BROOMFIELD — Playing in the same league as a six-time defending state champion can be a mixed bag.
On the one hand, don’t expect to win many league tournaments. On the other, competing against the best can bring out your best.
That’s where the Holy Family boys golf team finds itself when playing in the same tournaments as Metro League opponent Kent Denver, which won the 2006 and ’07 4A state titles and every 3A state championship Colorado’s ever conducted (2008 through ’11). The Sun Devils’ six consecutive victories at state in boys golf ties the Colorado record established by ThunderRidge (2001 through ’06 in 5A).
Meanwhile, Holy Family has been pretty strong in its own right, having finished fifth at state each of the first four seasons there’s been a 3A classification.
On Thursday in the third Metro League tournament of the year — this one hosted by Holy Family at the Broadlands Golf Course — the Tigers finished a familiar second to Kent Denver. Though Holy Family won the first league tournament this year, Kent played without its top golfer, two-time defending 3A state individual champion Ethan Freeman.
“They’re always going to be a little intimidating because you have Ethan (70 Thursday) and Ben (Moore, 71) shooting really well,” said junior Conor Stanley, who fired a career-best 1-over-par 73 on Thursday to lead Holy Family. “But it should also motivate you that you want to do that good, and you want to be that team that everyone is looking out for. Hopefully we can make that a possibility in the next few years.”
At the Broadlands, Kent posted a 7-over-par 295 total for its top four players, beating Holy Family by a dozen strokes. Peak to Peak placed fourth at 320.
Individually, Stanley finished fourth, three strokes behind co-champions Freeman and Jack Cummings of Faith Christian.
Regularly competing against Kent Denver “really gives us a challenge,” said Blake Bollman, who shot a 77 Thursday along with Tiger teammate Tyler Lucero. “It’s something to shoot for, to beat Kent every now and then.”
Despite placing first, second and second in the three league tournaments, Holy Family trails Kent by 34 strokes in the season-long standings.
“I think we’ve settled into the spot we’ve been the last few years (second),” Tigers coach Will Wilson said. “It’s not a bad place to be, behind the (six)-time defending state champs.”
Individually, Peak to Peak’s Behrod Keshtavar joined Holy Family’s Stanley in placing in the top five. After shooting a 40 on the front nine, Keshtavar rallied with three birdies on the back side to post a 35 and a 75 total.
“I picked it up on the back nine,” the junior said. “I went for everything and took driver on all the short par-4s. I had to make up some strokes.
“Honestly I feel like I’m in a slump right now, but it’s a process. I think my game is almost there, but I’m making mistakes.”
For Stanley, Thursday’s 73 was two strokes better than he’d ever shot before. And his previous best came last year in this same league meet, at the Broadlands.
“I was able to put everything together — putting, chipping, drives, everything,” said Stanley, who sank three or four putts of more than 35 feet. “I got lucky, and there’s a fair amount of luck involved (in golf). That’s how it goes. Every once in a while you get lucky and shoot well.”
Metro League Tournament No. 3
At Par-72 Broadlands GC in Broomfield
Team scores — 1. Kent Denver 295; 2. Holy Family 307; 3. Lutheran 317; 4. Peak to Peak 320; 5. Colorado Academy 344; 6. Jefferson Academy 358; 7. Machebeuf 360; 8. Faith Christian no score. Also competing, but not in league: Valor Christian 333.
Top individuals — 1. (tie) Ethan Freeman, Kent Denver, and Jack Cummings, Faith Christian, 70; 3. Ben Moore, Kent Denver, 71; 4. Conor Stanley, Holy Family, 73; 5. (tie) Behrod Keshtavar, Peak to Peak, and Will Fehr, Kent Denver, 75.
Other Holy Family scores — Tyler Lucero 77; Blake Bollman 77; Matthew Collier 80; Joey Bartoletti 85.
Other Peak to Peak scores — Max Clark 79; Jack Cavanagh 80; Cos Braswell 86; Ben Pinkerman 96.