AIR FORCE ACADEMY – Prospect Ridge Academy senior Walker Franklin walked up to his ball on the green on Hole 18, all eyes watching him as he had a chance to sink a putt and win a state championship.
The putt missed the mark, and he would sink the next one to force a playoff with Westin Pals of Lutheran, who had made up a four-stroke deficit from Monday at the Eisenhower Golf Course at the Air Force Academy.
Facing Pals on Hole 10, Franklin had an errant tee shot that put him in the rough with a tree line blocking him from the hole. He would make a shot into the fairway to give him a shot, but it was not be meant to be as Pals won the playoff hole for the medalist spot and Franklin finishing in second place in the Class 3A state golf tournament.
“I feel disappointed,” Franklin said. “I feel like I could win it and then I miss a three-footer on the last hole when I had the chance, it just takes me back to my sophomore year. I didn’t really want to go back there, but here I am again.”
Franklin had to navigate high winds in the morning and sloping greens that were difficult for all golfers in the final round Tuesday. He started with a steady round of one birdie, one bogey and seven pars on the front nine in the final group. When Pals made his push late, Franklin answered with three birdies and three pars on the back nine that put him in control of his own destiny.
“I knew it was going to be close, and I knew I had to turn it around on (Holes) 9 through 13,” Franklin said. “I did make three birdies, so I can’t be mad at that.”
The ending took away from a strong showing where Franklin finished with a score of 70 on day one and 74 on day two.
“I just need to forget about it,” Franklin said. “I just need to work harder and make sure it never happens again.”
Holy Family grabs team trophy
The Holy Family Tigers were sitting in third place in the team standings entering the second round on Tuesday, but a strong team performance saw them move into second place to take a team trophy home in Colorado Springs.
“It means everything to me,” Garrett Green said. “For the last four years, it’s always been about the team. We’ve had a couple of good teams in the past. This is what we’ve worked for the last four years.”
A three-stroke deficit with Lutheran and Colorado Academy was all that stood in the way for Holy Family and a trophy, and the team felt they did not play their best in the opening round on Monday and fell behind as a result.
“We all put it out on the course, everything we had,” Jacob Mason said. “I think the key was that we just had fun and enjoyed it.”
Mason led the Tigers with a 73 on Tuesday, improving his score by five strokes. His performance put him in third place in the individual standings.
“It’s a great feeling,” Mason said. “It was a full-team effort out there this week. I was proud of today, being able to come back the way I did and play a good round of golf. Being able to get the best finish in my high school career for state is a pretty good feeling.”
Leo Nelson also improved his score in the second round, shooting an 88 to finish four strokes better than Monday’s result. Green finished with an 80 to stay on pace with his 79 shot on Monday and Jackson Grace shot an 83 to go with his score of 78 in the first round.
At one point, Holy Family was in first place and leading Lutheran in the team standings, but a late push allowed them to overtake the Tigers for the top spot. Holy Family finished seven strokes ahead of Colorado Academy, though, earning the second-place trophy to take home with them to Broomfield.
“It’s a little bittersweet,” Green said. “I’ve had a great four years, and I couldn’t ask for a better ending to compete with my teammates.”
Other local scores
Suchit Sharma was in the top 10 on the leaderboard after the first round with his 76 he shot on Monday. His second day saw a higher score of 83 that moved him into a tie for 15th place to lead Peak to Peak. His teammate, Davis Long, finished tied for 21st with a 79 on Monday and an 82 on Tuesday.
Tommy Skodje of Dawson improved his second round on Tuesday, shooting an 84 to follow an 88 from Monday. Also competing was Ethan Runyon of Jefferson Academy, who finished with a 95 on Monday and 104 on Tuesday.
Franklin was joined by teammate Jason Arbuckle for Prospect Ridge Academy for state. Arbuckle shot an 88 on Monday and finished with a 95 on Tuesday.
Editor’s note: This story is updated with a correction that Holy Family’s Jacob Mason finished alone in third place, not in a tie for the finish.