If the 3A Boys Golf State Championship had been broadcast on television, the ratings for play on the final hole would have been through the roof, as Colorado Academy boys took State for the first time in the school’s history.
“I still haven’t processed the 18th hole,” laughs Sophomore J.T. Timmers. “It was the most suspenseful finish to any sporting event I’ve experienced, which is hilarious, because people don’t think of golf as super intense.”
The two-day, 36-hole tournament was held at Dos Rios Golf Club in Gunnison, a course notable for water as a factor on 16 of the 18 holes. With Coach Beth Folsom and Assistant Coach Jeff Freebury (who has been the PGA pro at Foothills Golf Course since 1997), the Colorado Academy four-person team scouted the course for two days before the tournament started.
“It’s a very tight course, and you aren’t able to pull driver,” says Junior Jack Pashel. “But 18 is a really demanding hole off the tee, because it’s blocked by trees, and to make things worse, at the tournament everyone is sitting there watching you.”
“With so many holes having water, I knew one bad shot would result in a double bogey,” adds Sophomore TJ Giordano. “But that 18th hole was misleading, because it looked like a hole you could go for.”
By the end of the first day, the CA team was sitting in second place and feeling positive. “We knew we had a good team that could compete and do well,” says Folsom. “We didn’t change our strategy the second day, but we knew we had to manage the last several holes better.”
A triumph on day two
And that’s exactly what the team did. At the 13th hole, they were 6 strokes back, and by the 17th hole, they were 3 strokes back. Junior Bo Turnage birdied 3 of the last 4 holes, which really put pressure on the other teams. Pashel came up with a much-needed birdie on 17 to keep CA in contention. Timmers got up and down for a clutch par on 18, which ended up securing the win. And on that tricky 18th hole, where the team had been four over par on day one, they ended the second day at one over par.
For the first time in CA’s history, the boys held the State Championship banner aloft.
“When it came down to it, we realized how much this would mean to Beth,” says Pashel. “I’m so happy that she finally got a State Championship with the men! And Jeff deserves a lot of credit for helping me with my swing, and just talking to me about everything during the tournament—including fishing—to help me relax.”
“Beth and Jeff give good feedback while we are on the course, and they are very good at strategizing,” says Turnage. “They know the pressure of the second day, and they also knew it would come down to the final hole.”
“Golf is often seen as an individual sport,” adds Timmers. “But Coach Beth really helped us make sure our shots were in the best interest of the team.”
The coaches and players are already looking ahead to next year, when all four players from this triumph will return to a team that has a lot of depth. “We have great kids coming up from Middle School and an excellent group of underclassmen,” says Folsom. “This team is a reflection of what we have worked on for the past several years, and we should be strong moving forward, as well.”