LAFAYETTE — Peak to Peak golf coach John Thornbury had a feeling about his team.
What he might not have been so sure about was how clutch his Pumas would be when it mattered most.
On Tuesday on the one and only day of the Class 3A state golf tournament — after Day 1 was rained out — at Indian Peaks G.C., Peak to Peak and Kent Denver went back and forth all day at the top spot on the leaderboard.
"Everybody came through and they played extremely well under pressure," Thornbury said.
That's a mild understatement.
The Pumas foursome of Davis Long — who won medalist honors — Ian Thorpe, Nishant Datta and Ethan Tartaglia went a combined 5-under on holes 16-18 to finish up their round and eventually force a playoff with the Sun Devils.
That clutch gene ... it showed up one last time, with the state title on the line. It was Tartaglia, who nearly holed out for eagle on the first playoff hole — the par-5 No. 1 — whose par was the difference for the Pumas, who claimed their second title in three years.
"I've known it all season. They've played well and won a number of (Metropolitan) league tournaments and it was all a matter of them playing to their scoring average on the day of the tournament," Thornbury said. "This is pretty outstanding and I feel great for all of them, especially Davis, to come in and win as a sophomore."
Long went out quickly and birdied three of his first seven holes, but back-to-back bogies at Nos. 8 and 9 brought him back to the field.
With things tightening up down the stretch between Long, defending champion Oliver Jack of Kent Denver, Prospect Ridge sophomore Walker Franklin and Dawson's Billy Howenstein,it was Long that made birdies at Nos. 16 and 18, where he rolled in a 15-footer, to get to 3-under.
"I usually leaderboard watch, but today I was trying not to," said Long, who joins Sam Taylor in 2015 as a Pumas medalist. "I didn't really think 3-under would do it, but I knew it had a shot."
On the opposite side of the course, Franklin — who started on No. 10 — was already at 3-under after a huge birdie on No. 8. He went to his final hole knowing what he needed to do, and had to feel pretty confident after having not made a bogey all day.
After his tee shot trickled into the first cut of rough, Franklin came up short of the green with a 5-iron from 190 yards out and needed to make an up-and-down to force a playoff with Long. The ensuing chip rolled three feet past — automatic all day for the Miners sophomore — but he lipped out and settled for second.
"It was a tough putt and I pulled it just a tad," said Franklin, who played every single round this season under par. "I felt really confident over the putt and I visualized making it, and when I saw it lip out, it made me feel pretty sad."
Howenstein, playing with Franklin, also made things interesting late. He made birdies on Nos. 7 and 8 and knew he needed to chip in on his final hole to force a playoff. He was a little firm and eventually made triple to drop into an eight-way tie for fourth.
"I didn't know until my 15th or 16th hole, but I knew I was close," Howenstein said. "It was solid, I made a good push. I'm happy I was able to fight back from a couple of bad holes (including a four putt double on No. 17) on the front and give myself a chance."
CLASS 3A STATE TOURNAMENT
At Indian Peaks G.C.
Team scores — Peak to Peak 217*, Kent Denver 217, Aspen 224, Eaton 234, Colorado Academy 236, Sterling 242, Lutheran 243, Resurrection Christian 247, Lamar 250, Basalt 251, Cedaredge 253, Gunnison 257, St. Mary's 265.
Top individuals — 1. Davis Long, Peak to Peak, 69; T2. Walker Franklin, Prospect Ridge, 70; T2. Oliver Jack, Kent Denver 70; T4. Thomas Messner, Colorado Academy, 73; T4. Ian Thorpe, Peak to Peak, 73; T4. Dominic Lanese, Aspen, 73; T4. Peter Grossenbacher, Eaton, 73; T4. Jackson Klutznick, Kent Denver, 73; T4. Dawson Holmes, Aspen, 73; T4. Chris Rudosky, Montezuma Cortez, 73; T4. Billy Howenstein, Dawson, 73.
Other Peak to Peak results — Nishant Datta 75; Ethan Tartaglia 80.
Other Prospect Ridge results — Jaxon Franklin 76.
Jefferson Academy results — Jacob Mason 76; Jace Repola 89.
Other Dawson results — Chase Fulkerson 95.
Holy Family results — Garrett Green 81; Alex Mumm 94
* - won on first playoff hole