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Boys golf: Silver Creek’s Harding dives into red numbers at Class 4A state

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WINDSOR — Limiting mistakes is often the key to shooting a red number on the golf course. Silver Creek’s Ben Harding found that out the old-fashioned way Monday.

A course like Pelicans Lakes offers little room for error. So the key is not to make errors, whether it’s off the tee, from the fairway or on the green. Harding kept his mistakes to a minimum and shot a 1-under-par 71 to lead all area players at the Class 4A state tournament.

Perhaps the biggest mistake he avoided was hitting too many putts.

“You have to be aware of your speed on the greens here,” Harding said. “I only had two three-putts which I would like to see come down but I’m not unhappy with that at all.”

He started off No. 1 and took advantage of the par-5 second where he made his first birdie of the day. He made two more on the front along with two bogeys. He made the turn at 1-under then exchanged three bogeys for three birdies on the back.

His 71 is within two shots of the lead, which is held by Denver North’s Sawyer Klein — the only player to break 70 on the day. His 69 will place him firmly in the final group for Tuesday.

The Raptors put together and overall solid team effort as they sit in fourth in the team race at 228, behind Riverdale Ridge (217), Cheyenne Mountain (219) and Windsor (223).

Again, the key to that overall success was the team playing a very consistent round. Tyler Plaster shot 77, Quinn Lockwood shot 80 and Preston Waller shot 83. The four players combined to make double bogey or worse on just six holes the entire day.

“You have to miss in the right around the greens,” Harding said. “And you have to keep your ball in play. It’s all tough out there.”

Centaurus sits in 11th place as a team on the back of Asa Wentworth and Matthew Vaver, who each shot 79.

Broomfield’s Mason Hill put together a solid round as he shot 75. He went for 42 on the front nine before cleaning up his mistakes and shooting 3-under on the back.

Longmont senior Trace Saunders was the final area player to break 80 as he shot 76. Erie freshman Sean Cary should be a player to watch in the coming years as he went for 81 in his first crack at a state tournament.

There are 11 players within four shots of each other at the top of the leaderboard and with Harding very much in that group, he should have a shot of being the medalist by the time the awards are handed out on Tuesday.

The second round of the 4A boys golf tournament will begin at 9 a.m. Tuesday at Pelican Lakes Golf Club in Windsor.

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