AURORA | On a chilly day totally unlike any other during the fall boys golf season, Aurora players fared remarkably well Monday in the opening round of the Class 5A state tournament at CommonGround G.C.
Eaglecrest senior Davis Bryant and Regis Jesuit senior Cal McCoy — both league and regional champions — each finished at 1-under-par 70 on the opening day and will open Tuesday’s second round a stroke behind leader Dillon Stewart of Fossil Ridge on the individual leaderboard.
In its quest for a 5A state championship three-peat, Regis Jesuit enters the final day with a four-stroke lead over Cherry Creek after registering a plus-4 team score on the opening day. Senior Cameron Kirke sat atop the leaderboard along with McCoy for several holes before he finished at even par, while senior Drew Anderson carded a 5-over 76 for the Raiders’ third score.
Junior Walker Fuller’s plus-7 78 rounded out the scores for coach Craig Rogers’ Regis Jesuit team on the first day.
Bryant, last season’s 5A runner-up, got off to a fine start in the opening group and shot a 34 on the par-36 front side — including a nice chip from the rough on Hole No. 9 to help save par — then built on that with a birdie on No. 11.
At 3-under, Bryant had a share of the lead, but fell back with bogeys on No. 12 and No. 13. He made his fourth and final birdie of the round on the par-3 No. 14 only to bogey on No. 16.
McCoy also tore it up on the first nine holes with three birdies to make the turn at 3-under. He made par on seven of the final nine holes, with bogeys on No. 15 and No. 18 dropping him a shot off the lead.
Kirke made a surge in his state debut with a stretch of three birdies over four holes between No. 7 and No. 10 to grab a spot with McCoy atop the leaderboard. A double bogey on No. 13 neutralized some of that, but he finished with five birdies in all to sit in a group of four players just two strokes off the lead.
Anderson — whose second round performance was big in Regis Jesuit’s title victory last season — had a strong round outside of two double bogeys (Nos. 5 and 17) and ended strong with a birdie on the par-5 Hole No. 18 that caused many other players trouble.
Fuller’s first state tournament appearance began with seven consecutive pars before a rough stretch of four straight bogeys.
In his third career state tournament, Smoky Hill junior Chris Kennedy played steady in tough conditions as one of the opening groups with a 2-over 73. He enters the final round tied for 13th individually as he seeks to vastly improve on his 63rd place as a freshman in 2015 and 70th last season.
Kennedy finished the front side at plus-1 and got to 1-under with consecutive birdies on Nos. 10 and 11, only to see those two strokes get away with back-to-back bogeys on Nos. 12 and 13.
Cherokee Trail sophomore Beam Boonta played in the same early group with Bryant and made a strong state debut with a plus-3 74.
Boonta’s roound included three birdies, the last of which came on No. 12 and got him as low as 1-over.
4A: Feeling the effects of the cold weather as he continues to heal from a bad dirt bike crash in the summer, Vista PEAK junior Sha Jefferson had a difficult opening round at Raccoon Creek G.C. in Littleton.
Jefferson was just 5-over-par after five holes, but finished at plus-62.
Courtney Oakes is Aurora Sentinel Sports Editor. Reach him at 303-750-7555 or email@example.com. Twitter: @aurorasports. FB: Aurora Prep Sentinel
2017 CLASS 5A BOYS STATE GOLF TOURNAMENT
Oct. 2 (1st round)
Team scores (par 213): 1. REGIS JESUIT 217; 2. Cherry Creek 221; 3. Fossil Ridge 222; 4. ThunderRidge 224; T5. Fairview 226; T5. Grand Junction 226; T7. Denver East 228; T7. Arapahoe 228; 9. Heritage 229; 10. Highlands Ranch 232; 11. Rock Canyon 236; 12. Monarch 243; 13. Fruita Monument 244; 14. Legacy 250
Top 10 individuals (par 71): 1. Dillon Stewart (Fossil Ridge) 69; T2. DAVIS BRYANT (EAGLECREST) 70; T2. CAL MCCOY (REGIS JESUIT) 70; T2. Canon Olkowski (Grand Junction) 70; T5. CAMERON KIRKE (REGIS JESUIT) 71; T5. Sam Blackwood (Heritage) 71; T5. Carter Kovarik (Cherry Creek) 71; T5. Evan Kalac (ThunderRidge) 71; T5. Brandon Bervig (Liberty) 71; T10. Tommy Packer (Arapahoe) 72; T10. Connor Jones (Mountain Range) 72; T10. Ryder Heuston (Fairview) 72
Other Aurora results: T13. Chris Kennedy (Smoky Hill) 73; T15. Beam Boonta (Cherokee Trail) 74; T23. Drew Anderson (Regis Jesuit) 76; T38. Walker Fuller (Regis Jesuit) 78
⛳️ — Full 1st round 5A state results, here
Aurora 2nd round tee times/pairings (Oct. 3)
TEE NO. 1 — 8:30 a.m.: WALKER FULLER (REGIS JESUIT), Jack Hastings (Fossil Ridge), Sean Kennedy (Fruita Monument); 9:15 a.m.: DREW ANDERSON (REGIS JESUIT), Henry Dunkleberger (Rock Canyon), Blake Schneiter (Grand Junction); 9:51 a.m.: BEAM BOONTA (CHEROKEE TRAIL), Freddie Gluck (Boulder), CHRIS KENNEDY (SMOKY HILL);10:09 a.m.: Brandon Bervig (Liberty), Evan Kalac (ThunderRidge), CAMERON KIRKE (REGIS JESUIT); 10:18 a.m.: Sam Blackwood (Heritage0, Carter Kovarik (Cherry Creek), CAL MCCOY (REGIS JESUIT); 10:27 a.m.: DAVIS BRYANT (EAGLECREST), Canon Olkowski (Grand Junction), Dillon Stewart (Fossil Ridge)
⛳️ — Full 2nd round 5A state pairings/tee times, here