With no prep golfers finishing rounds under par at the Class 4A state tournament on Monday, it was evident that the Country Club of Colorado is a challenge that may lead to a more unpredictable finish, even with good weather presumed for Tuesday’s final round.
For area golfers Jake Chesler, Ben Harding, Ryan Vaver and Adam Gannon, a chance to finish in the top 10 is welcoming after a season that many thought might not happen.
The four golfers, representing Frederick (Chesler), Silver Creek (Harding), Vaver (Centaurus) and Longmont (Gannon) surged into the tournament off regionals, and on Monday all appeared poised in the midst of some tough individual holes across the 18 links in Colorado Springs.
When the dust settled, Chesler’s 7-over 78 was good for eighth place, and just four shots back of Mullen’s Mario Dino. Chesler went out on the back nine, and it was an inauspicious start as he finished with a 42; however, birdies on his 11th and 13th played holes helped him to an even-par 36 as he came in.
For Gannon, a final two holes that included a double- and triple-bogey didn’t overshadow a round that included two birdies and eight pars. His 80 has him sitting at 16th overall and tied with several others, including Vaver. Vaver birdied the first hole he played, and went on to post par or better on 10 holes.
Between them all lies Harding, who shot 79 and is in 13th place. The Raptors’ top golfer had birdies on holes 7 and 9, giving him a front-nine score of 37, and while he more holes of bogey or worse (five) than those of par (four) on the back nine, he’ll be right in the mix as Tuesday’s final round gets going.
Dos Rios in Gunnison proved unforgiving for several golfers, but Dawson School’s Tommy Noonan showed composure in firing a 7-over 79 and putting himself within the top-30 after one round of the two-day event. Noonan started his round with four pars and a birdie before a midway string of holes knocked him down a few pegs. However, Noonan came in at 39 and thus will be eyeing top-25 placement on Tuesday.
Prospect Ridge’s Jason Arbuckle went 40 out and 40 in to put himself right at Noonan’s heels for local bragging rights. Also, Holy Family’s Jackson Grace and Rudiger Heitz carded rounds of 82 and 83, respectively, while PRA’s Caden Koole also shot 83.