State golf preview: Cheyenne Mountain has the advantage; players to watch and more
By: BRENT BRIGGEMAN
September 30, 2012Updated: July 3, 2013 at 9:32 am
Two of Cheyenne Mountain’s top competitors for a state boys' golf title have already put themselves at a distinct disadvantage, and the tournament hasn’t even begun.
Pueblo South and defending champion Silver Creek will compete with just three players at the 4A tournament held Monday and Tuesday at Cobble Creek Golf Course in Montrose, leaving the door wide open for the Indians.
Pueblo South missed on a fourth qualifier when its No. 4 player wasn’t within the allowable range of the cut at a regional. Silver Creek lost its top golfer and league champion at a regional when he inadvertently put his entire back-nine score of 35 as his tally for No. 18 on his scorecard, forcing him to take a 102 and miss the cutoff.
Both schools will still compete in the team division, but losing the ability to drop a fourth score will give a major advantage to Cheyenne Mountain – not that the Indians may need it.
“This might be the best collective group of putters that we’ve ever had,” said Cheyenne Mountain coach Bill Paulson, who is in his 33rd year with the school. “That’s always exciting, because that’s how you win.”
Paulson led the Indians to a state title in 2004 and may well do so again this year. The team features star sophomores Cole Anderson and Wilson Belk – who finished No. 1 and 2 in the Pikes Peak Athletic Conference – and is loaded with depth with Dan Belk and Alex Freimuth.
The Indians won the league title by an eye-popping 115 strokes over five events – an average of more than seven strokes per golfer per 18 holes.
In addition to Pueblo South and Silver Creek, Valor Christian figures to be a top competitor in the team competition on a course that can yield good scores thanks to five par 5s.
The course also features several difficult par 3s and a large amount of water, which brings a high score into play. And, of course, the Indians will have the luxury of dropping their highest score in each round while some of the other top teams will not.
“When you have four instead of three, nobody can have a bad day,” Paulson said. “When you have four guys you can afford to have that.”
Golfers from the Pikes Peak region who could make noise at state
Cole Anderson, soph., Cheyenne Mountain (4A)
The area’s best 4A golfer during the regular season, posting league rounds of 71, 71 and 72 en route to a Pikes Peak Athletic Conference title. This will be his first trip to state.
Wilson Belk, soph., Cheyenne Mountain (4A)
Remarkably consistent, never shooting higher than 77 in five league events (he also posted four rounds in the 70s during his freshman season). In a 36-hole event, he may be the most likely to avoid the high score that can dash title hopes.
Trevor Hunt, jr., Manitou Springs (3A)
His third-place finish in the Tri-Peaks League included rounds of 76 and 75. If he can lower that a bit and repeat it over two days, he should be in the running.
Isaac Petersilie, fr., Coronado (4A)
The winner of the 4A Metro regular-season title by 13 strokes, Petersilie is loaded with talent and has the relaxed demeanor necessary to compete on the state’s biggest stage.
Colin Prater, sr., Palmer (5A), pictured
All that Prater has left to do is put together a solid showing at state, as he leaves Palmer with three consecutive league titles and four trips to the 5A tournament. His league season included rounds of 69, 71 and 72 and he’s won several major summer tournaments in the past few years, so the ability and experience are certainly there.
Justin Watson, sr., Sand Creek (4A)
No one will want this title more than Watson, who has compared his drive and approach to that of Tim Tebow. With rounds of 73 and 70 in the league season, he showed that he’s capable of posting low numbers.
WOULD MAKE FOR A GREAT STORY
A surge from any of these golfers would provide a fantastic storyline
Arden Bevere and Garrett Frye, Pine Creek
Both missed the state cut by a single stroke during their junior seasons. Now they’re in the field with something to prove at their final high school event.
Braden Bentley, Mesa Ridge
The south side of Colorado Springs hasn’t exactly been a golf hotbed. Here’s a freshman who could change that perception in a hurry.
Cale Brandt, Palmer Ridge
The season began in horrific fashion for the Bears, when senior co-captain Luke Hiser lost both feet in a train accident. What a refreshing cap to the year it would be if the team’s other co-captain, Brandt, were to make a surprise run to the top of the leaderboard.
Austin Burgess, Coronado
The freshman qualified by the slimmest of margins, winning a three-man playoff at the regional at the Country Club of Colorado that ended as the course was blanketed by darkness. Don't all great Cinderella stories start about like that?