LONGMONT — Valor Christian came into Tuesday’s Class 4A boys golf state tournament feeling good, and left feeling great — taking the team title.
The team finished the tournament five-over-par with a combined total score of 425, out performing the runner-up team, Silver Creek (453) by a long stretch of 28 strokes.
Valor’s Coby Welch (even par, second overall), Philip Lee (2-over, tied for third), and Tim Amundson (3-over, tied for fifth) helped the Eagles win the title. David Leede also finished in a tie for 11th at 10-over.
Silver Creek’s Jackson Solem won the individual title by shooting 1-under, including a 69 on Tuesday. (Find complete results here.)
Coach Jason Preeo said a majority of his players in the tournament have not had the chance to play in an intense environment like state, and he is proud that they came and performed well under pressure.
After building such an impressive lead in Round 1 — 18 strokes — Valor Christian came in to Round 2 feeling extremely comfortable. Preeo was pleased with his team’s “putting and consistency of hitting in the fairway.”
Preeo recognized one of his seniors in particular, Welch, a Northern Colorado commit who played incredibly well during this tournament.
“He has had a chance at winning state every year,” said Preeo. “I’m proud of him and the growth he has made but I know he is disappointed to have finished second.”
Welch finished Round 1 just one stroke behind Solem and the two ended Round 2 with an identical score of 69.
“I wanted to go out, be calm and make a couple birdies and see what happened,” said Welch. “I did that other than one hole where I didn’t play very good and that was the deciding factor.”
Solem came into Tuesday knowing that from the Round 1 results, he was in close competition with the athletes from Valor and Windsor’s Cole Krantz, who finished in a tie for third at 2-over. Solem started off behind Krantz and Lee but throughout the day, he managed to work his way up.
Going in to the seventh hole, all three of their scores were 1-under across the board. After a few more holes, Solem took the lead with a a 2-under on the 13th hole.
It all came down to the final hole. The three anxiously walked to the hole anticipating the outcome with Solem at 1-under, Krantz at 1-over, and Lee at 2-over.
The well-sported crowd calmly applauded all of the players at the 18th green. Solem’s eager fan section awaited his final putt that put him in the position to take the state title.
“Winning state has been a goal of mine since I even knew what high school golf was,” Solem said. “It’s something really nice to have under the belt.”