Colin Prater left the golf course Thursday with another tournament title but looking more haggard than happy.
Pine Creek Golf Club has a way of doing that to a player.
The Palmer senior fired a 76 for a three-stroke victory over Liberty’s Tyler Nolan at the Pine Creek Invitational. No other player came in under 80 despite pristine weather conditions.
“I kept it in play, but I didn’t hit the ball the greatest” said Prater, who posted no score worse than bogey. “I did avoid a big number.”
Prater’s round was not without a highlight. He birdied the par-5 No. 6 when he hit a 5-iron on his second shot from 200 yards out, cut it around a tree and landed it 20 feet from the pin.
Mostly though, Prater stayed steady while others fell victim to rough holes. Pine Creek’s Garrett Frye saw his round go south after a 4-iron snapped during his swing on No. 8, leading to trouble and ultimately an 89. Frye’s teammate, Arden Bevere, was 4-over par heading into No. 13 before a nine took him out of the running.
Rampart’s Ben Tarasiewicz suffered a similar fate on No. 18, when a drive into the weeds led to several calamities, including hitting the wrong ball and a penalty for a lost ball.
“There’s probably three or four holes out here where you can get a big number real quick,” said Pine Creek coach Dick Castle, whose team posted a 249 for the best score among 5A Metro teams. “Between the native grass, lateral hazards and the placement of bunkers … there’s a lot of those kinds of things.”
Valor Christian sent a contingent to the event, but not its top four, and still won with a 245.
Coronado was also competing without its full top squad and took third at 251.
Among 5A Metro teams, Liberty was second at 253 and Doherty third at 254. Palmer, which was second after the league’s first event, shot 259 to stay in second place overall but fall 17 strokes behind Pine Creek.
The Terrors’ performance played a part in Prater’s less-than-enthused reaction to his second individual victory in as many tournaments.
“My standards are so high right now,” said Prater, who is seeking his third straight 5A Metro season title. “It’s good to win. The bad thing is we lost 10 strokes to Pine Creek. And I think we’re real close to Doherty and Liberty. That’s the problem. We’ve got to play well as a team.”
Cheyenne Mountain's Cole Anderson won his second Pikes Peak Athletic Conference event, shooting a 72 on Thursday at Antler Creek Golf Course to capture the Falcon Invitational and move into the driver’s seat in the league standings with one event remaining.
Anderson and teammate Wilson Belk are tied overall at 298 through four events, but players drop their worst score to determine their final placement. Figuring just their best three events, Anderson has a four-stroke lead over Belk going into the final event Sept. 12 at the Country Club of Colorado.
Sand Creek’s Justin Watson, who like Anderson has two league victories this season, shot 80 Thursday and is 10 back – six back counting only his best three.
Cheyenne Mountain again ran away with the team title, shooting a 224. The Indians lead second-place Vista Ridge by 83 strokes in the team standings.
PINE CREEK INVITATIONAL
At Pine Creek Golf Club
(Results count toward 5A Metro standings)
76 - Colin Prater, Palmer
79 – Tyler Nolan, Liberty
80 – Brent Whiting, Pine Creek
80 – Josh O’Connell, Valor Christian*
80 – Anthony Avgelli, Doherty
245 – Valor Christian*
249 – Pine Creek
251 – Coronado*
253 – Liberty
254 – Doherty
*-Competing as a nonleague team
At Antler Creek Golf Course
(Results count toward 4A Pikes Peak Athletic Conference standings)
72 – Cole Anderson, Cheyenne Mtn.
75 – Wilson Belk, Cheyenne Mtn.
77 – Cale Brandt, Palmer Ridge
77 – Turner Estes, Cheyenne Mtn.
77 – Dylan Hall, Vista Ridge
77 – Matt Vogeney, Air Academy
224 – Cheyenne Mountain
239 – Vista Ridge
240 – Air Academy
249 – Discovery Canyon
249 – Palmer Ridge
(Through two of five events; final individual place will take only a player's top four scores)
Colin Prater, Palmer 69-76—145
Tyler Nolan, Liberty 75-79—154
Arden Bevere, Pine Creek 78-81—159
Brent Whiting, Pine Creek 79-80—159
Ben Tarasiewicz, Rampart 77-84—161
Pine Creek 482
4A PIKES PEAK ATHLETIC CONFERENCE
(Through four of five events; final individual place will take only a player's top four scores)
Cole Anderson, Cheyenne Mtn. 81-71-74-72—298
Wilson Belk, Cheyenne Mtn. 74-77-72-75—298
Justin Watson, Sand Creek 73-85-70-80—308
Dylan Hall, Vista Ridge 77-80-75-77—309
Dan Belk, Cheyenne Mtn. 76-79-76-82—313
Cheyenne Mountain 903
Vista Ridge 986
Air Academy 995
Palmer Ridge 1,039
Sand Creek 1,040