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Jones and Ware wear out Last Chance Tournament

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Goddard’s freshman Jadin Ware shot a career-best 78 Monday at The Last Chance Tournament Thursday at NMMI. (J.T. Keith Photo)

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Seven teams competed in the Last Chance Tournament at New Mexico Military Institute golf course as desperate golfers with hopes of making it to state sweated it out under the morning sun Thursday. Two of the youngest players in the field played as if they were in the clubhouse drinking lemonade. They were. Roswell eighth-grader Peyton Jones shot the third-best score for boys with a 73. The only scores better than his were shot by Portales’ Valen Low, who shot a 72, and Ruidoso’s Jake Butkiewicz’s 69.

Roswell’s Peyton Jones shot a 73 on Thursday to finish second in the Last Chance Tournament. Jones will play in the district tournament on Monday in Artesia. (J.T. Keith Photo)

Jones will be going to the district tournament on Monday and has already qualified for state.

“It was a solid day for me,” Peyton Jones said. “All I wanted to do today was play a solid round of golf. Instead of shooting for score, I wanted to play a solid round for me. Today, my mindset was to get it started. I felt like I had it going about hole nine. I got my first birdie there. Today was pretty (much) confidence building. I’m excited about state.”

Jones played in the first group and outplayed Goddard’s Cavan Jones, who shot an 86. Cavan had one of those days that golfers had. In fact, he didn’t let it affect him as he knows his best golf is in front of him with the district tournament on Monday at Artesia and the state tournament the following week.

“I went into the round pretty confident,” Cavan Jones said. “I played alright. I got unlucky on some holes that kind of messed my round up. I know what I can and need to do and I need to let my body do what it needs to do and go out there with peace and a calm mindset.”

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On the girls side, the winner of the event was Portales’ Janae Hale, who shot a 77. Hale felt pressure from Goddard ninth-grader Jadin Ware. Ware overcame a bad shot on the fifth hole to par it. After that shot, it was clear sailing as she shot her best round of golf this season with a 78.

Last season, Ware made it to the state tournament as a team member; this year, she will go as an individual. She will also play in the district tournament in Artesia on Monday.

“My game has improved a lot,” Ware said. “I have been working a lot — everything has gotten better, especially my short game. I shot a 78, my best score of the season. I really put it together on the second to last hole. I thought I can do this. It helps when I play with good players.”

Roswell senior Adriana Mundy shot a qualifying score of 94 to make it to state. The senior is headed to Eastern New Mexico University on a music scholarship. This is Mundy’s first trip to state and she will also compete in the district championship on Monday.

“I felt like my drives weren’t the strongest,” Mundy said. “My putting and chipping were pretty good. I’m happy to be going to state. I’m very excited to be going to state. This is my last time and I want to go. I missed it last year by a little bit.”

Goddard boys as a team shot a season-best 334, as Logan King shot 81, Gabe Aragon shot an 87 and the surprise of the team is first-year golfer and ex-baseball player Cameron Beeman. Beeman shot an 80. Even though Beeman shot an 80, he did not qualify for state because he did not shoot 80 three times during the season to qualify for state.

“Shooting an 80 has brought my confidence up,” Beeman said. “I realize that I can and I will qualify for state. Last year, I played baseball and this is my first year playing golf. I wasn’t enjoying baseball anymore and I really enjoy golf. I will work on my tee shot and drives this summer.”

Dexter’s coach Larry Vandenbout is enjoying a rejuvenation of his program with help from brothers Garrett and Tanner Hamill. Tanner shot a 76 and Garrett overcame a double bogey on hole five to shoot a 78. Dexter’s team shot a season-best 329 for their first team leg in years.

“I shot a double bogey on hole five,” Tanner said. “I shot one-under on the back nine and that helped. We don’t have a team leg and I would like everybody to go since I’m a senior.”

For that to happen, Dexter has to shoot a qualifying score and win district.

The team will play 9 a.m. at NMMI for the district title against Portales, NMMI, Ruidoso, Texico, Hope Christian, Tucumcari and Clovis Christian.