Boys Golf: Regis Jesuit grinds way to 5A Central Regional title, Eaglecrest frosh makes state

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Class 5A Central Regional Boys Golf, 9.16.14
The Regis Jesuit boys golf foursome, from left, senior Kevin Shafer, junior Andrew McCormick, senior Jack Lazzeri and junior Bennett Rogers pose with the Class 5A Central Regional championship trophy they won on Sept. 16, 2014, at Green Valley Ranch Golf Club. The Raiders posted a team score 12-over-par 228 to claim one of the two automatic team spots in the Sept. 29-30 5A state championship tournament in Colorado Springs. (Photo by Courtney Oakes/Aurora Sentinel)

DENVER | The club swingers may change from year to year, but the resilience of the Regis Jesuit boys golf team seems to always remain.

The Raiders trailed upstart Columbine for much of the first half of the Class 5A Central Regional tournament Tuesday at Green Valley Ranch Golf Club, but gutted through the final stretch to emerge with a two-stroke victory and an automatic berth in the Sept. 29-30 state tournament at Colorado Springs Country Club.

Senior Kevin Shafer and junior Bennett Rogers each carded 3-over-par 75s and junior Andrew McCormick turned in a 78 to give coach Craig Rogers’ Regis Jesuit a team total of 228, a mere two-stroke margin ahead of Columbine and Broomfield. Senior Jack Lazzeri, the Raiders’ lone holdover from the team that won a fourth-straight 5A state championship last season, is also headed back to the state tournament despite a tough day at regionals.

“Other than the very last hole for a couple of guys, they stayed very level when the pressure was on,” Craig Rogers said. “I was really proud of them for hanging in there on a tough course. This is a stressful place for a young man to play a round of golf.”

Other than a bit of nerves, Eaglecrest freshman Davis Bryant was likely the least stressed player on the course, where his father, Matt, is the course pro. Davis Bryant shot a 3-over 75 to become the school’s first boys state qualifier since Keith Brady made three straight appearances from 2004-2006. Rangeview and Aurora Central also represented Aurora in the regional, but neither had a state qualifier.

Class 5A Central Regional boys golf, 9.16.14
Regis Jesuit senior Jack Lazzeri tees off on Hole No. 16 at Green Valley Ranch Golf Club during the 5A Central Regional Sept. 16. (Courtney Oakes/Aurora Sentinel)

Lazzeri played as the No. 4 golfer on last season’s state team that included Division I-bound seniors Spencer Painton, Jake Kelley and Chris Korte, but entered this season as Regis Jesuit’s clear No. 1 and the only one with any real varsity experience.

He played well at the beginning and end of his regional round, but the middle was bewildering. Thankfully, Lazzeri was able to relax as his coaches kept him apprised of how Shafer, McCormick and Rogers were playing.

“I am so thankful, I’m buying them each dinner tonight,” Lazzeri said with a smile. “I’m really thankful to have them as teammates. Not a lot of teams are strong enough that their No. 1 can have a day like that and the 2-3-4 can pick them up. …I started off really good and then midway through round, I don’t know what was happening. Missing state would kill me, so I was trying to keep it out of my head. I was really happy when the the coaches told me my teammates were playing well.”

Bennett Rogers played as well as any of the Raiders and nearly as well as anybody in the field until a rough finishing hole.

With a birdie on Hole No. 15, the junior might have been able to even grab a share of medalist honors — which were secured by Heritage’s Reese Leiker with a 1-under-par 71 — but was plagued by a bad bounce into the reeds alongside the cart path and a couple of frustrating missed putts.

“I played 17 very good holes of golf,” Rogers said. “That last one was a hiccup, but overall I was happy with the way I played. Shooting 75 is nothing to be upset about. That last hole, I’ll use that as motivation for state. …We were grinding the whole day. We obviously don’t have the dominating players we had last year, so each of us had to play to our best capabilities.”

Class 5A Central Regional boys golf, 9.16.14
Regis Jesuit junior Bennett Rogers reacts to his missed putt on Hole No. 15 during the 5A Central Regional. (Courtney Oakes/Aurora Sentinel)

Shafer tried to avoid getting too much information during his round to keep his head clear. He felt pretty strong about his 75, though he “left some out there.”

“We can’t have Lazzeri lead us every time, so it was great that he could have a day off and we still came through,” Shafer said. “Knowing we can flip scores is good.”

McCormick grinded his way to a 78 in his first regional tournament and was grateful to put it behind him and look forward to a state course he feels sets up well for his game.

“It was alright; I struggled putting today,” McCormick said. “I feel confident we’re going to pull it together better for state.”

Though three of his four players will compete in the state tournament for the first time, Craig Rogers still feels pretty good about his team’s chances at winning a fifth consecutive 5A state title for the program.

He’s wary of teams such as Coronado — which is very familiar with the state course — Southern Regional champ Boulder, fellow Continental League power Highlands Ranch and others, but believes he likely has the deepest foursome in the field.

“They are all capable of playing very good golf; depth is again a very good asset for us,” Rogers said. “Our fourth guy isn’t just tagging along to state. Our fourth guy can be the best guy in the group on any day.”

Bryant — who played in the same group as Lazzeri — used his knowledge of the course and the advice of his father on his way to a solid 75.

“Knowing the course and knowing a lot of the greens and fairways and where to hit the ball helped a lot,” Bryant said. “I was very comfortable. Still a little nervous because it was a big tournament, but it felt good.”

Class 5A Central Regional boys golf, 9.16.14
Eaglecrest freshman Davis Bryant watches his putt roll on Hole No. 15 at the 5A Central Regional Sept. 16. (Courtney Oakes/Aurora Sentinel)

Bryant said he hit 12 fairways, 15 greens and had 15 two-putts, following the formula for success his father laid out of him. He can now turn his focus to reaching his goal of a top-20 finish in his state tournament debut.

Columbine and Broomfield waged an epic three-hole playoff to determine the other team qualifier, with Columbine finally prevailing to secure a four-player team at state.

Rangeview was paced by junior Raymond Simanjuntak, who carded a 20-over 92, while senior Mitchell Claypool checked in at 96 and senior Evan Kennedy shot 97.

None of Aurora Central’s four golfers broke 100 on the challenging course, with R’Ron Fisher’s 130 leading the way.

Courtney Oakes is Sports Editor of the Aurora Sentinel. Reach him at 303-750-7555 or [email protected] Twitter: @aurorasports. Facebook: Aurora Prep Sentinel. IG: Auroraprepsentinel

5A CENTRAL REGIONAL BOYS GOLF

Sept. 16 at Green Valley Ranch Golf Club

Team scores (par 216): 1. REGIS JESUIT (Bennett Rogers, Kevin Shafer, Andrew McCormick, Jack Lazzeri) 228;  T2. Columbine 230*; T2. Broomfield 230; T4. Arapahoe 231; T4. Legacy 231; 6. Heritage 234; 7. Rampart 237; 8. Denver East 244; 9. Chaparral 247; 10. Fruita Monument 248; 11. Arvada West 259; 12. Poudre 269; 13. EAGLECREST (Davis Bryant, Ryan Beaulieu, Alejandro Torres, Joel Jack) 272; 14. RANGEVIEW (Raymond Simanjuntak, Mitchell Claypool, Evan Kennedy, Jay Chamberlain) 285; 15. AURORA CENTRAL (R’Ron Fisher, Abraham Pizano, David Gonzalez-Beltran, Johan Ledezma) 397

State qualifying individuals (par 72): 1. Reese Leiker (Heritage) 71; T2. Li Chen (Legacy) 72; T2. Andrew Martinez (Rampart) 72; 4. Austin Lienemann (Arapahoe) 73; 5. Troy Dangler (Fruita Monument) 74; T6. DAVIS BRYANT (EAGLECREST) 75; T6. BENNETT ROGERS (REGIS JESUIT) 75; T6. KEVIN SHAFER (REGIS JESUIT) 75; T6. Alex Gorman (Broomfield) 75; T6. Ben Eisenbies (Arvada West) 75; T6. Marcus Tait (Columbine) 75; T6. Michael Tait (Columbine) 75; T6. Kailer Rundiks (Denver East) 75; T14. Andrew Lanford (Broomfield) 76; T14. Nick Leibold (Heritage) 76; T16. ANDREW MCCORMICK (REGIS JESUIT) 78; T16. David Packer (Arapahoe) 78*; T16. Trevor Glen (Legacy) 78*; 1st alternate: T16. DJ Manson (Rampart) 78

* — Won in playoff

Aurora team-by-team result (in order of finish)

Regis Jesuit (228): Bennett Rogers 75, Kevin Shafer 75, Andrew McCormick 78, Jack Lazzeri 83; Eaglecrest (272): Davis Bryant 75, Ryan Beaulieu 97, Alejandro Torres 100, Joel Jack 115; Rangeview (285): Raymond Simanjuntak 92, Mitchell Claypool 96, Evan Kennedy 97, Jay Chamberlain 122; Aurora Central (397): R’Ron Fisher 130, Abraham Pizano 133, David Gonzalez-Beltran 134, Johan Ledezma 140

Other team-by-team results (in order of finish)

Broomfield (230): Alex Gorman 75, Andrew Lanford 76, Shane Tilger 79, Ryan May 89; Columbine (230): Marcus Tait 75, Michael Tait 75, Isiodoro Zambrano 80, Evan Tooley 81; Arapahoe (231): Austin Lienemann 73, David Packer 78, Turner Johnson 80, Tyler Martinez 80; Legacy (231): Li Chen 72, Trevor Glen 78, Jason Franklin 81, Mitchell Gore 81; Heritage (234): Reese Leiker 71, Nick Leibold 76, Nathan Parry 87, Ryan Way 87; Rampart (237): Andrew Martinez 72; DJ Manson 78, Garrett Sanchez 87, Jacob Packard 99; Denver East (244): Kailer Rundiks 75, Brock Dowdy 79, Reid Johnson 90, Kyle Bailey-Sutton 106; Chaparral (247): Josh Yovich 79, Kevin Miller 81, John Maruyama 87, Blake Rich 97; Fruita Monument (248): Troy Dangler 74, Brandon Speer 87, Nate Salvucci 87, Cuba Bess 93; Arvada West (259): Ben Eisenbies 75, Blake Johnson 90, Javier Olivas 94, Sam Jonker 103; Poudre (269): Caleb Maxey 84, Blake McClure 85, Jordan Jackson 100, Cole Knutson 108