GOLDEN – After finishing top 30 in the state last season as a freshman, Monarch sophomore Caleb Michaels probably expected things to become a little easier for him as he got older.
That wasn’t the case at this year’s state tournament, which started off with punishing winds and lightning fast greens at The Club at Rolling Hills for Monday’s first round. While his second shot at state was undoubtedly more challenging than his first and he carded a disappointing 81 on Day 1, Michaels still found a way to one-up his younger self on Tuesday.
Playing in much better conditions for his second round, Michaels birdied three holes including the par-5 18th to wrap up a 74 on Day 2. The bounce-back round landed the sophomore in a five-way tie for 17th place with a two-day score of 155.
“It was still kind of a funky round today,” Michaels said. “I had a quite a few three-putts and I even four-putted the second hole. But really felt at the end that I was starting to hit it well and in the direction I was looking. I was really happy with the ending.”
As a team, the Coyotes finished in 11th place. Freshman Jackson Harberts tied for 57th with a score of 170 and junior Ian Henderson turned in a 175 to place 69th.
“I think this year was a lot different than last year because the first day was pretty rough because it was so windy,” Michaels said. “We had a pretty rough go of things. For most of the year, we were able to get all three of our top kids to break 80 but this was a tough golf course and the conditions yesterday were really hard.”
Making his state tournament debut in 2020, Broomfield sophomore Sawyer Hyten had a fine showing of his own, leading the Eagles in a tie for 40th place with a two-day score of 162. Though he struggled both days on the Par-4 10th hole, where he had an eight on the first day and a seven on the second, Hyten birdied No. 18 on his way to an 8-over 79 on Tuesday.
“I love the competition,” Hyten said. “The course is awesome and it was such a pleasure playing here. I’m just so thankful. Yesterday was really tough because that was my first state tournament. I had some nerves but at the same time, I’m a sophomore at state it’s kind of like I’ve just got to play to play. It could have been better but it could have been worse but, overall, I loved playing.”
Hyten’s teammate, senior Ben Reifschneider, shot an 84 on Tuesday to finish in a tie for 55th place with a score of 168.
For the defending champion Fairview Knights, who graduated their entire 2019 state-scoring squad, senior Sam Knowlton tied for 51st with a 165 and fellow senior Trey Harman placed 80th with a 181.
After shooting a 91 on the first day, Legacy’s Tommy Hammond had three birdies to shoot an 83 on the second. Teammate Deven Sehr turned in a two-day score of 176 to tie for 70th place.
Boulder sophomore Luke Blankenship finished with a 192 and in a tie for 82nd place.