Golf preview: Area's top players seek to improve upon disappointing finishes

August 18, 2012 Updated: July 3, 2013 at 9:32 am
photo - Palmer's Colin Prater (left) and Cheyenne Mountain's Wilson Belk (right) figure to be among the area's best golfers this year. Photo by
Palmer's Colin Prater (left) and Cheyenne Mountain's Wilson Belk (right) figure to be among the area's best golfers this year. Photo by  

Colin Prater has fallen a tad behind his lofty goals for his high school golf progression, and it’s something he’s eager to correct.

The Palmer standout planned to qualify for state as a freshman – and he did. He wanted a top-25 finish as a sophomore – he came in 26th. His junior year saw him shoot an 80 in the second round at state and slip to 27th, well off the top-10 spot he had envisioned.

Now, he just wants to win.

His size will make that a bit more feasible.

At 5-foot-9, 145 pounds, Prater is about three inches taller and 20 pounds heavier than a year ago; and he dwarfs his 5-2, 110-pound sophomore self.

“The year before that I was smaller and the year before that I was smaller,” Prater said. “But my game grows every day.”

Prater was once a short-game savant, but he admits that some of the focus on that area has waned as he’s turned his concentration to developing length. In his first competitive round of the season he shot a 69 at Patty Jewett, hitting 16 greens. If he can do that and find some of that short-game magic, he’ll find a regular home under par and atop most scoreboards.

If nothing else, Prater should dominate the 5A Metro, which he leads by six strokes after one event.

Cheyenne Mountain, as a team, was a regular atop leaderboards last season – until it counted most. Clearly the area’s best team through the league tournaments, the Indians failed to qualify for state after a disappointing regional performance.

Though team leader Jack Stimple (now playing for Creighton) is gone, the Indians return a pair of sophomore standouts in Cole Anderson and Wilson Belk as well as senior Dan Belk and juniors Patrick Shin, Turner Estes and Alex Freinmuth.

“We could have a very special year,” longtime coach Bill Paulson said.

But how do they guard against a similar letdown at the end of the season?

“We just can’t think about it at all,” Wilson Belk said. “We have to just go at it like it’s another tournament and have no expectations. Just stay humble.”

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