LOVELAND — Every golfer knows when they are having that round.
The palms get a little sweaty. The knees start to quake over those testy little four or five-foot putts and, most of all, the adrenaline is really flowing.
Such was the case for Silver Creek senior Jake Gannon, who stepped up to the 16th tee on Thursday in the first Northern League match of the year at The Olde Course at Loveland and was a sparkling 3-under par.
That aforementioned adrenaline kicked in and Gannon finished the final four holes in 4-over par to shoot 1-over 73 and claim medalist honors.
"I'll take that all day long," said Gannon, who was just ahead of teammate Jackson Solem (74) on the leaderboard. "I didn't want to finish that way and you never want to finish that way, but heck, 73 is a 73."
And you can't blame Gannon for looking ahead just a little bit. His career low of 70 was within reach, and had he just parred over his final four holes, he would have broke 70 for the first time in his career.
After turning at even-par 36, Gannon started to get the putter working on the Olde Course's slow greens on the back. He birdied No. 10, nearly eagled the par-5 13th and then birdied the course's signature and toughest hole No. 14.
"When you come to the 16th tee at 3-under, you are hauling and you want to get done as fast as you can," Gannon said. "I was standing on No. 14 tee thinking I really want to put a good score in here and I ended up making birdie and that's when it hit that I was having a decent round and I need to keep this going."
It was a tough day for Solem, who never really figured out the slow greens and despite three birdies on the inward nine could never really string together any sort of momentum.
"It's good to get the bad rounds out of the way early instead of late," said Solem, who didn't lose a Northern League tournament last season. "Obviously it would have nice (to keep the Northern League streak alive), but I didn't even really think about it. I was just trying to play decent."
Solem avoided any real big trouble until the 10th hole when his approach punch shot under the branches ran through the green and up against the wall some 30 yards over. He got no relief from the wall because it was a course boundary and he ended up making his only double bogey of the round.
He recovered from that with birdies at 12, 14 and 17 to come in even-par 36.
"I just didn't stroke it well today, they (the greens) were a little slow and I couldn't figure it out all day," he said. "I wanted to shoot a couple under and that is doable out here. I thought I was playing pretty decent, but I just didn't get t done."
Silver Creek — which also got dual 86s from T.J. Shehee and Luke Bedell — ended with a team score of 319 and that was good enough for a tie with Thompson Valley.
Niwot was a solid third in the team chase with a total of 336. The Cougars' No. 4 man, Max Kuesel led the way with an 82. Andrew Seals carded an 84 and both Ford Ladd and Jake Butler had 85.
It was a tough day for an undermanned Longmont team that only has four kids on the roster. Micah Frattini was the only Trojans player to break 100, shooting a 99.
Centaurus got a nice round from John Houlihan, who finished in 89. His teammate, freshman Nick Vaver, shot a 90 in his first varsity round.
NORTHERN LEAGUE MEET #1
At The Olde Course at Loveland
Team scores — Silver Creek 319, Thompson Valley 319, Niwot 336, Mountain View 361, Northridge 368, Greeley Central 378, Centaurus 399, Longmont 430.
Top individuals — 1. Jake Gannon, Silver Creek 73; 2. Jackson Solem, Silver Creek 74; 3. Darren Edwards, Thompson Valley 76; T4. Matt Heeseman, Mountain View 80; T4. Caleb Bruce, Thompson Valley 80; 6. Caleb Dwyer, Thompson Valley, 81; T7. Max Kuesel, Niwot 82; T7. Nathan Dwyer, Thompson Valley, 82; T9. Andrews Seals, Niwot 84; T9. Connor Burke, Northridge 84.
Centaurus results — John Houlihan 89; Nick Vaver 90; Cole Proctor 103; David Celano 117; Jack Larson 117.
Longmont results — Micah Frattini 99; Dawson Fry 106; Jake Fry 106; Greg Kissam 119.
Other Niwot results — Ford Ladd 85; Jake Butler 85; Jacob VonLoh 95.
Other Silver Creek results — T.J. Shehee 86; Luke Bedell 86; Chase Hindamann 103.