July 16, 2013 Updated: July 16, 2013 at 10:30 pm
For Isaac Petersilie, the Pikes Peak Amateur represents the ultimate preseason tuneup.
The tournament, held at Patty Jewett, gives the Coronado standout six days of intense competition with some of the area's top golfers, most of whom have at least a decade on the sophomore-to-be still sporting a mouth full of braces.
"Oh yeah, this is good competition," Petersilie said. "It's good pressure."
Petersilie followed a 77 Monday with a 2-under-par 70 Tuesday, putting him tied for seventh and in the middle of the pack among the 16 who qualified for the championship flight. That group was paced by Ben Krueger (137) and Alex Kephart and Colin Prater at 139. There was a seven-stroke gap after those three.
In the senior division, Steve Ivan led the way with a 143 and John Olive was second with 146.
Those scores are used for seeding now that the event enters its second phase - a four-day match-play tournament. Petersilie won the title last year, not in the championship flight but in the one just below it. That he qualified to compete for the overall title this year is another sign that his game continues to grow along with this frame.
"I'm more disciplined," he said, comparing his game to what it was last year when he was a freshman. "Better course management; capitalizing on scoring opportunities more."
If Petersilie improves much more, his peers won't stand a chance. He won the 4A Metro title last year by more than a dozen strokes, then qualified for state and placed 26th.
He paced a freshman-laden Coronado team that also ran away with the 4A Metro, and that run looks to be just getting warmed up. Petersilie was joined in the Pikes Peak Amateur by several teammates, including fellow sophomore and state qualifier Austin Burgess, who shot 81-77 and missed out on the championship flight in a playoff.
Petersilie narrowly missed out on qualifying at the USGA's Junior Amateur at Eaton Country Club. That was part of a busy summer that, it could certainly be argued, is just as competitive as the high school season that will start next month.
"They both have their perks," he said.
One major difference, of course, is that Petersilie will not only be favored in most of his high school events, but he also won't be the same age as some of his competitor's children, which could be the case this week.
"It's just the way it is," Petersilie said of the age discrepancy at the event. "Everybody's still equal. It's just playing people at your same level."