in the New Mexico can’t play this fall.

Rawles said he has about 30 players on the team this year, and the number has only increased since the fall sports of soccer and men’s soccer were moved to the spring. In a nine-hole varsity qualifying round on Thursday, Rawles set his varsity roster for next week’s tournaments at Fruita and Montrose. Flint led the way with an above-par 38. Tichi shot 39, Luke Carlson posted a 42, senior Jake Genualdi finished with a 45 and AJ Folk shot 47.

Jake Genualdi is the only senior on the Durango High School men’s golf team this year. He’s faced stiff competition in years past, but now he’s ready for his shot at the varsity team.

Jerry McBride/Durango Herald

Rawles expects more players to challenge for the end of the college rotation all season, and he plans many more qualifying rounds to help encourage competition in a season in which the Demons do not. may not attend as many events. He also hopes to organize a friendly competition with the Fort Lewis College men’s team.

“We have a lot of sophomores who are going to compete for that fifth place,” Rawles said. “Spots three through five could change a lot this year. We have a young team, so they will put the miles where they can.

Flint is excited about the team’s potential. After years as an underclass with talented players ahead of them, it’s now Flint and Tichi who are taking young players under their wing.

“We looked up to guys from the past for a long time. Now it’s good to mentor the younger ones,” Flint said. “We have a very solid younger team that we can grow with since Levi and I are only juniors.”

Flint, who is also a basketball star for the Demons, said he was able to work more on his golf game this summer without playing basketball tournaments. He feels stronger with his putter and has made six- to 10-foot putts at a higher pace.

“They are momentum savers,” he said.

Durango High School golfer Lucas Carlson is capable of scoring low and will give the Demons some talent at the back of the varsity roster.

Jerry McBride/Durango Herald

Tichi feels confident with his iron game and his approach shots into the greens. Although he hasn’t had the chance to play in as many tournaments this summer, he said he feels pretty good heading into next week.

The Demons will host tournaments on September 14 and 15 at Hillcrest and Dalton Ranch, respectively. These will be the last updates before the regionals of September 21 in Pueblo. Rawles thinks the demons will be able to fight back when that date arrives.

“Genualdi had a few rounds in the 70s, and Carlson has scores in the 80s,” Rawles said. “If Anthony and Levi stay where they are, I always say regionals only last one day, so if you get three guys that click on a day, that’s enough. This is really what we should aim for. You will get there one day and you hope that everyone will do their best. I think we’ll stack up well.

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