By Tracy Renck, Pueblo Chieftain
David Duarte is far from imposing in stature.
He's a 5-foot-9, 130-pound string bean.
The Colorado State University-Pueblo golfer, however, is an intimidating force on the course.
Something which isn't lost on Pack head coach Ray Makloski.
"He's just a real consistent leader for us," Makloski said. "His temperament on the course is perfect. He's always nice and even out there and everybody on the team is always looking up to him for guidance."
Duarte is no secret in Rocky Mountain Athletic Conference circles. The 2005 Fountain-Fort Carson graduate was selected to the preseason all-conference squad in August.
"I wouldn't say that people recognize me on the course," Duarte said. "That poll just let me know that the (RMAC) coaches know who I am, but it doesn't change the way I am going to play."
Duarte is currently competing at the two-day RMAC Event No. 2 tournament at Hastings, Minn. Duarte and the T-Wolves conclude their fall season Oct. 1-2 at the Grand Canyon Invitational in Phoenix.
"I'm always trying to stay mentally focused so I don't let my score get away from me," Duarte said. "Plus, I'm constantly aware of the elements around me on the course."
Last Monday and Tuesday, Duarte paced the ThunderWolves with a three-round, 4-over-par score of 274 at the RMAC Event No. 1 at Desert Hawk Golf Course in Pueblo West. Duarte placed in a tie for second in the tourney, four strokes behind champion David Pool of Western New Mexico.
"David always seems to play well for us," Duarte's teammate Ray Maruyama said. "He's the one guy who we count on all the time."
Duarte was introduced to the sport of golf by members of his family eight years ago and he's never stopped playing.
"When I first started golfing, I had a lot of fun," Duarte said. "I got addicted to playing and I began going to the course every day."
By the time Duarte finished his prep career he knew he wanted to play at the next level and he didn't have to look far to find a fit.
"I really liked the CSU-Pueblo campus and coaches and it was nice to be able to go to college so close to home," said Duarte, who is majoring in business management marketing.
Duarte also said that he enjoys playing basketball and softball and just hanging with his friends.
Still, golf is his No. 1 passion.
"Tiger Woods is my favorite player and I just love his approach to the game," Duarte said. "Personally, I just love competing in a round of golf and posting a score that's good for that day. That's very satisfying to me."