GOLDEN | Ryan Occhionero got to experience the dream all prep golfers have Tuesday, making a birdie on his final hole at the state tournament with everything at stake.
The Regis Jesuit senior got one-upped by another senior minutes later.
Shortly after Occhionero completed a fantastic final round in which he climbed from a tie for 10th place to grab a share of the lead when he calmly sank a short putt on Hole No. 18 in front of a large gallery at The Club at Rolling Hills, along came Valor Christian’s Lucas Schulte.
Needing a birdie of his own on the last hole to join a playoff with Occhionero and Ralston Valley’s Trey Kirschner for first place, Schulte dropped his second shot on the par-5 485-yard hole just over five feet from the cup. He made the short putt for an eagle that eventually landed him the individual state championship and lifted his team past Arapahoe to win the 5A team crown as well.
“Lucas made an eagle, I mean he deserves to win. That’s such a good score on that last hole, with all the pressure and adrenaline, so yeah, he deserves it,” Occhionero said. “I was so happy to see where my ball landed on the 18th green. To just have a tap-in birdie was just exceptional, I couldn’t ask for anything more. It was such a fun day.”
Occhionero was only one of two players (Kirschner the other) to shoot under par on the final day of the tournament as his 1-under 70 gave him a two-day total of 147 on a course that proved plenty tricky. It was the second year in a row at state that Occhionero had a much better final round, but last season it only lifted him into a tie for 34th.
All three players for coach Craig Rogers’ Regis Jesuit team played significantly better on the second day as senior Teddy Hummel shot a 2-over 73 and junior Liam Wood finished with a 1-over 72. The Raiders moved all the way up from ninth place at the start of the final day to third behind Valor Christian and Arapahoe, both of which had four qualifiers.
Hummel finished 16th and Wood tied for 22nd behind Occhionero as Regis Jesuit had the best three finishes among the seven Aurora players in the field, with Grandview junior Kenny VanWormer coming next. The three-time state qualifier played three strokes better in his final round and finished in a tie for 27th with a two-day total of 157.
Eaglecrest sophomore Andrew White, the area’s top returning placer from last year when he tied for 14th, couldn’t recapture his state magic this time and ended up in a tie for 48th place. Cherokee Trail’s Tyler Cassaday and Grandview’s Josh Stone, both making their state debuts, finished tied for 70th and 78th, respectively.
Courtney Oakes is Sentinel Colorado Sports Editor. Reach him at 303-750-7555 or [email protected] Twitter: @aurorasports. IG: Sentinel Prep Sports
2020 CLASS 5A BOYS STATE GOLF TOURNAMENT
Oct. 5-6 at The Club at Rolling Hills
Team scores (par 213-213 — 426): 1. Valor Christian 452; 2. Arapahoe 454; 3. REGIS JESUIT 457; 4. Ralston Valley 458; 5. Rock Canyon 462; 6. Fossil Ridge 466; 7. Cherry Creek 468; 8. Lakewood 473; 9. Castle View 474; 10. Arvada West 483; 11. Monarch 500; 12. Pine Creek 510; 13. Fort Collins 542
Top 10 individuals (par 71-71 — 142): 1. Lucas Schulte (Valor Christian) 74-72 — 146; T2. RYAN OCCHIONERO (REGIS JESUIT) 77-70 — 147; T2. Trey Kirschner (Ralston Valley) 78-69 — 147; T4. Jeff Nelson (Prairie View) 76-72 — 148; T4. Wesley Erling (Pine Creek) 73-75 — 148; T4. Graham Dzengelewski (Arapahoe) 73-75 — 148; T7. Gage Messingham (Ralston Valley) 78-73 — 151; T7. Hayden Woelk (Liberty) 76-75 — 151; T7. Ryan Liaho (Lakewood) 76-75 — 151; T7. Charlie Flaxbeard (Cherry Creek) 74-77 — 151
Aurora individuals: 16. Teddy Hummel (Regis Jesuit) 81-73 — 154; T22. Liam Wood (Regis Jesuit) 84-72 — 156; T27. Kenny VanWormer (Grandview) 80-77 — 157; T48. Andrew White (Eaglecrest) 80-84 — 164; T70. Tyler Cassaday (Cherokee Trail) 86-90 — 176; T78. Josh Stone (Grandview) 92-88 — 180