BROOMFIELD — Through just over a week of play, the Holy Family boys golf team has a drastically different look, and feel, to it as the Tigers have gotten off to a great start to the 2018 season.
The Tigers' lineup is mostly the same, only stronger, and with the exception of one pretty big wild card.
Jackson Grace is a sophomore who missed last year's state tournament and has taken a big step forward after spending the summer traveling around the country playing AJGA tournaments. Alex Mumm is a returning state qualifier and a senior who has become far more consistent. Garrett Green, who was the Tigers' No. 1 as a freshman and a sophomore, is a junior and also qualified for state last year. Then there's the addition of competition-eligible junior transfer Jacob Mason, who tied for 16th in Class 3A while playing for Jefferson Academy last season and is off to a hot start this fall.
That combination of changes could combine to propel the Tigers from not being counted in the team scoring at state last year to possibly competing for the 2018 team title in October.
"I felt like we were going to be a pretty strong team and then I found out that Mason was going to be transferring in and would be eligible immediately," Tigers head coach Will Wilson said. "We went from a pretty strong team to a contender pretty quickly with that."
Even with the returning Tigers showing improvement to a man, Mason is the key addition for the Tigers this season. He hasn't finished lower than second at any match he has competed in this season, which already includes a pair of quality invitationals in the Holy Family Stableford Invite and the Sun Devil Invitational.
Despite changing schools to Holy Family in the offseason, Mason appears to be comfortable in his new surroundings already.
"I feel like it's going great so far," Mason said. "This is probably the best start I've ever had as a high school golfer. It's cool to be on a new team with new faces and making new friends. I hope I can keep it up. We're looking great right now so I'm hoping our team and I can keep playing well and going out there and grinding every time we step on the course.
"I'm hoping to win state individually and I think our team has the talent to win a state championship, I really do, and I'm really looking forward to seeing what we can do."
If Mason can keep it up, he'll be in great shape and so will the Tigers.
Storming out of the gates, the Tigers have already won the first two Tri-Valley League matches of the 2018 season. They won the first league match even without Mason in the lineup. They won the second with Mason shooting a 7-under 65 at Saddleback Golf Course and Grace shooting a 68.
"That was the best round I've ever had," Mason said. "Everything was clicking. I was hitting the ball really well. I didn't feel like I could miss a putt all day. My wedge game was looking good. It was a great way to kick off the year."
Joining Peak to Peak's Davis Long, the defending 3A state champion, Prospect Ridge's Walker Franklin and Dawson School's Billy Howenstein, Mason now appears to be one of several early BoCoPreps.com-area contenders for the 3A crown.
"It's really cool that 3A is really strong and we have so many good players in our area," Mason said. "It's also cool to have fun with them play rounds with them. I know Walker and Billy really well and they're all great guys. I think it'll be a great battle at state."
For the team and individual titles, Kent Denver is always in the mix, and Aspen and Colorado Academy look like contenders again in 2018. But given how well they've shown so far this season, it might be time to add the Holy Family Tigers to that list.