LONGMONT — Frederick’s golf team waited 17 years to claim its first league title last fall.
And a second may not be far off.
Out of its 2019 win in the Tri-Valley League, the Warriors have won the first two tournaments in the newly-constructed Longs Peak League. Since the coronavirus-driven, upside-down fall season began a week ago, they tied Riverdale Ridge for the victory Friday at Quail Dunes, where ace Jake Chesler won by two strokes. Then on Tuesday, they edged out Northridge by a shot at Twin Peaks.
“I felt like we did solid as a team,” said Chesler after shooting 4-over 74 Tuesday, good for fourth. “I played, not my best, but still top 5. It works.”
Chesler’s birdie on the par-4 No. 18 helped seal things for Frederick amid a tight team race that saw the Warriors (28-over 238) hold on over Northridge (239), Riverdale Ridge (243) and Niwot (247).
From the 18-rough, last year’s 10th-place finisher at the 4A state meet clubbed a 165-yard pitch four feet of the pin before tapping in. Junior teammate Cole Greff, who shot a 79, also birdied the final hole.
“After last year, when we graduated three seniors from our fourth-place state team, coming back out with a good group of kids and continuing the success we’ve started over the last 24 months has been really good,” Frederick coach Chris DeSantis said. “It’s been nice having the leadership of Jake and Cole. … And being able to have a freshman (Kyle Spence, who shot an 85) come in and shoot high 80s, low 90s to start the year is really good.”
The top round from an area golfer, however, belonged to Niwot’s Christopher Gunlikson. The junior bounced back from a double bogey, followed by three more bogeys over his first four holes to card a 73, which tied him for second.
Three shots back of winner Traejan Andrews of Northridge, last year’s 45th-place golfer at the 4A state tournament has emerged in 2020 with a heightened maturity to his game.
“He’s now making the shots he thought he could make last year,” Niwot coach Ed Weaver said. “He knows the shots to make and now he can execute.”
Gunlikson tied for third at 3-over 75 at Quail Dunes Friday. Tuesday, he shot up the leaderboard after a shaky start, going 2-under over his final 10 holes.
“It’s a little bit different with all the new rules but I’m hitting the ball a lot better than last year,” Gunlikson said. “I just feel more comfortable, too.”
Tuesday’s tournament, hosted by Niwot, abided by all state-wide social distancing regulations. On top of that, said Weaver, the Longs Peak League tournaments have and will continue to play a school team as one foursome instead of intertwining golfers from different schools.
“Each team comes as a team, warms up as a team, plays as a team and leaves as a team,” Weaver said. “If there’s ever a problem, we’re going to be easily able to contact trace. We as a league talked about it, we proposed it and it made sense, so that’s what we’re doing.”