LAFAYETTE — Joey Bartoletti has played only two rounds of golf so far this season and already it has been an emotional ride for the Holy Family junior.
Blame Kent Denver for much of Bartoletti’s swing of sentiments.
He was riding high last after helping his team to a season- and Metro League-opening win over the perennial Class 3A powerhouse. But Monday at Indian Peaks Golf Course, finishing second to the Sun Devils meant the junior was forced to return to reality.
“I was pretty ecstatic beating Kent to open the season, but it was a different result today,” said Bartoletti, whose 78 tied him for Holy Family’s best round at the match. “But it’s not the end of the world. There’s plenty of season to bounce back. This was just a learning experience for us.”
The big lesson for the Tigers, at the par-72 course was to watch out for Kent Denver when the team is full strength. The Sun Devils were missing Ethan Freeman at the opening match Aug. 9 at Aurora Hills. But the two-time defending 3A individual state champion more than made his presence felt at Indian Peaks.
Freeman won the round, shooting a 66. And he was hardly the only Kent player to find his touch in the shadow of the Front Range. The team’s entire foursome finished in the top 10, giving it a 29-stoke advantage over the Tigers for the win.
“I think some nerves were to be expected after the round we had against them last week and knowing they were ahead of Kent,” Holy Family coach Will Wilson said. “I was expecting a return to reality this week.”
Kent took control of the Metro League title race with the win. But from Wilson’s perspective, the situation is far from dim for the Tigers.
“At the end of last season, they were 60 stokes ahead of us. After today, they’re somewhere around 10 with four matches to go,” the coach said. “We could well compete with them.”
Wilson would feel more comfortable about his team’s chances if he had some golfers break consistently into the low 70s. But so far he is not breaking a sweat with each of his varsity players having shot below 80 in one of the past two tournaments.
Bartoletti and Mathew Collier had the Tigers’ best rounds at Indian Peaks and were closely trailed by Conor Stanley, who shot a 79. And while Kent was Monday’s biggest obstacle, it was far from only one the Tigers contended with. The fairways and greens that now cover Bob Beauprez’s old dairy farm also had a hand in keeping Holy Family on its toes.
“There are a lot of blind tee and second shots, you’ve really got to know the course,” Bartoletti said. “I was only 1-over after nine, but the back wasn’t as pretty for me.”
Still short its No. 2 golfer, Jack Cavanagh, Peak to Peak had to settle for sixth in the match. But the team still had its high points, with a strong showing by its lone returning state qualifier.
Behrod Keshtavar carded a 76, but the junior had plenty of nits to pick in his round. What left Keshtavar fuming was his approach shot, especially when he was close to the green.
“I never hit my wedge well today, I was hitting long,” he said.
Despite his troubles in getting on the green, Keshtavar was solid once he reached them, as well as coming off the tee.
“I drove the ball well today and putted well,” he said. “I had a few up-downs that saved me.”
Follow Woody on Twitter: @ElwoodKShelton
METRO LEAGUE MEET NO. 2
At Indian Peaks G.C., par 72
Team scores — Kent Denver 287, Holy Family 316, Lutheran 340, Colorado Academy 349, Machebuef 369, Peak to Peak 367, Jefferson Academy 370, Faith Christian NS.
Top individuals — 1. Ethan Freeman, Kent Denver, 66; t2. Ben Moore, Kent Denver, 68; t2. Jack Cummings, Faith Christian, 68; 4. Josh Repine, Kent Denver, 75; 5. Behrod Keshtauar, Peak to Peak, 76; t6. Will Fehr, Kent Denver, 78; t6. Joey Bartoletti, Kent Denver, 78; t6. Mathew Collier, Holy Family, 78; 9. Conor Stanley, Holy Family, 79; t10. Blake Bollman, Holy Family 80; t10. Tyler Lucero, Holy Family, 80; t10. Hayden Nicholaides, Lutheran, 80.
Other Peak to Peak scores: Max Clark, 84; Cos Braswell, 104; Ben Pinkerman, 103; Michael Carrannante, 108.