For golfers like Fairview's Daniel Pearson, those who are completely invested in the sport as a possible path in life, scores matter throughout the entire year.
At the same time, Pearson wanted to be at his absolute best for his senior season playing with the Knights. The Longmont resident made a switch in home course to Fox Hill where he joined his good friend Jackson Solem, and through his experiences and growth in the Junior Golf Alliance of Colorado, he went from somewhat of a scrambler to a sniper in just a matter of months.
When it came to big tournaments this high school season, he was almost always at his best, and for that, along with continued success in the Class 5A Front Range League, Pearson has been named the 2016 BoCoPreps.com golfer of the year.
"Overall I think I played pretty well," Pearson said this week after wrapping up the season with a 69.17 stroke average. "I've gotten to play with Jackson almost every day and I feel like I've gotten so much better just because of that.
"In the past I've been pretty good at putting but that could only get me so far because I would hit a bunch of awful tee shots and have to try and save the hole. This year I hit the ball really well and gave myself a ton of opportunities to make birdies and when I putted well I made those birdies. That helped me consistently get under par and shoot more of the scores I wanted."
His improved accuracy showed up immediately at the start of the prep season, just weeks after playing with Silver Creek's Solem, Windsor's Cole Krantz and Eaglecrest's Davis Bryant representing Team Colorado at the Junior America's Cup in Guadalajara, Mexico. Pearson opened his prep season with a 1-over 72 and co-medalist honors at the Greeley West Invitational, and he turned right around the next day and won the Cherry Creek Invite at Buffalo Run carding a 67.
A 65 at the Broadlands in the Horizon Invite represented his personal low score in tournament play, and in a span between Sept. 9-20 he captured titles at the Loveland Invite (by three strokes), the Class 5A Western Regional (carding a 66) and the Valor Christian Invite (another 66).
A 69 on the second day of the Class 5A state tournament at Bookcliff Country Club helped Pearson climb back up the leaderboard a bit — giving him another solid finish after claiming a Front Range League championship, as well.
The FRL was challenging enough, but looking back on 2016 Pearson was most proud of how he swung the clubs when the competition involved some of the state's finest golfers.
"The invitationals just tended to be played at a little longer and tougher courses and I just like that challenge to go along with playing with some of the best players," said Pearson, who will continue his career at Nebraska. "It just seemed to make me focus in a lot more.
"The regional, I felt I played about as well as a I could have. It's rough not playing my best at state because that's the one that obviously matters most, but I didn't feel like I made a lot of mental errors there. I ended my high school career with a good round even though the conditions were worse the second day. So I was good with that."