BROOMFIELD — The Class 5A and 4A Jeffco League individual medalist champions — Lakewood sophomore Max Lange and Evergreen senior Clayton Whitton — capped off conference play in style Tuesday at The Broadlands Golf Course.
Lange birdied two of his final three holes to shoot a round of 2-under, 70. He edged Columbine junior Drew Duffy by a stroke to give Lange his third league title during the six-tournament conference schedule.
The sophomore finished with a 68.6 18-hole stroke average on his top-5 rounds that were counted in the overall conference standings.
“Last year I didn’t have the best scores, but this year I was pretty consistent in the high-60s and low-70s,” Lange said. “To play this well this year means a lot to me.”
Last year’s 5A Jeffco League champ Lakewood junior Ryan Liao placed fourth in the overall standings. Ralston Valley’s tandem of junior Jack Larson and Gage Messingham placed second and third, respectively.
“I’m just much more confident right now,” Lange said of not making first-team all-conference last year as a freshman to winning the medalist title. “I played really well during the summer at tournaments. Coming into the high school season that really helped.”
The Tigers now eye the 5A Central Regional tournament Monday, Sept. 23, at South Suburban Golf Course in Centennial. The 5A state tournament is scheduled for Oct. 7 and 8 at Pinehurst Country Club in Denver.
“We are pretty confident as a team right now,” Lange said of heading to regionals next week. “No matter where we go we are looking to get the team to state and play really well at state.”
Valor Christian won one of the closest 5A Jeffco team races in resent history. The Eagles, Ralston Valley and Lakewood were separated by just seven strokes in the finals standings. Ralston Valley took second and will take its deep squad to the 5A Southern Regional tournament Monday at Colorado Springs Country Club.
Valor will be at the 5A Western Regional at Hyland Hills on Wednesday, Sept. 25.
One the 4A side, Golden mounted a comeback to win the 4A team title. The Demons — led by Chance Surdurapura and Grayson Flambures — took a six-stroke victory over Evergreen in the overall conference standings.
“It means a lot, but I really wanted to win the team title too,” Whitton said after it was clear that Golden would edge out the Cougars for the 4A Jeffco team title. “That was in my head the last couple of holes. Going bogey-bogey wasn’t what I was looking to do.”
Despite the rough finish to his round, Whitton shot a 1-over, 73 to win his third conference tournament of the season and claim his first 4A Jeffco medalist title. Last season, Whitton finished second to teammate Nolan Miller.
Whitton has plenty of regional and state experience as he makes his final run. He was the No. 4 golfer for the Cougars when Evergreen was the 4A team runner-up at state in 2017.
“I feel like if everything comes together I have the ability to go super low,” Whitton said. “I’m going to try to go as low as I can to help the team out to give those young kids the experience of going to state because it’s fun.”
Evergreen juniors Jack Mitchell, Jake Dekoker, Jackson Green and Tanner Erlander all were first or second all-conference selections.
“Right now our goal as a team is to make state as a team. I need to play real well at regionals,” Whitton said. “There is some stuff I need to do and work on. Hopefully at regionals we can all play well.”
The majority of the 4A Jeffco teams will all head to the Region 2 tournament at the Country Club of Colorado in Colorado Springs on Monday, Sept. 23.