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Boys golf: Silver Creek’s Harding finishes among top 15 at Class 4A state tournament

Raptors senior leads local contingent at Pelican Lakes

Silver Creek's Ben Harding drives off the tee at Pelican Lakes in Windsor Tuesday as part of the second day of the Class 4A state golf tournament. (Dan Mohrmann/For BoCoPreps.com)
Silver Creek’s Ben Harding drives off the tee at Pelican Lakes in Windsor Tuesday as part of the second day of the Class 4A state golf tournament. (Dan Mohrmann/For BoCoPreps.com)
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WINDSOR — A 10-shot difference from Silver Creek senior Ben Harding’s first day could have tied him with the course record. Instead, the 10-shot swing went the other way to provide just another example of how cruel the game could be.

Harding battled back tears after finishing with a 9-over-par 81 to finish in a tie for 13th at the Class 4A boys golf state tournament at Pelican Lakes Golf Club.

But he knows that the memory of competing at state is something he’ll get to carry with him for the rest of his life.

“I love these guys,” Harding said. “I appreciate what they’ve done for me these last four years.”

The Raptors were fourth as a team going into the second day of the tournament but dropped to finish eighth. Preston Waller shot 81, Quinn Lockwood shot 82 and Tyler Plaster shot 85. Waller, Lockwood and Plaster all shot in the 80s on Monday and the big difference was Harding’s 71.

But his swing just wasn’t cooperating for round two. He made four bogeys on the front nine, got his only bridie of the day on the par-5 12th and then played the final seven holes at 6-over.

“My game just wasn’t quite where I needed it to be,” Harding said. “It was just one of those days.”

Riverdale Ridge’s Bradley Weinmaster claimed the individual state championship while Cheyenne Mountain walked away with the team title. It is the second title in three years for the Red-Tailed Hawks.

Harding was the area’s highest finisher and Broomfield’s Mason Hill was the only other one to finish in the top 20. He tied for 19th at 11-over.

Longmont’s Trace Saunders was inside the top 30 as he finished 15-over. Centarurs’ Asa Wentworth finished 35th at 17-over. Centaurus finished 12th out of the 14 eligible teams.

One name that players in the field and in the area should pay attention to is Mead freshman Booth Hayes. He took four strokes off his score from Monday to shoot 89. He finished at 38-over from the tournament, but will take the experience as a chance to grow as a player and make his way back to the state tournament in a year.

“The pressure is something I’ll have to deal with in the coming years,” Hayes said. “It’ll get easier as time goes on but this year, I just loved the experience of playing with some great players and seeing some amazing golf being played.”

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