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Peak to Peak junior Sam Taylor.
Daniel Mohrmann / For
Peak to Peak junior Sam Taylor.

EAGLE – After being tied with Peak to Peak teammate Nishant Datta after the first day of the Class 3A boys state golf tournament, Sam Taylor would only say that whoever played the best on Tuesday deserved to come away with the individual championship.

And then he took his own words to heart.

Taylor shot a 3-under 69 to claim the individual championship and at the same time, helped the Pumas finished at 453 for the tournament, good enough to bring home the team championship as well.

“It’s a dream come true,” Pumas coach John Thornbury said. “The guys should be really proud of themselves.”

Taylor wasted no time in setting the pace on Tuesday. He came out with birdies on four of his first five holes, distancing himself from the field.

He added one more birdie on the front nine to move to 5-under before making the turn.

Entering the back nine, he held a seven-stroke lead over Linc Kleager from Basalt. And at that point, he was able to just cruise.

“It’s always nice to start off that well, it gives you the confidence you need to carry yourself through the round,” Taylor said. “It was one hole at a time. Doing the best you can at each hole was how I was thinking about it.”

For the team, it is the first championship in program history. It came on the strong showing from both Datta and Taylor on the first day of the tournament, with Taylor helping to seal the title with his strong showing on Tuesday.

“I’m honored to have won it individually and I’m proud of my team for putting together some good numbers,” Taylor said. “With Nishant, his round yesterday was incredible, it’s a shame he couldn’t play better today.”

Taylor did manage to find some trouble on the back nine with bogeys on 14 and 15, but he rebounded with par on 16 and 17, putting the championship in his pocket by the time he made the stroll up to the 18th tee box.

Billy Howenstein and Yale Kim of Dawson School also had a strong showing over the two-day tournament. Both finished in the top 10 and are poised to return next season to try and snag another team title for the Mustangs.

“I’m so proud of their performance,” coach Arnold Lewis said. “For a ninth grader (Howenstein) to come out here and take fifth place in state took a lot of guts. I think the future is bright.”

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Class 3A state championship

At Eagle Ranch G.C.

Team scores — Peak to Peak 453, Kent Denver 462, Aspen 480, Eaton 488, Basalt 492, Resurrection Christian 496, Colorado Academy 501, Dawson School 501, Sterling 506, Alamosa 514, Estes Park 516, Vail Mountain 520, Colorado Springs Christian 529, Swink 549, Front Range Christian 576, Cedaredge 583, Trinidad 595.

Top individuals — Sam Taylor, Peak to Peak 141; Ivan Richmond, Estes Park 150; Oliver Jack, Kent Denver 150; Will Hazen, Aspen 150; Billy Howenstein, Dawson School 153; Holden Kleager, Basalt 155; Yale Kim, Dawson School 155; Brayden Iambrecht, Sterling 156 Nishant Datta Peak to Peak 156; Ian Thorpe, Peak to Peak 156; Mark Hillary, Kent Denver 156.

Other Peak to Peak results — Ethan Tartaglia 162.

Other Dawson School results — Tanner Fulkerson 193.

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