GOLDEN — Arvada West senior Tyler Tyson had a record-breaking performance in the Jeffco League boys golf tournament opener Monday, Aug. 10.
Tyson fired an 8-under-par, 63 at Applewood Golf Course to break to school record at A-West for lowest round at a tournament. The Wildcats’ top golfer had nine birdies. His lone blemish was a bogey on No. 9.
“My putter,” Tyson said of what allowed him to go so low. “I putted well. I had 25 putts I think. Good wedges too. I made everything. It was fun.”
Tyson finished the best round of the day with a birdie putt on the 18th hole. He finished four strokes ahead of Ralston Valley junior Gage Messingham (4-under-par, 67). Ralston Valley cruised to the team title with Messingham, along with seniors Jack Larson (3-under-par 68) and Trey Kirschner (2-under-par 69) also finishing in red numbers.
“It gives me a pad because this is a scary little (conference) this year,” Tyson said of getting out to a sizable lead in the race for the Class 5A Jeffco League individual medalist title.
A number of the top 5A Jeffco golfers from last year have returned. Defending medalist champion — Lakewood junior Max Lange — is back, but missed the conference opener because he was in California for a tournament.
Lakewood senior Ryan Liao placed fifth Monday with a strong 1-under-par, 70. Liao has been one of the state’s top golfers finished in the top-4 at the state tournament the past two years.
“It’s nice to be back,” Lakewood coach Alan Gonzales said before the first group teed off at 8 a.m. “It’s nice to be out here. Just happy to have the opportunity to be out here and another chance to prove ourselves.”
The Tigers want to redeem themselves after failing to qualify as a team to the 5A state tournament. Lange and Liao both went to state last year, but they were the lone Tigers to advance to the two-day state tournament.
“It was good to be there with two quality individuals, but we are more than that,” Gonzales said. “We know we can do better. It’s unfinished business.”
Liao finished tied for third last year at state after placing fourth as a sophomore. Lakewood was also in the team race in 2018 finishing second.
“We want to be right there again,” Gonzales said of Lakewood in the mix for a 5A team title. “It’s more of an expectation than a goal. We should be contending.”
Liao’s goal is to cap off his remarkable prep career with his first individual state crown.
“Senior year, I’m looking to win it,” Liao said. “I’m looking to break that streak. Hopefully not take second this year. I want to skip over that spot and take first.”
It’s the last go-around for Liao who has already established himself as one of the top Jeffco golfers over the past few decades.
“Ryan is right up there,” Gonzales said of the handful of top-notch golfers that have come through Lakewood over the last several years. “He is a special player. A special kid. He is determined on the golf course.”
On the 4A side Monday at Applewood Golf Course, Conifer senior Dakota Dolph’s even-par, 71 just edged Green Mountain senior Oliver Gibbons by a stroke to win the opening 4A Jeffco tournament.
The Rams did win the team title with Gibbons, fellow senior Jack Policaro and sophomore Jon Lord shooting rounds in the 70s to take a 21-stroke led on Evergreen for the race to the 4A Jeffco League team title.
The next Jeffco League tournament is scheduled for Monday, Aug. 17, at Raccoon Creek Golf Course in Littleton.