Struggles on the par 3s were too much for the area's top golfers to overcome as the state boys' tournaments concluded Tuesday.
Palmer’s Colin Prater was 7-over par on the par 3s at the 5A tournament at The Club at Rolling Hills in Golden, accounting for all of his blemishes as he shot even par on the other holes. His total score of 7-over 149 was good for fifth, four strokes behind winner Kyler Dunkle of Douglas County.
Prater faced an uphill battle in Tuesday’s final round after a triple and double bogey on par 3s Monday.
“If I make pars on those two par 3s, I’m tied for the lead,” said Prater, who actually would have led by one stroke in that case. “Those two par 3s tell the tale of why I was fifth instead of tied for first. I guarantee that’s what I’ll be working on the next few weeks, is hitting 5- and 6-irons off tees.”
Cheyenne Mountain took fourth in the team standings in 4A at 456. The Indians were 14-over par on the par 3s and finished 13 strokes behind Pueblo South and Valor Christian.
The Indians were paced by the area’s top three finishers at 36-hole event at The Links at Cobble Creek in Montrose. Sophomore Wilson Belk led the way in 12th at 6-over 150. Wilson’s older brother, senior Dan Belk, was 14th at 152 and sophomore Cole Anderson finished 19th at 154.
Other locals in the 4A top 30 were Coronado freshman Isaac Petersilie (25th at 158), Sand Creek senior Justin Watson (tied for 27th at 159) and Mesa Ridge freshman Braden Bentley (also at 159).
The 4A tournament was won by Pueblo Centennial’s Jacob Allenback, who shot 5-under 139 after qualifying out of a regional hosted by the Country Club of Colorado.
Junior Trevor Hunt of Manitou Springs finished 12th with an 18-over 158 at the 3A tournament at Pinehurst Country Club in Denver, 18 strokes behind medalist Ben Moore of Kent Denver. The Mustangs’ Drew Mendoza and Florence’s Thomas Mullett tied for 17th at 160.
Mendoza, a sophomore, started the season shooting primarily in the 90s and entered state in the No. 3 spot for Manitou Springs.
“He wanted to go in the top half, so 40 would have been the top half,” coach Ken Vecchio said. “He made a ton of strides.”
The Mustangs finished 10th in the team standings, one spot behind Florence.
“I was pretty pleased with their finish, actually,” Vecchio said. “That’s a pretty good golf course. It was playing pretty long and the greens were pretty tough. They had a couple shots coming in that they wish they could play again, but they accomplished their goals.”
Prater’s goal of winning a 5A title was a bit loftier, and he thought he might get there after starting his day with a par and a birdie. But a long tee shot on, yes, a par 3 led to his first bogey and uncharacteristically subpar play with irons limited his birdie chances.
Still, the celebrated senior left the course with no regrets after capping his fourth trip to state with a personal-best top-five finish.
“I’ll take it,” Prater said. “I had a blast. Being able to go to state all four years is quite an accomplishment.”