5A boys golf champions take different roads to victory

COLORADO SPRINGS — The stories of the individual and team 5A state golf chmapions couldn't have been written any more differently. But both were equally on display Tuesday at the Country Club of Colorado Springs, the site of the 2014 state championship tournament.

For the Coronado Cougars, the team of Luke Travins, Wes Moran, Austin Burgess and Isaac Petersilie came into Tuesday's round with a comfortable lead for the team title and were able to play consistent golf and cruise their way to a 21-stroke victory.

Pomona senior Grant Olinger walked off the 18th green with no clue that he sat alone atop the individual leader board.

Oligner finished Thursday with round of 76, good enough to be seven strokes back going into the final day.

"Yesterday I don't think he had a lot going for him, I mean he was patient but he was right and left and missing short putts," Pomona golf coach Brian Martin said. "He was frustrated at times but I think he was patient and kept his head in it and he made a birdie on the last hole (on Thursday) to get one back."

Pomona boys golf

Pomona's Grant Olinger, the 5A boys golf individual champion. More photos. (Dan Mohrmann/CHSAANow.com)

Martin said Oligner's range session before Tuesday's round "wasn't awesome" but didn't affect his approach on the course.

Fort Collins' Hunter Paugh led the field coming into the final round and started the day looking like he had a chance to remain consistent and hold on to his lead.

It wasn't until a par on No. 11, that the lead began to slip away from him. His initial approach shot on the par five landed just shy of the green, giving him an excellent look at eagle or birdie. His chip went slightly long and his birdie putt missed just right of the hole. He followed that par up with a bogey on 12, dropping him to two over par, tied with Olinger and Petersilie.

At that point, Olinger had battled his way down to +2 overall on the tournament, trailing Paugh by only a stroke. Walking up to 17 - the last par three left to play - he had a prime opportunity to take control of the leader board.

"I hit a six-iron to about 15 to 20 feet (away from the hole)," he said. "I read the break pretty well, it went right to left about four feet and I hit it right in there."

That birdie turned out to be the difference maker. Olinger finished off a round of 67, putting him in sole possession of first place and forcing him to wait out the remaining golfers.

Petersilie had the first opportunity to pull even. With his team firmly in control of the team title, He was able to be more aggressive than usual and attack the pin on the 18th hole.

His approach shot landed about 20 feet past the flag stick, giving him a shot a birdie. His putt was on line to fall, but got enough of the lip of the putt that it rolled out. Petersilie would par 18, more than enough to seal the team title, but keeping the individual title just out of reach.

"It was in and it came out," first year Cougars coach Marty Cornell said. "But the thing is, Isaac gave himself a chance and that's all you can ask for."

Paugh was the last golfer with a shot to even up or take down Olinger, but bogies on 17 and 18 capped off a tough back nine, dropping him to third place overall.

But the day would belong to Olinger and the Cougars.

Coronado entered Tuesday's round four strokes ahead of Highlands Ranch, but played well early and grew distant from the rest of the pack. For Cornell, it was a great moment to see his team raise the state title trophy, but even more special to do it so close to home.

"That's a great feeling. I'm a first-year coach, thrown in with these guys and they're wonderful kids and it was fun," Cornell said. "(Doing it in Colorado Springs) makes it even more special."

Coronado boys golf

Coronado won 5A boys golf on Tuesday. More photos. (Dan Mohrmann/CHSAANow.com)