MONTROSE – It wasn’t quite a Ben Crenshaw 1999 Ryder Cup moment, but of all people it was Montrose football coach Brett Mertens that made a bold proclamation.

Following a freshman football game, he got caught up with the happenings of Day 1 of the Class 4A boys golf tournament and knowing the tournament was on home soil and the Red Hawks had a bona fide player, he simply shared his thoughts.

Noah Richmond could make a run at it tomorrow,” he said. “He’s an unbelievable athlete and a heck of a golfer.”

But even when making that claim, Mertens couldn’t foresee the run that Richmond made en route to capturing medalist honors, shooting a 6-under-par 65 to claim the 4A title. After carding 74 in Round 1 at the Bridges, he started Round 2 with two birdies in his first three holes. Then he rattled more birdies on 5, 6 and 7.

He made par on 8 which brought him to the par-5 ninth. He ripped a drive clear down the fairway giving him just 167 yards to the flag. His approach game him a makable eagle putt and on a day where he had championship ambitions, all he needed were chances. He drained the putt to go out the front 9 in 28.

“That was my best-ever 9,” Richmond said. “I’ve gone low before, but it was nice that everything was just falling. It was crazy.”

In the midst of that run, the big picture scenario took over. Richmond had overtaken Evergreen’s Liam Houlihan for the top spot on the leaderboard. But that was never his concern. He was just trying to put together the best round he could play on this particular day.

“I was playing everything hole to hole,” Richmond said. “I didn’t know where I was until 12. I didn’t know what was going on and I just wanted to birdie the next hole, then the next hole.”

He made one bogey on the day. His tee shot on 11 landed near the No. 2 fairway. His approach actually landed long of the green and he couldn’t get up and down to save par.

From that point on, he made few mistakes. He sank long par putts on 17 and 18 to close out his round, staying one shot ahead of Evergreen’s Tyler Long and becoming the second Montrose player to claim state at The Bridges. Micah Stangebye won the individual title – and Montrose also claimed the team title – when the tournament was last played here in 2019.

On the second day of the tournament, Richmond and Long were two of four total players that put up red numbers. Pueblo West’s Preston Allen (68) and Cheyenne Mountain’s Charlie Doyle (68) were the other two.

Long battled as much as he could to make up ground, but said after he finished his round of 70, that he looked more at the team scores than the individual.

“I was checking out the leaderboard and just making sure that we were still in the lead,” Long said. “I kept seeing what the other guys were doing and figured I’d try to make a couple birdies from them.”

Over the course of the two days, Evergreen totaled 440 strokes, six better than team runner-up Grand Junction. Long and Houlihan tied for second place on the individual leaderboard.

But they get a nice five-hour drive home with additional hardware and it has all come from the work the four juniors that make up the team have put in since the start of the season.

“Tyler and Liam were definitely our hot players, but we have a team of four guys that have been hot all year long,” coach Brad Garrett said. “It’s a solid group of guys and it’s been a pleasure.”

This is the first boys golf team title for the Cougars.