• Lewis Geyer /

    Niwot's Ford Ladd lines up a putt during the first round of the 4A state golf championship Monday morning at The Fox Hill Club in Longmont. More photos:

  • Lewis Geyer /

    Silver Creek's Jackson Solem watches his tee shot on the first hole during the first round of the 4A state golf championship Monday morning at The Fox Hill Club.

  • Lewis Geyer /

    Silver Creek's TJ Shehee tees off on the first hole during the first round of the 4A state golf championship Monday morning at The Fox Hill Club in Longmont.



LONGMONT — Golf is typically more of an offseason hobby for Niwot’s Ford Ladd, who will play baseball at NYU next year, than an incredibly competitive endeavor.

But Ladd has the kind of golf talent that, even with his laid-back approach, the Niwot senior reached the 4A state tournament. In fact, that approach helped Ladd surprise himself with an 8-over 79 on Day 1 of the state tournament at Fox Hill Country Club on Monday.

“I’m mostly out here to have fun my senior year but that’s actually below my average,” Ladd said. “It’s nice to be out here and be competitive.”

In both of their first times at the state tournament, Ladd and junior teammate Jake Butler gave themselves a shot to finish in the top 20. Ladd is tied for 22nd place and Butler, who battled illness to card an 82, will begin Day 2 in a tie for 44th place and only five strokes outside the top 20.

For the Silver Creek Raptors, the first day of the tournament didn’t leave them with such positive feelings. While Valor Christian turned in a leading team score of 207, which is a combined 3-under par for its three scoring golfers, Silver Creek scored 226 and trails Evergreen by one stroke for second place entering Day 2.

“It was an interesting day,” Silver Creek coach Ryan Williams said. “The pins were a little farther up than I thought they would be but the boys knew all that going into it. We have another day and we can’t count ourselves out just yet. We won’t go down without a fight, that’s for sure.”

Though he led the field at 2-under through the first nine, Silver Creek junior Jackson Solem struggled after the turn and finished at even par for the round. He is currently tied for third with Windsor’s Cole Krantz and trails Valor Christian’s Philip Lee (3-under) and Tim Amundson (1-under).

Holy Family’ Jack Marty finished the first day with a 9-over 79. The senior shot double bogey on the par-4 12th and par-4 13th.

“It was a battle,” Marty said. “This course is tough. If you miss one shot, it’s tough to recover. I made some little mental mistakes, not thinking about my shots. I expect myself to shoot lower but as far as my season average goes, it’s only a few strokes above it.”

Erie senior Harrison Wagnaar, who qualified for state as the first alternate, carded an 84.

“I missed the cut at regionals by one stroke so I’m just happy to be here,” said Wagnaar, who went to state as a sophomore but not as a junior. “I started bad but I ended well.”

Play will resume at 9 a.m. on Day 2.

Brad Cochi: or

Class 4A golf state tournament

At Fox Hill Country Club, par 70

Team scores — Valor Christian 207, Evergreen 225, Silver Creek 226, Golden 238, Thompson Valley 238, Discovery Canyon 241, Mullen 242, Lewis-Palmer 244, Steamboat Springs 244, Durango 250, Pueblo West 254, Palmer Ridge 262, .

Top individuals — 1. Philip Lee, Valor Christian, 67; 2. Tim Amundson, Valor Christian, 69; t3. Cole Krantz, Windsor, 70; t3. Jackson Solem, Silver Creek, 70; 5. Colby Welch, Valor Christian, 71; t6. Braden Bentley, Mesa Ridge, 72; t6. Lenny Urbas, Evergreen, 72; t8 David Leede, Valor Christian, 73; t8. Matthew Casias, Pueblo South, 73; t10. Glen-Michael Mihavetz, Montrose, 74; t10. Matthew Heeseman, Mountain View, 74; t10. Nick Michas, D’Evelyn, 74.

Other Silver Creek results — t15. T.J. Shehee76, t31. Jake Gannon 80.

Niwot results — t22. Ford Ladd 78, t44. Jake Butler 82, 78. Dietrich Berning 90.

Holy Family results — t26. Jack Marty 79.

Erie results — t53. Harrison Wagnaar 84, 77. Caleb Humble 89.