COLORADO SPRINGS — The Coronado Cougars started the 2015 season where they left off in 2014, winning handedly at the Colorado Springs Country Club.
The team hadn't played there in school competition since late September when they cruised to the Class 5A state championship, winning by more than 20 strokes.
The margin of victory wasn't as big at Monday's Spartan Invitational, but the Cougars ended their round even as a team, good enough for a runaway win against 14 other Colorado Springs high schools.
"I think they were a little nervous at first, being tagged with that label of state champs," Coronado coach Marty Cornell said. "But eventually they all settled down and played their game. They played well today."
It helps that the Cougars return every member of the 2014 squad that walked away as state champions. They were paced by the play of senior Isaac Petersilie who was the runner-up to the individual state championship last season.
"Isaac's a solid player," Cornell said. "He shot what he shot."
He started the round just as he wanted to with a birdie on the par-5 1st. He was able to par the next seven holes and it appeared that he would par the 9th, making the turn at 1-under.
But his putt on the 9th green ran away from him and heading into the last nine holes, he was back to even.
"That second putt coming back, I hit exactly how I wanted to," Petersilie said. "It just didn't do what I thought it was going to do."
He bounced back two holes later on the par-5 11th. He put his second shot about 10-feet from the pin, but two-putted for birdie. He birdied 15 as well, giving him a score of 3-under on the par-5s.
The back nine turned into an intense battle between Petersilie and his friend and district rival Chadd Vasquez from Doherty. Vasquez shot 2-over on the front, but got back into the match by hitting three-straight birdies after making the turn.
"I just started hitting fairways," Vasquez said. "I was hitting fairways and hitting good iron shots. I didn't hit those fairways on the front."
Going into the par-4 18th, Vasquez trailed Petersilie by one stroke. Petersilie’s approach shot was just off the back of the green while Vasquez landed his about 14-feet from the hole.
Petersilie was able to get up-and-down for par to finish with a 69 on the round. Vasquez was able to knock down his birdie putt to also come in with a 69 and send the individual match to a playoff.
The two friends (and members of the Colorado Springs Country Club) went back out to the 1st of what they both consider their home course. Just like the start of the round, Petersilie was able to birdie the hole, giving him the individual title to go along with the Coronado team title.
There were no hard feelings between the two, however, as they both love competing against each other, regardless of the outcome.
"We just have to play our game. It's just birdie, birdie, birdie," Vasquez said. "When we get lucky we’ll talk some trash, but it was a good round today."