LAKEWOOD — Lakewood senior Jack Castiglia overshadowed everyone except for maybe the moon and sun Monday at Bear Creek Golf Club.
Castiglia shot a 3-under-par 69 in the third Jeffco League boys golf tournament of the season. The three-time state qualifier was 10 strokes ahead of 2nd place in the 5A Jeffco individual standings. Lakewood freshman Ryan Liao and Ralston Valley senior Jackson Zinn tied for 2nd with rounds of 79.
The round started out with a bang for Castiglia. He holed out from 120 yards out for eagle on the No. 2 par 4. A birdie on the No. 7 par 3 put him at 3-under-par 33 through the first nine holes, just as the solar eclipse was coming to a peak.
“I was expecting a little bit more,” Castiglia said of the eclipse. “It was probably a little cooler up in Wyoming.”
Most players had a pair of glasses to look at the eclipse. Many took time to take a look during the couple of hours. Players were told if the sky got too dark, play could be suspended. There was a significant drop in temperature for about 10 minutes, but there was plenty light to continue play without a delay.
“It was interesting,” Green Mountain senior Gabe Goodman said of the eclipse. “I don’t think it effected me too much. It was pretty cool, that’s for sure.”
Castiglia got to 4-under-par with a birdie on the par 5 12th hole, but back-to-back bogey and double-bogey on 13 and 14 gave the rest of the field a glimmer of hope to catch Castiglia.
However, the senior that has a stroke average of 70 — 6.5 shots better than any other 5A Jeffco golfer — through half of the conference tournaments, birdied 15 and 17 to close out the impressive round.
“I want to just keep shooting better then the round before and keep staying positive,” Castiglia said of staying hot over the next three league tournaments.
Goodman, a member at Bear Creek GC, couldn’t get hot on his home course. The senior finished tied for 2nd on the 4A Jeffco side with a 3-over-par 75. Still, Goodman holds a one-shot advantage over Evergreen senior Bridger Tenney for the race for the 4A Jeffco medalist title.
“It was a long grinding day,” said Goodman, who had three bogeys and no birdies through the first 11 holes.
A string of back-to-back birdies on 12 and 13 pulled Goodman close to even-par on the round, but bogeys on 14, 15 and 17 quickly spoiled the rally. However, Goodman’s gamble on the final hole paid off.
Goodman went with driver off the tee to set up a short iron shot into the 391-yard par 4 closing hole. A wonderful second shot set up a birdie putt that Goodman sank to finish his round.
“That was really important to get the drive in play. Obviously a smarter play would be to hit an iron off the tee, but I had to see what I could do and hit a driver in play,” Goodman said. “Making birdie on 18 was huge.”
Valor senior Jake Welch won the 4A Jeffco individual title at Bear Creek GC by a shot over Goodman and Tenney.
“It was really cool. I thought it would get a little darker,” said Tenney about playing golf during the eclipse. “I thought we might not be able to play for a little while, but we were able to play through it.”
Tenney started off with a double-bogey on his opening hole, but played just 1-over-par for the rest of the round.
“I’ll take it. It was a grind-it-out round,” said Tenney, who is second to Goodman in the 4A overall individual standings midway through the league schedule. “I missed some putts and made some putts. This is a really tough golf course. I’ll take it.”
Evergreen and Valor actually tied for the 4A team title at Bear Creek GC. The Cougars are currently just three strokes behind the Eagles for the team crown.
“That’s at the top of the priority list,” Tenney said of winning the 4A Jeffco team title over Valor. “Valor is playing great golf and we are struggling a little bit right now, but we’ll get it back. We are going to have to play some clutch golf down the stretch.”
The 5A team race is also tight. Lakewood, three-time defending 5A Jeffco League champ, holds a two-stroke advantage over Ralston Valley with three conference tournaments left.