AURORA — Oliver Jack was a little upset that he left a potential state-championship-winning putt short on the 18th green.
So he went out on the first playoff hole at the Class 3A boys golf state tournament and absolutely crushed his drive down the middle of the fairway. That laid the groundwork for a birdie on the par-5 Hole 1, and helped Jack capture the individual title over Estes Park's Ivan Richmond on Tuesday at Saddle Rock Golf Course.
"I didn't want to make that same mistake again," Jack said after his round. "I guess that first tee shot, I was a little angry, so I hit it a little hard."
Jack led the tournament after the first round, and held that lead the entire second day — until Richmond tied him at 1-under with a birdie on the 17th hole. It was a familiar sight: the duo had tied for second at last year's 3A boys golf tournament.
Both players then bogeyed the 18th, though Jack had a shot to win the tournament with the putt for par which he left short. So, tied at even par after 36 holes, Jack and Richmond headed to the first hole to begin a playoff.
"He was a little down after three-putting," said Kent Denver coach Bob Austin, "and I said, 'Oliver, let's get your scorecard right and we're going to walk to the first tee, and if you bust your drive out there, if you make four, you're going to win. It's all ahead of you.'"
Jack's huge tee shot set himself up with a close approach shot, and then he two-putted for the birdie. Richmond hit his tee shot in the hazard to the left of the fairway, and wasn't able to recover. He double-bogeyed the playoff hole.
Jack had birdied the first hole twice before in the tournament.
"I've played that hole well all week, it's been a good hole for me," said Jack, a junior who is already committed to play golf at the University of Colorado. "I was kind of playing match play against him, because he hit it in the hazard, unfortunately. I was just trying to chip it kind of close."
Jack did chip it close, then sealed his win with a third birdie on Hole 1.
"I believed all along that he was the best player here," Austin said. "He's a very, very elite talent, he's a special kid."
Jack's individual title also helped Kent Denver reclaim the team championship, their first since 2012. It is also the program's ninth overall championship, which edges the Sun Devils past Cherry Creek and its eight titles for the most in state history.
"That says a lot about coach Austin, who kind of pours his heart and soul into this team," Jack said. "It was good to get the win for him."
The record carries a bit of personal significance for Austin. The longtime coach, who has led Kent Denver to eight of the titles, played his high school golf at Cherry Creek — and he helped the Bruins win two championships.
Austin got emotional when he spoke about moving past the Bruins and the legendary Joe Lynch, his former coach.
"I don't believe I'm in his league as a coach," Austin said. "I never dreamed of this happening. For the school to have won nine and move ahead of my former school ... that meant a lot to me to do that. I just feel blessed. We're very fortunate and we have great players who answered the bell."
The Sun Devils, who finished runner-up the past two seasons, had a very consistent group to finish 13-over as a team, including Jackson Klutznick (who finished 4-over) and Ben Zimmerman (9-over). Jack Friedman also had a good tournament, shooting 18-over.
Peak to Peak, the defending champion, finished second at 16-over. The Pumas got scoring rounds from Ethan Tartaglia (+2), Ian Thorpe (+7), and Nishant Datta (+7). Sam Taylor, the defending individual champion, finished at +26.
Dawson (+39) finished third as a team, Eaton (+43) was fourth, and Aspen (+46) finished fifth.
Individually, Estes Park's Richmond had an unbelievable round, and was the only one under par on Tuesday at 1-under.
Peak to Peak's Tartaglia was third individually, and Kent's Klutznick and Dawson's Yale Kim finished in a tie for fourth at 4-over.