BROOMFIELD — If you made the field for the state tournament by playing The Broadlands on Monday morning, you earned it.
Fairview's Daniel Pearson would be the first to say it, and the rest of the five state-bound players between the Knights and Broomfield would likely nod in agreement.
"It was just a grind-it-out day," Pearson said after taking the Class 5A Northern regional title in dramatic fashion on the second hole of a playoff. "I fought through a lot of poor shots to shoot a respectable score."
Playing conditions were perfect at the course, but undulating greens made even the best shots to them rarely rewarded. On this day, no one in the near 60-player field shot under par. However, there were some good scores among Fairview and Broomfield, marks to be excited about as the teams head to the Fort Collins Country Club in two weeks.
Pearson's 73 led Fairview, but the Knights will be scoring as a team at state with all four players qualifying. Eli King (6-over 78), Will Branan (7-over 79) and Andrew Perry (8-over 80) all shot well enough to get in.
For Broomfield, Ryan May (79) and Shane Tilger (80) qualified after not making the cut last year.
"It was a tough course, so it's even more impressive what they all did," said Fairview coach Jay Capaul, whose team finished right behind Fossil Ridge and Heritage in third place. "They brought their A game when they needed to, and that's what you hope. If there's a pleasant surprise, it was Will."
In his own words, nothing defined Pearson's day more than the second playoff hole, as he and Heritage's Reese Leiker battled for supremacy in the region on the 18th hole.
After making a 4-foot putt on No. 10 to force a second playoff hole, Pearson nearly hit an iron shot out of bounds off the 18th tee. The ball settled in fescue about 170 yards from the pin, forcing as difficult a second shot as you'll ever see. Pearson made it look easy, then nailed a winding 15-foot putt to grab top honors.
"I struggled off the tee today but made up for it with my second shot and my putting," Pearson said. "When I hit my tee shot, I was surprised I hit it that bad. When I got up there, it wasn't the worst lie because I didn't have to hit through fescue to get to it. It was up and I couldn't put the club to it ... so I just did what I could. A shot that, in the back of your mind, that's what you hope for."
For the Eagles, May was the top finisher — in many ways finally rewarded a year after keeping BHS in the game during a team playoff last year at Green Valley Ranch. Back then, he had shot too high a score to advance with the rest of the team, and he vowed to make a big contribution this year.
He did so by staying relatively even coming into the clubhouse.
"Right after that, my goal for this year was to make state and it's been a great year," May said. "This was the only thing left. I was 6-over with seven to play and I knew the cut was going to be around 80. I was happy with the way I finished."
Class 5A Northern Region
At The Broadlands, Par 72
Team scores — Fossil Ridge 228#, Heritage 228#, Fairview 230, Castle View 237, Cherokee Trail 238, Broomfield 240, Dakota Ridge 248, Douglas County 250, Prairie View 256, Rocky Mountain 265, Chatfield 266, Palmer 269, Overland 297, Gateway 333, Hinley 439.
Top individuals and state qualifiers — 1. Daniel Pearson, Fairview, 73*; 2. Reese Leiker, Heritage, 73; 3. Taron Ford, Prairie View, 73; 4. Cam Nagel, Rocky Mountain, 74; T5. Ji Jang, 75; T5. Arik Roberts, Palmer, 75; T5. Dillon Stewart, Fossil Ridge, 75; T8. David Roney, Douglas County, 76; T8. Sam Blackwood, Heritage, 76; T8. Noah Brownwell, Fossil Ridge, 76; T11. Reese Taylor, Castle View, 77; T11. Matt Atkins, Fossil Ridge, 77; T13. Eli King, Fairview, 78; T13. Wyatt Derman, Castle View, 78; T15. Nick Leibold, Heritage, 79; T15. Will Branan, Fairview, 79; T15. Ryan May, Broomfield, 79; T18. Shane Tilger, Broomfield, 80; T18. Brad Scalia, Cherokee Trail, 80; T18. Andrew Perry, Fairview, 80; T18. Josh Caridi, Fossil Ridge, 80.
Other Broomfield results — Jackson Full 81, Adam Tilger 90.
# —Teams qualified for state; Fossil Ridge wins region of first playoff hole.
*—Won regional championship on second playoff hole.