Emerging star on links finding the sweet spot

Posted 7/23/18

Ross Macdonald is playing golf this summer like I wished I could play. He is confident and has learned not to carry around a bad shot, missed putt or a bogey for the rest of a round. Macdonald, after …

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Emerging star on links finding the sweet spot


Ross Macdonald is playing golf this summer like I wished I could play.

He is confident and has learned not to carry around a bad shot, missed putt or a bogey for the rest of a round.

Macdonald, after being 1-over-par on the front nine, shot a remarkable 7-under par 29 on the back side of the Bridges Golf and Country Club in Montrose on July 15 to win the Colorado Golf Association’s Western Chapter Championship for the second straight year.

He finished the final round with a 65 for a two-day total of 6-under-par 136 and a 9-stroke victory in the tournament.

When I used to play golf more than once every few years, I had a modest goal. I figured an average of five shots each hole and 45 for nine holes on the front side brought around the possibility of coming in with a 90 with few good shots on the back nine.

Macdonald, the Castle Rock golfer who tied for second as a redshirt University of Colorado sophomore last May at the Pac 12 championships with a 12-under-par 272, had an amazing finish with two eagles, three birdies and four pars as he used accurate 7-iron approach shots and only 11 putts on the final nine holes.

He has now won four CGA events and I can’t help wondering what the former Valor Christian golfer was thinking as he stayed patient and flirted with going under 30 strokes for the final nine holes.

“I got off to a slow start in the final round and I was 1-over through nine holes,” recalled Macdonald. “I wasn’t feeling great. I wasn’t swinging as well as I could. I just happened to really get it going which was cool because that doesn’t happen very often.

“I knew I was 6-under (on the back nine going into the 18 hole) and had never shot in the 20s in my life and at that point I was thinking about 29. I hit a good drive and made a birdie.”

And what about in hindsight?

“Obviously I thought about what if I was three or four under on the front but then I don’t know if I would have heated up like that.”

Macdonald will end the summer playing in the Colorado Open and the CGA State Amateur and hopes to continue playing consistent golf.

“Where I’ve gotten a lot better in the last year is getting over those bad holes and those bad shots and not letting it affect me,” he said. “I’m feeling good about my game and I have to keep on working at it. I was getting too mechanical and once I started freeing up and playing golf and not worrying about where the ball is going or could go, I had better results.”

Three shots shy

Janet Moore of Centennial and Valley County Club teaching pro Sherry Andonian-Smith of Parker turned in consistent scores during the first two rounds of the inaugural U.S. Women’s Senior Open July 12-13 at the Chicago Golf Club in Wheaton. Illinois.

Moore and Andonian-Smith each fashioned rounds of 80 and 81 for a 161 two-day aggregate but failed to finish below the cut line which was at 158 strokes.

Mile-high drag racing

For years, make that all my life, I have listened to how Denver’s elevation affects baseballs, golf balls, tennis balls, a person’s breathing and you name it.

So the National Hot Rod Association drivers competing in the Dodge Mile High Nationals, which were held July 20-22 at Bandimere Speedway, also had comments about racing a mile high at the Morrison track.

Bandimere racing is unique and a challenge because of the elevation, and members of each team’s crew struggled with the one-time adjustments to create the needed horsepower on the mountain.

Tommy Johnson was a runner-up in four different classes in previous years before this season’s Mile High Nationals.

“A lot of people come here hating this race because of the altitude and how hard it is to tune the cars,” said Johnson. “I come here loving this race because things seem to go well. A lot of it is attitude and I look forward to it every year.”

Funny Car driver Jack Beckman first raced at Bandimere in 1984 when he was stationed at Lowry Air Force Base and has three wins at track that is nicknamed Thunder Mountain.

“There’s only one track carved into a mountain,” he said. “The car never sounds the same, it doesn’t idle the same and it doesn’t accelerate the same. Things are just different and you better have taken the time to prepare yourself.

“I always tell people as a driver, there is no other facility you would rather see in your windshield than Denver because it is so dramatic, but as a crew chief there is no facility you would rather see in your rear-view mirror than Denver because nothing you try anywhere else works in Denver.”

Looking ahead

Mile Split ranked the nation’s top boys cross country teams for the fall season based on the top returning runners from 2017.

Mountain Vista was ranked 48th with an average time of 16:18.00 with runner Ethan Rouse, Jack O’Sullivan, Brody Dempsey, Seth Rouse and Aaron Hart.

Durango’s boys were 28th.

Jim Benton is a sports writer for Colorado Community Media. He has been covering sports in the Denver area since 1968. He can be reached at jbenton@coloradocommunitymedia.com or at 303-566-4083.

Jim Benton, Colorado high school sports, Ross Macdonald


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