Vista PEAK senior Dawson Thulin, center, claps as a medal is awarded after the conclusion of the Class 4A boys state golf tournament on Oct. 5, 2021, at City Park G.C. in Denver. Thulin finished in a tie for 8th-place to become the Vista PEAK boys golf program’s first top-10 state finisher. (Photo by Courtney Oakes/Sentinel Colorado)

DENVER | An ill-timed mishap with his driver derailed the state championship hopes for Dawson Thulin Oct. 5, but he still posted the highest finish ever for a Vista PEAK boys golfer at a state tournament.

The Bison senior went into the second round of the Class 4A state tournament just one shot out of the lead and hovered in that same area in the late stages of play at City Park G.C. until the head of his driver came off during his tee shot on the 15th hole.

The result was an errant tee shot that led to a triple bogey followed by a double on the next hole that dropped him out of title contention, but Thulin recovered for consecutive pars on the final two holes to bring him in with a tie for eighth-place in the season ending event.

“It put my drive into the street and that put my mentality down for the rest of the round,” Thulin said of the mishap. “It’s one of those things I can’t be mad at myself for.

“When you come into the day in second and you finish eighth, it’s a bummer, but overall, I’m happy. Top 10 is always great, especially at a state tournament.”

Thulin lost five strokes on the two holes and finished with 75, which put him at 5-over-par 145 for the tournament and earned him the first top-10 medal for a Vista PEAK boys golfer. In two previous trips to the state tournament, Thulin tied for 21st (as a sophomore in 2019) and 51st last season.

Thulin said he came into the tournament with a goal that he wanted his friends to “not have to scroll” to see his name on the online leaderboard, but things changed from that after his opening round of 70 that was a huge boost to his confidence.

That performance put him in the final group along with first round leader Bradley Weinmaster of Riverdale Ridge and Silver Creek’s Ben Harding, which also brings more attention.

Thulin opened his round with five straight pars, but three bogeys in the final four holes put him plus-3 at the turn. He rebounded with birdies on the par-4 Hole No. 13 and par-5 Hole No. 13, then threw in one more par after he crushed a drive on Hole No. 14 before the driver problem.

“Over two days I saw him make a lot of putts, which tells me he was really dialed in,” Vista PEAK coach Michael Martikonis said. “He just had that unfortunate incident on 15 that knocked the wind out of his sails for two holes.

“These were the two best tournament rounds of his career, so I think he’s ending on a high note.”

Thulin hopes his performance will increase his chances of drawing the interest of in-state college programs that might offer him a scholarship, while he also hopes it is a tone setter for future players at Vista PEAK.

Notes: Skyline’s Brentyn Paiz, who was a shot behind Thulin coming into the second round, claimed the 4A individual title by shooting a 4-under 67 in the final round, while Riverdale Ridge won the team championship by a nine-stroke margin over Windsor. It was the first state championship in any sport for Riverdale Ridge, located in Brighton.

Courtney Oakes is Sentinel Colorado Sports Editor. Reach him at [email protected] Twitter: @aurorasports. IG: Sentinel Prep Sports

2021 CLASS 4A BOYS STATE GOLF TOURNAMENT

Oct. 4-5 at City Park G.C.

Team scores: 1. Riverdale Ridge 216-220 — 436; 2. Windsor 231-214 — 445; T3. Cheyenne Mountain 222-225 — 447; T3. Silver Creek 228-219 — 447; 5. Falcon 229-221 — 450; 6. Pueblo West 234-224 — 458; 7. Niwot 241-220 — 461; T8. Montrose 233-231 — 464; T8. Steamboat Springs 232-232 — 464; 10. Evergreen 235-233 — 468; 11. Ponderosa 241-235 — 476; 12. Mullen 238-240 — 478; 13. Denver North 266-223 — 489; 14. Lewis-Palmer 252-238 — 490; 15. Skyline 262-257 — 519

Top 10 individuals: 1. Brentyn Paiz (Skyline) 71-67 — 138; 2. Reese Knox (Falcon) 72-68 — 140; 3. Ben Harding (Silver Creek) 70-71 — 141; T4. Jake Chesler (Frederick) 74-68 — 142; T4. Will Balliet (Riverdale Ridge) 72-70 — 142; T6. Traejan Andrews (Northridge) 73-70 — 143; T6. Christopher Gunlikson (Niwot) 74-69 — 143; T8. DAWSON THULIN (VISTA PEAK) 70-75 — 145; T8. Noah Richmond (Montrose) 77-68 — 145; T10. Alex Morrall (Palisade) 72-74 — 146; T10. Bradley Weinmaster (Riverdale Ridge) 69-77 — 146; T10. Noah Wagner (Pueblo West) 75-71 — 146

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