Mountain Range's Jones leads 5A boys golf with marvelous shot and round

(Brent New/CHSAANow.com)

COLORADO SPRINGS — Mountain Range's Connor Jones hit an eagle with a 142-yard shot on the third hole at Colorado Springs Country Club. It would have been the shot of a lifetime if not for the fact that he did nearly the same exact thing in his practice round Sunday.

How's that for some good fortune for the Day 1 leader of the Class 5A boys golf state tournament.

"Same hole, same club," Jones chuckled. "Holed them both. It's never going to happen again in my life."

With his 9-iron, Jones landed his shot about five feet past the pin and watched his ball gently roll back into the cup on consecutive days. Now, he hopes his story of golf folklore can have a fairy-tale ending, too. The senior's score of 3-under-par 68 is good for the three-stroke lead after the first day of the 5A tournament.

The senior had two birdies to go with his eagle during his round. He remains grounded despite a dazzling open to his state bid.

"Tomorrow, I'm just going to try and play my game," Jones said.

Lakewood's Ryan Liao is currently second after shooting even-par. Liberty's Brandon Bervig and last year’s runner-up, Dillon Stewart of Fossil Ridge, are tied for third at 1-over.

"The goal was to give myself a chance," said Liao, a sophomore. "I gave myself a chance today to play tomorrow and try to win."

Liao and fellow-sophomore Noah DiBiase (73) led the Tigers to the top of the leaderboard, six strokes ahead of second-place Arapahoe and Fossil Ridge. Their fast start comes a year after Lakewood did not qualify a team to the tournament.

On Tuesday, the Tigers will look to hold the lead to hoist their first state title in program history with two sophomores and two freshmen leading the way.

"It's not unexpected, we work hard," Lakewood coach Alan Gonzales said. "We just love to play golf. We're a young team but at the same time we're experienced. They play a lot of tournaments in the summer."

Jones will also try to hold off the field for his first title. He finished tied for sixth last year.

"I told myself I wasn't going to look at the leaderboard today," Jones said. "Obviously I'm going to have to look tomorrow."