With an eye on the upcoming boys state golf tournaments, there were regional qualifying tournaments held Sept. 20-23, including four Class 5A meets.
The top two teams in the regional tournaments qualifed for state tournament, plus the leading 13 individuals who were not members of the first- and second-place teams also advanced to state.
This season's Class 5A state tournament will be held Oct. 4-5 at the Colorado Springs Country Club.
Arapahoe, Regis Jesuit, Cherry Creek, Grandview and Highlands Ranch were among the south metro teams that qualified, while Will Kates of Arapahoe with a 4-under-par 68, Luke Cushman of Castle View with a par 72 and Nas Kim of Highlands Ranch who had a 3-under-par 69 were medalists at their respective regional tournaments.
Arapahoe, the state runner-up the past two seasons, won the Sept. 20 Southern regional championship at Spring Valley Golf Club in Elizabeth with a score of 214, which was 20 strokes lower than second-place Fairview. Rock Canyon was third and ThunderRidge fourth.
The Warriors had four golfers place among the top four finishers which included a three-way tie for fourth place.
Arapahoe junior Grant Juergens was second behind Kates with a 1-under-par 71 while Max Zadvorny and Matthew Wilkinson were in the tie for fourth with 75s.
“When you get to the state tournament there are a lot of good teams,” said Arapahoe coach Harry Buckner. “It comes down to fairways, greens and putts. You have to keep the ball in play. You have to hit greens in regulation and you have to make all the short putts. Also, in order to win, you have to have a little bit of good luck.”
Zach Lipfield of Rock Canyon carded a 76 at the Spring Valley regional which put him in seventh place, while ThunderRidge's Dylan Everett and Charlie Tucker of Rock Canyon tied for eighth with scores of 77.
At the Northern Regional played Sept. 20 at Coal Creek golf course in Louisville, Grandview won the team title with a one-stroke victory over Fossil Ridge and Monarch. Sophomores Spencer Schlagel of Legend and Brayden Scheich of Mountain Vista fashioned 77s and tied for ninth place.
Regis and Cherry Creek tied for first place in the Central regional, which was played Sept. 21 at Overland Park golf course in Denver. The Raiders were crowned the regional champs after a two-hole playoff.
“We played real good,” said Creek coach Dustin Neel. “We had a tough front nine but we played really good on the back nine to get it tied up. Our guys played real good and I'm proud of our whole team.
“The main thing at state is you want to be within five shots after day one. The thing we learned last year, you don't have to be perfect at the state tournament, you just want to stay in it, and if you can get hot putting, that really helps. It usually comes down to people's short game, it comes down to who is mentally tough, and our guys have what it takes to make a run.”
The last Class 5A regional was the Western tournament at Thorncreek golf club in Thornton on Sept. 23 and Highlands Ranch captured the title with a 13-shot victory over Pine Creek.
Kates, the 2020 state champion, had six birdies on his scorecard to go along with a pair of bogeys to be the Southern regional champion on a cold, windy day at Spring Valley as he turned in a 4-under-par score of 68.
Teammate Grant Juergens was second with a 1-under-par 71 while Max Zadvorny and Matthew Wilkinson each had 75s for the Warriors and tied for fourth place.
Cushman admitted he had a mediocre high school season but was the Central medalist with a par 72. He started by going 2-under-par on the front nine at the Overland Park golf course.
“It's not my favorite type of course,” said Cushman. “It's pretty tree-lined and I like more of an open course. My ball hitting was OK. I didn't strike it as well but the short game saved me. My short game was really good.”
Cushman knows he will have to sharpen up his ball striking before the state tournament.
“The short game will be a high priority at state and you also have to keep it pretty straight,” explained Cushman. “The state tournament course is pretty tree-lined so I have to make sure I tighten up my ball striking. If I get my ball striking there, I'll have a good chance.”
Kim was 2-under-par on the front nine at Thorncreek which helped him grab medalist honors with a 3-under-par score.
Highlands Ranch teammate Aiden Krusoe tied for second with a 71 and teammate Ryan Peragallo came in tenth with a 75.
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