LA JUNTA — Jay Paolucci wasn’t going to let his teammate have all the fun this week. The La Junta junior watched as his teammate and buddy Cody Schrock took the Pueblo South Invite on Wednesday.
So Friday, on the Tigers’ home course, Paolucci decided he was going to get in the winner’s circle.
He shot a two-over-par 72, but amassed 33 points in the Stableford format to grab the win at the La Junta Invitational. Schrock also netted 33 points, but Paolucci took the win based off a scorecard tiebreaker.
“I can play a little more aggressively (in Stableford) than I can in stroke play,” Paolucci said. “I can be more aggressive with drives and wedge shots to try and make birdie.”
That approach did get him in trouble a bit as he made double-bogey on No. 4. Going two strokes or more over par results in a lost point. Take away that one hole and he was even more pleased with his overall round.
“I was happy with that,” Paolucci said. “Shooting a 72 with a double-bogey? I’ll take that all day long.”
The feeling was only made better by seeing a teammate right behind him on the leaderboard and the overall team coming away with a win at the event.
For the second time this week, Schrock’s score has been the best. But with no one matching him at Elmwood on Wednesday, he got that win rather than falling in a tiebreaker like he did on Friday.
“It’s a good feeling,” Schrock said. “Today, I was just trying to get points. I wasn’t worried about the (strokes) I was just trying to get as many points as I could. At the South tournament, I was just rolling putts in from everywhere.”
He paced himself early, scoring two birdies in his first four holes, grabbing three points apiece for them.
Most importantly, he never went worse than bogey.
Third place went to Trinidad’s Lance Peters, who started his round with a double-bogey on No. 1, a two-point swing on a difference of only one stroke.
From then on, Peters was more consistent with his play and even matched Schrock’s 38 strokes on the back nine. He finished with 30 points for his round.
“In stroke play, when you have a bad hole like that, you have to get those strokes back,” Peters said. “In Stableford, you can have that hole and get pars to get those points back. So you always have to be on the attack.”
The Tigers have five tournaments left on their schedule, according to iWanamaker. The last league tournament will be at the Country Club at Woodmoor for the Colorado Springs Christian Invitational.
A win for Schrock and a team win for La Junta is giving the team a big confidence boost heading into the final stretch of the season, the time when everyone wants to be playing their best golf.
“They’re starting to peak at the right time,” La Junta coach Aaron Pearson said. “We’re a week or so from regionals and we haven’t shot well together. Today on our home course we kind of expect to, but we finally played well together.”