AURORA – The first week and a half of the 2020 high school boys golf season has been a whirlwind since it started last Monday and Colorado’s players have had to adjust many new wrinkles.
For Peak to Peak senior William Mitchell, the new feel of 2020 has included a big jump up the roster from the No. 5 spot he was battling for all season to playing the early portion of the new campaign in the Pumas’ No. 1 position. Playing his fourth tournament in a week’s time on Thursday, a weary Mitchell carded a 9-over 81 to tie for 11th place in the third 3A Metro League tournament of the fall at Aurora Hills Golf Course.
Though his new role has come with significant anxiety, Mitchell has been adjusting to it quickly. He hasn’t had much of a choice.
“It’s pretty stressful and I’m always nervous on the first hole because of the pressure,” Mitchell said. “But I usually relax as I get into the round and just do what I do. I played OK today. I didn’t start too well and I topped my first tee shot because I was a little nervous being in the top group.”
Following his first-hole jitters, Mitchell turned around and birdied the par-5 second to finish the front nine at 2-over. With Mitchell leading the way, the Pumas placed sixth out of 11 teams at the event. Kent Denver won with an overall 314 team score, nine strokes ahead of runner-up Colorado Academy.
Lutheran was fourth and Prospect Ridge was fifth, led by junior Caden Koole and his 7-over 79 on the day that earned him seventh place. Fellow Miners junior Jason Arbuckle tied for eighth individually, shooting an 81 to help the team.
“That’s pretty good for me,” Koole said. “I got 76 in the first tournament and 87 in the last one so I’m happy with it. My driver wasn’t good today and I only hit three fairways but I had a lot of good scrambling and hit some nice putts. My goals are to shoot even par for the first time and to go to state so I feel like I’m on track.”
The Jefferson Academy boys were seventh in the team competition, led by an 86-stroke round from junior Ethan Runyon.
It would have been a much better day for the Dawson Mustangs if not for some misfortune befalling their best player. Senior Tommy Noonan was disqualified despite shooting a 78 because he played an incorrect ball and teed off on the next hole before realizing the mistake. Colorado Academy’s Bo Turnage, who played Noonan’s ball for the final several holes and also finished with a 78, was also disqualified.
“It’s a situation where I can’t be prouder as a coach because he comes in and self-reports,” Dawson head coach Arnold Lewis said. “It just shows his moral compass is a hundred percent where it needs to be. At the end of the day, Tommy is developing as a golfer but the likelihood isn’t high that he’ll be a professional. To be a professional human is the part that’s the most meaningful.
“This is the end of a long run for all of these boys because we started off a week and a half ago and now we’ve done six competitive matches. But it’s awesome. We’re the only sport that’s going full on and I think they get it how lucky we are. We’re doing the little things to try to be careful and I’m so proud of the way the boys are playing.”