COLORADO SPRINGS – After giving up a two-stroke lead in a two-hole stretch, Evergreen sophomore Tyler Long stood on the 17th tee at the Country Club of Colorado and had just one thought on his mind.
Make solid contact.
He made solid contact the rest of the way and capped it off with a birdie putt on No. 18 to edge Cheyenne Mountain’s Thomas Herholtz and claim the Class 4A Region 2 boys golf championship. Long shot a 3-under-par 68 and Herholtz finished the day with a 70.
“I knew (when Herholtz tied it up) that there were two holes left,” Long said. “I had been playing pretty well all day and just had to put it behind me.”
His start was a little slow as he made bogeys on three of his first five holes. He responded with three straight birdies and made the turn sitting at 1-under. Then he caught fire. He made birdies on 10, 13 and 14 before back-to-back bogeys put him in a tie with Herholtz.
That tie came as Herholtz sank a birdie putt from about 30 feet away on the 16th green. They both made par on 17 and Long hit the green on 18 while Herholtz was a little long which set up a difficult chip with the green running away from him.
Giving up the lead and battling back to get the win was a good test for Long with the state tournament two weeks away.
“It’ll help me,” Long said. “I’ll use it and I’ll think back to it if I’m in this position again.”
The good new for Herholtz is that he didn’t leave the course empty-handed. His 70 paced the Red-Tailed Hawks to the regional team title. All four Cheyenne Mountain players finished in the top six on the leaderboard. Sophomore Charlie Doyle shot a 73, Carter Surofchek shot 74 and Kale Parthen shot 75.
Herholtz, Surofcheck and Parthen were all on the Cheyenne Mountain team that finished third at state last season. Adding Doyle, who has been playing outstanding golf all year and is ranked 11th in the iWanamaker rankings, is only going to bolster the Hawks’ chances of grabbing their second team championship in three years.
“It was great getting to compete with them,” Doyle said. “For the last three years, they’ve done it with someone else so it was great be able to start with them, be the new guy and come in with a good score and help us get to the next stage.”
The Hawks, like many teams, played at the Windsor Invite which was held at Pelican Lakes, the site of the 4A championship tournament. The team as a whole shot even par and Doyle and Herholtz each went under par and shot 71.
But state will be a different atmosphere so the excitement over winning a tournament at the state site and then claiming a regional championship must be put aside as the goal now turns to claiming another team state title.
“The sooner we can put that stuff behind us, the better we will be,” coach John Carricato said. “You have to look ahead. All the other stuff is in the rearview mirror and what’s important is what’s in front of us and we have to continue getting better.”
On top of Cheyenne Mountain and Evergreen earning team bids, representatives from Lutheran, Dakota Ridge, Littleton, Air Academy, Lewis-Palmer, Vista Ridge, Green Mountain and Palmer Ridge will also head to Pelican Lakes on Oct. 3.