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Prep champion Krafft feels at home at Paradise Hills

Calling Paradise Hills Golf Course the home course for Aidan Krafft is definitely within reason.

He played there as a kid, first starting out when he was 4, when the Kraffts lived across the street from the golf course. They moved away eight years ago but have still live within three miles from Paradise Hills.

Aidan Krafft, who will be a junior in the fall at Cibola, will play in the Sun Country Junior Tour Stableford Championship Monday and Tuesday at Paradise Hills Golf Course.

Krafft, who won the Class 5A state title as a freshman for Cibola High in 2019, won’t have to go far to get to the course next week for the Sun Country Junior Tour Stableford Championship because it’s at Paradise Hills.

The event is the first major junior tournament, or two-day competition (Monday and Tuesday), since coronavirus restrictions shut down the junior golf schedule back in March.

Krafft, 16, said he has been longing to play competitive golf. The Stableford Championship will be just his second event he has played in the past eight months. He said he has been working on his game since he last played a high school tournament in the fall.

“It’s different practicing when there are no tournaments,” Krafft said. “It was hard to have goals when there was nothing to do. It’s different. It’s such a weird time right now. It’s made me better I think. I’ve gotten more refined and sharper.”

Krafft finished tied for 17th, shooting 14-over 224, at the New Mexico-West Texas Amateur Championship that concluded on Sunday at Horizon Golf Club in the El Paso area. Krafft said he enjoyed playing in the NM-WT Amateur but was disappointed with his finish. He is eager to play in the Stableford Championship.

Registration for the tournament remains open through Thursday, online at suncpgajr.bluegolf.com.

The event is for boys and girls ages 13-18. Sun Country Junior Golf has had five one-day tournaments in June.

There are roughly 35-40 juniors registered thus far in the Stableford Championship, said Reese Carson, the tournament director.

They will tee off at 7:30 a.m. on each day.

The event will feature several preventive measures with regard to the coronavirus, including:

Hand sanitizer at the opening tee and at the turn.

Sun Country staff will be wearing masks.

The junior golfers will need to limit touching points, and no one is allowed to touch the flagstick. There will be no more than three players to a playing group.

There will be no awards ceremony. That will take place on social media and the trophy will be mailed out, Carson said.

A boxed lunch will be given out. The juniors will be spread out and not eat next to each other.

No body temperatures will be taken since the weather temperatures would not provide accurate results, Carson said. If any golfer is experiencing symptoms, their temperature will be taken and they will be sent home.

In case of evacuation due to weather, Sun Country will have a mask for each player upon leaving.

The tournament’s stableford scoring is as follows:

Double eagle: 15 points

Eagle: 10

Birdie: 7

Par: 5

Bogey: 3

Double bogey: 0

Triple bogey: minus-1

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