MONTROSE – The first day of the Class 4A boys golf state tournament had an eerily similar feeling to the first day of the 2017 tournament at Raccoon Creek.

It could just be the players trudging through soaking wet fairways while adding and removing layers all day as rain, wind and cold swept their way through The Bridges.

But it’s more than that.

A defending champion has to bear these conditions as he looks to become the first boys player to win two in a row since Montrose’s Micah Stangebye did it in 2018 and 2019.

If Riverdale Ridge’s Bradley Weinmaster pay attention to omens – or history for that matter – this is reason to believe he can pull off a second win. There is also reason to believe it may not be in the cards.

Looking at the positive side of history, Stangebye closed out his second title win n the same grounds where Weinmaster is going for his. The Bridges Golf and Country Club provides a genuine golf test that will truly root out the best player in the state over the course of these two days. Weinmaster finished Round 1 shooting 4-over-par 75 and sits in a tie for 11th-place.

That’s hardly out of contention as Evergreen’s Liam Houlihan fired a 70 to lead the field on Monday. His teammate Tyler Long is right behind him with a 71 and the effort between the two also has Evergreen in first place as a team.

Now for the bad news. Before Stangebye, the last player to go for a second straight title was Discovery Canyon’s Luke Trujillo. That was in 2017. At Raccoon Creek.

Conditions on Day 1 were tough. Cold, windy and rainy and eventually the course got the better of Trujillo, a standout player who went on to play golf for the United States Air Force Academy.

It happens to the best of them.

“On a good day, I can control my variables,” Weinmaster said. “I can go at every pin and know how everything is going to break. I can attack pins. A day like today, you don’t know how it’s coming off the (club) face, you don’t know how the rough is going to react.”

The conditions played a roll in raising the overall scoring average as just one player ended the day in red figures. From a team standpoint, Evergreen has the lead with a team score of 218.

Defending 4A champion Cheyenne Mountain has some work to do after freshman Brayden DeStefano led the squad with a 76, Ethan Ivany shot 78, Charlie Doyle shot 79 and Rylan Schulz ended the day with an 83.

If the Red-Tailed Hawks are going to claim a second straight team title, there is work to do on Tuesday, which is a challenge coach John Carricato is looking forward to watching his boys take on.

“You have to set the tone and that started on the back 9 here with a couple of players,” Carricato said. “It’s important that every player is in every shot and that they execute golf shots. That’s an expectation within the program, up and down all 26 players on this roster.”

Day 2 of the 4A state golf tournament begins at 9 a.m. at The Bridges.


Class 5A

Five players ended the day with red numbers at Collindale Golf Course in Fort Collins which should set up a thrilling final round.

Rock Canyon’s Charlie Tucker made six birdies en route to shooting 69 to take the individual lead. Four players sit one stroke behind him which will make for a fun race to the individual 5A crown.

Miles Kuhl (Fairview), Gavin Amella (Castle View), Jesse Hand (Chatfield) and Brayden Forte (Cherokee Trail) all shot 70.

Tucker’s day also helped Rock Canyon jump out to the team lead at 219 and the Jaguars sit five shots ahead of Regis Jesuit.


Class 3A

Resurrection Christian didn’t have a single player shoot under par, but with the highest counting score a 75, the Cougars are hunting for team gold at RainDance.

Jack Carter led the team with a 74 while Clint Summers and Graham Riggs each shot 75 to put Rez in first place as a team following Day 1 of the 3A state tournament. Those three players make up three of the top four positions on the leaderboard.

Peak to Peak’s Om Mathur is individual leader after shooting 70. He made five birdies and he also eagled the par-4 third hole.

A couple of double-bogeys during his round kept him from finishing his round in the 60’s.