AURORA - With two locals entering Monday's first round of the Class 3A boys golf tournament as the past two defending medalists, both came in with a similar goal.
Wash, rinse and repeat.
One made a move; the other didn't.
After the opening round at Saddle Rock Golf Course, which did not yield a below-par score, Dawson School's Yale Kim, the 2014 winner, is tied for second place with two others. He shot a 1-over-par 73 to trail Kent Denver's Oliver Jack by a shot. Kim is tied with Estes Park's Ivan Richmond and Jefferson Academy's Jacob Mason.
As for Peak to Peak's Sam Taylor, the 2015 winner, he stumbled to a 12-over 84 and is tied for 38th. However, his Pumas, champions a year ago, are tied with Kent Denver at 9-over in the team chase.
Such is golf, both agreed.
Kim and his Dawson mates received a couple of good-luck telephone calls from past Mustangs captains before teeing off. The purpose was clear - concentrate on every shot, take their time and, well, stop thinking, let things happen and be the ball.
"Absolutely, and it worked for me for most of the round," Kim said. "It's never a perfect game and you can always have double bogeys or bogeys ... the most important thing is how you get back from that. Before every shot I put that into my routine, I just forget about everything. Let the swing be on its own."
It was for his front nine, which consisted of three birdies and six pars to go out in 33, then he came home in 40. A double bogey and two bogeys made him blow up a bit and Kim just missed a left-to-right 10-footer on No. 18 that he really wanted to drop, but he's in position, he held it together and he knows it.
Sixth a year ago, Kim said "I'm more excited than nervous. And I'm here to have a good time."
As for Taylor, he had assorted issues, many of them on the green that included a four-putt on No. 18. But he isn't down. Hardly.
"It was a disappointing day today, but that's golf," he said. "The goal was to keep a positive attitude out there and I think I did that."
Taylor, who allowed that he felt stress and pressure while attempting to repeat, just about recovered, too - he was 4-over through six holes, then had a quadruple bogey on No. 7. However, he played the next nine holes in 1-under before bogeying 17 and triple-bogeying the last hole.
His one good round as a Puma in 2016, he said, was a 68 in his team's final league tournament, "but I've been mostly down this year ... I had a lot of mental errors today. I didn't start out putting very well. But my team supported me and they did a great job. It's great to have four players able to score."
Ethan Tartaglia (74, tied for fifth), Ian Thorpe (75, tied for seventh) and Nishant Datta (76, tied for ninth) finished close together nicely as if they were a grouping of darts.
'The guys did a nice job of picking up (Taylor)," Pumas coach John Thornbury said.
Class 3A state tournament, Day 1
At Saddle Rock Golf Club
Team scores — Peak to Peak 225; Kent Denver 225; Aspen 234; Eaton 235; Dawson School 237; Basalt 239; Sterling 241; Delta 247; Lutheran 253; Alamosa 259; Holy Family 260; Cedaredge 265; Manitou Springs 286; Pagosa Springs 296.
Top individuals — 1. Jack, Kent Denver, 72; T2. Kim, Dawson School, 73; T2. Richmond, Estes Park, 73; T2. Mason, Jefferson Academy, 73; T5. O'Halloran, TCA, 74; T5. Tartaglia, Peak to Peak, 74; T7. Klutznick, Kent Denver, 75; T7. Thorpe, Peak to Peak, 75; T9. Rudosky, Cortez, 76; T9. Hughes, Aspen, 76; T9. Datta, Peak to Peak, 76; T9. Howenstein, Dawson School, 76.
Other local results — W. Franklin, Prospect Ridge, 77; Clingman, Holy Family, 81; J. Franklin, Prospect Ridge, 81; Taylor, Peak to Peak, 84; Green, Holy Family, 84; Platt, Dawson School, 88, Montoya, Holy Family, 95; Hill, Holy Family, 96.