AURORA — After a couple of triple bogeys and 10 putts that lipped out in the first round of the 5A boys state golf tournament, Boulder’s Grant Rogers figured things could do nothing but get better on Tuesday.
And boy was he was right.
The junior shot the lowest round of anyone at Murphy Creek Golf Course on Tuesday — a 5-under-par 67 — to improve by a whopping 11 strokes over his first-day score.
The dramatic improvement vaulted him from 36th place to fourth, giving him the best finish among the 11 players from Boulder County schools who competed in the 5A meet. Rogers finished seven strokes behind individual champion Spencer Painton of Regis Jesuit.
“Obviously (Monday) wasn’t what I was hoping for, but it was nice to put a good cap to the high school season,” said Rogers, a two-time regional champion.
Rogers eagled the 519-yard 13th hole — his fourth — by hitting a 5-iron to 10 feet and draining the putt. He added five birdies, offset by two bogeys — to post his best round ever, relative to par.
“I thought I played pretty decently (during Monday’s 78), but I caught a few bad breaks,” he said. “And there’s not much you can do when no putts are falling. The greens were a little slower today and a lot more puttable. A little more were falling for me and I was putting probably twice as good today.”
Joining Rogers in placing in the top 20 was Fairview’s Kevin Wohlfarth, playing in his third and final state tournament. The senior followed up his first-round 74 with a 76 on Tuesday to finish 17th at 150.
“Of course I would have liked to have finished better but I’m happy,” said Wohlfarth, who played the last three holes in a combined 5 over par for the two days. “It’s the best finish I’ve had at state in my three years. I played the best I could have.”
Team-wise, Fairview, the Front Range League champion, edged Boulder, a regional winner, for bragging rights. The Knights tied for fifth at 456, while the Panthers checked in at seventh with a 459 total. Regis won its fourth consecutive 5A title, coming in at 7-under-par 425.
“We’re in the upper half; I’m pretty pleased with that,” FHS coach Jay Capaul said. “We had a great year all-around. We had a great group of kids and they worked hard.
“They all obviously can think of shots they’d like to have back this week, but that’s called golf.”
Boulder came in with high expectations, but Rogers’ 67 was the only round below 77 that the Panthers recorded.
“I was hoping that someone would step up each day and the rest would keep it around their average,” BHS coach Rick Uhlir said. “They’re a little higher than that, but it’s the state tournament. At least they did better today, and Rogers did great today.”
Indeed, Rogers was in the first group off the tee on Tuesday, and he rocketed up the leaderboard. And when the winds picked up after he finished, he made up even more ground.
“He’s a high-quality player to watch because he focuses and thinks it through,” Uhlir said. “He’s very mature for a junior.”
As for Monarch, which qualified a team for state for the first time in 11 years, it placed 14th in the standings, at 491. Junior Josh Hill rebounded from his first-round 85 with a 76 to lead the way for the Coyotes with a 55th-place finish individually.
“Since it’s the first time we’ve been here since 2002, we felt pretty good about being here,” MHS coach Mike Riley said. “It gave them a lot of experience. That’s what I was hoping for. Hopefully we come back and repeat more than once every 11 years.”
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Class 5A state tournament
At Murphy Creek G.C., par 72
Team scores — Regis Jesuit 425, Ralston Valley 448, Cherry Creek 450, Legacy 455, Heritage 456, Fairview 456, Boulder 459, Grand Junction 459, Arapahoe 461, Columbine 471, Fort Collins 473, Douglas County 478, Fossil Ridge 479, Monarch 491, Loveland 502.
Top 10 individuals — 1. Spencer Painton, Regis Jesuit, 138; t-2. Jake Kelley, Regis Jesuit, 140; t-2. Li Chen, Legacy, 140; t-4. Grant Rogers Boulder, 145, t-4. Devyn Solano, Grandview, 145; 6. A.J. Ott, Fort Collins, 146; t-7. Troy Dangler, Fruita Monument, 147; t-7. Chris Korte, Regis Jesuit, 147; t-7. Donny Kinnaman, Grand Junction, 147; t-10. Hunter Lee, Heritage, 148; t-10. Neil Tillman, Ralston Valley, 148; t-10. Sam Marley, Arapahoe, 148; t-10. Kobe Padilla, Cherry Creek, 148.
Other Legacy results — Spencer Roberts 155; Trevor Glen 160; Zach Moritz 171.
Fairview results — Kevin Wohlfarth 150; Daniel Pearson 157; Jackson Vacek 158; Cason McHose 160.
Boulder results — Grant Dinkel 155; Alec Poorman 159; Leo Huettel 172.
Monarch results — Josh Hill 161; Cooper Taylor 162; Alex Mautz 168.