Sam Rock fully realizes that he has less than a month left in his high school golf career, but the Fairview senior is doing his best not to dwell on the pressure that can come with high expectations.
After failing to qualify for the 5A state tournament as a junior following 10th- and 16th-place finishes at state his first two seasons, Rock hopes a more laid-back approach pays dividends this fall.
As the regular season winds down, he aims to peak at the right time, and on Thursday he showed some positive signs in shooting a 5-over-par 75 and tying for second place in the final Front Range South Division tournament of the year.
Despite bogeying his final three holes at Flatirons Golf Course, Rock ended up just a stroke behind champion Peyton Lindbloom of Legacy.
“I’m motivated, but I’m still laid-back because it’s my senior year in high school and I’m just out here to have a good time,” Rock said. “I don’t put that much pressure on myself anymore because I find that I don’t do well when I do that. And for the most part, I think I’ve been playing better this year than I did last year going into regionals.”
But only time will tell as the tournaments quickly ratchet up in importance.
The Front Range League Championship is set for Thursday, then there’s the 5A Northern Regional Sept. 19 in Loveland, and, depending how regionals go, the 5A state meet Oct. 3-4 in Grand Junction.
Rock “has matured as a player,” FHS coach Jay Capaul said. “I think he was really pushing the last couple of years, but this year he’s relaxed a little more. He knows he doesn’t have to do it all for us to do something (as a team), so I think he’s a more comfortable player. But I think he’s ready to go, and believe you me, he knows this is his last year.”
While Fairview finished third Thursday as its No. 2 and 3 players (Matt Vacek and Kevin Wohlfarth) didn’t compete, Legacy ran away with the team title with a 302 total.
Boulder, which has won two Front Range South meets this season, was second at 319. Kevin Klatman and Grant Rogers each carded 78 to lead the Panthers. Monarch placed sixth at 359.
“We certainly didn’t play the way we were hoping to play on our home course,” Boulder coach Jim Kozlowski said. “We’re young and I think it’s kind of showing. We’ve had some good tournaments, but we’ve been up and down. It’s a good group, though — they’re real focused — so hopefully it will pan out.”
Front Range League South Meet
At Par-70 Flatirons GC in Boulder
Team scores — 1. Legacy 302; 2. Boulder 319; 3. Fairview 325; 4. Horizon 352; 5. Mountain Range 356; 6. Monarch 359.
Top individuals — 1. Peyton Lindbloom, Legacy, 74; 2. (tie) Sam Rock, Fairview, 75; Eric Chen, Legacy, 75.
Boulder scores — Kevin Klatman 78; Grant Rogers 78; Austin Williams 81; Grant Dinkel 82; Rio Moore 88.
Other Fairview scores — Dave Sherwood 79; Cason McHose 84; Patrick Kaboth 87; Joe Rosania 87.
Monarch scores — Drew Ersek 85; Luke Huntington 85; Taylor Walker 94; Cole Niessink 95; Tanner Cole 96.