AURORA – Who leaves Colorado’s high school boys golf state championships with a medal is often determined by which golfers can pull a rabbit out of a hat in a critical moment.
Dawson School senior Tommy Noonan had a couple ears poking out of his on Monday.
Looking to wrap up a state-qualifying round during the Class 3A Region 2 tournament at Murphy Creek Golf Course, Noonan chunked his tee shot on the par-3 17th into the fescue and immediately knew he couldn’t play it. He elected to take a drop, re-teed and stuck the ball within a foot of the pin. He placed sixth with a 7-over 79 to easily punch his ticket to state.
Bogey is rarely ideal for a golfer of Noonan’s quality. But if he’s able make those type of miraculous saves on his worst holes at state, Noonan will gladly take it.
“I was pretty proud of that,” Noonan said. “I think it was my mindset. I was more aggressive and I need to keep that going into state.”
Prior to the 2020 season, Dawson head coach Arnie Lewis said Noonan had “a fire in his belly” after narrowly missing the cut for last year’s state tournament in a regional playoff. The Mustangs senior was determined not let that happen again, effectively scrambling whenever necessary and carding two birdies to offset a triple bogey on the par-3 11th.
Noonan will spend the final weekend of his senior season in the mix for a medal, rather than watching from afar, when the cream of 3A crop heads to Dos Rios Golf Club in Gunnison on Oct. 5-6.
“He’s tasted it and he knows he can play with the big boys, so we’re excited for him to get to state and watch him play at Dos Rios,” Lewis said.
St. Mary’s and Kent Denver won the Region 2 team titles, leaving 13 state-qualifying spots for players not on either team.
Peak to Peak’s William Mitchell claimed one spot, tying for 10th place with 84 strokes on the scorecard. Teammate Adi Malhotra claimed another, turning in an 85 to finish in a tie for 13th.
Prospect Ridge junior Jason Arbuckle, who finished in a tie for 61st place in his state tournament debut last fall, also qualified with an 86.
“I feel like I hit the ball pretty well but when I got by the greens, I kind of fell apart,” Arbuckle said. “I probably could have posted a lower score than I did. I did alright at state last year but I’m looking to do a lot better this year, so I need to work on my putting a little bit.”
Several local players were playing for alternate spots to the state tournament as of press time.