Eagle golfers gained experience in four fall tourneys
In some ways, the Belen High golf lineup looks nothing like it did last spring. In others, it looks almost exactly the same.
With the graduation of Taylar Jaramillo, the two-time Class 4A state champion and the only active girl in the program over the past couple of years, there is less focus on BHS golf. However, that gives BHS coach Craig Tabet’s young group of boys players a chance to carve their own niche. It’s basically the same inexperienced group that took to the links last spring, and the Eagles were able to improve in several skill areas at four tournaments this fall.
Belen will be able to enter six days of regular-season golf in the spring, not including the district tournament. The spring schedule won’t be determined until after a statewide coaches meeting takes place.
The Eagles didn’t earn any team or individual state-qualifying legs this fall, so they’ll have to qualify for state in the spring.
“Some of our guys are only in their first or second year of golf, and have made amazing advances,” said Tabet. “The kids are excited. They’re looking forward to the spring.”
The Eagles began their fall stint at the Los Alamos Invite on Sept. 17. That was followed by an Oct. 2 tourney at Coyote del Malpais Golf Course in Grants and an APS event at Albuquerque’s Arroyo Del Oso Golf Course on Oct. 11.
Belen wrapped up the fall portion of the schedule with an Oct. 16 tournament at Santa Ana Golf Club, hosted by St. Pius.
At Los Alamos, the Eagles’ most experienced player, Martin Campbell, shot an 82. Tristan Wright shot an 86, and Joseph Davis shot in the mid 90s. Carlos Sanchez and Dustin Jojola shot over 100.
Campbell, a four-year BHS letterman, is a junior. Wright, Davis, Sanchez and Jojola are all freshmen. No seniors played for the boys in the fall.
Davis, a member of the Belen boys soccer team, didn’t play in the other three tournaments. He was replaced on the five-man team by junior Jeremy Jojola.
At the Oct. 2 Grants tourney, Campbell and Wright both shot 91. Jeremy Jojola shot a 114, and Tabet said both Sanchez and Dustin Jojola shot above 100.
Tabet said the team score at Grants was around 400.
On Oct. 11, at an Albuquerque Public Schools event at Arroyo del Oso, Belen had a team score of 367, which placed them in the middle of the pack, Tabet said.
The tourney was the best round of the fall for both Wright and Jeremy Jojola. Wright shot an 88.
Jeremy Jojola shot a 91, as did Campbell. Dustin Jojola had a 97, and Sanchez carded a 106.
Tabet said Wright struck the ball well, and he reached the green easily. Campbell recovered from a rough start that included double bogeys on the first four holes.
In the Eagles’ fall finale, the St. Pius tourney, it was extremely windy on the Santa Ana course. The Eagles struggled, posting a score of 404 and placing sixth behind Hope Christian, St. Pius, Cleveland, Hobbs and Raton.
Campbell led the way with a 91, followed by Dustin Jojola (97), Wright and Sanchez (both at 108) and Jeremy Jojola (110).
“The wind got into their heads a little bit,” said Tabet. “It was a really miserable day, and it was a round that took, like, six hours to play.”
Kevin Garcia, who played well as a freshman last spring, didn’t play golf this fall due to his football commitment.
Tabet said that if Campbell and Wright can improve their short game slightly, state-qualifying legs are possible. Golfers must meet qualifying scores to earn the three legs needed to qualify for the state championships in May.
“The guys really want to play well,” said Tabet. “They need to get to a point where they aren’t so nervous when they tee off.”
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