One of the normal behaviors for a high school golf tournament of late has been that teammates have been paired together. The idea is a product of the COVID-19 sports landscape that has altered so much of normalcy in the last six months.
Among the pairings at the first Class 3A Tri-Peaks League tournament at the Trinidad Municipal Golf Course, a senior from Primero High School walks alone.
When Lance Peters walks toward a driving range or a practice putting green, he looks almost out of place. At first glance, he appears to be a tight end that is taking up golf due to the shift of the high school sports calendar. When he rips his driver, however, there is no doubt that his aggressively controlled swing is that of a kid who would rather spend his fall days hunting for birdies than hauling in touchdowns.
"My dad (got me into golf)," Peters said. "When I was little he was always into golf so he got me going and it just stuck."
Like most kids in their sport of choice, once it stuck and he continued to practice he developed a lot of ability when it came to navigating the course.
His body frame would make a casual observer believe he's a bomber who enjoys mashing his driver then trying to figure things out from there. While that looks like fun on the professional circuit with the likes of a Bryson DeChambeau, Peters' game is far more complete. Even on an off day, his irons sound crisp and are rarely off line. His hands are soft enough to control his wedges and navigate his way around the greens.
And his putting? For someone who certainly has the ability to hit the ball hard, he might be far better with the flat stick than anything else in his bag.
"I wish I could say (the best part of my game) was my driving," Peters said. "But I have to go with my putting right now. It helps me get up and down and save those pars and some bad holes. It helps out."
In just three events this season, his name has become a fixture at or near the top of the leaderboard. He won his first tournament of the year, the La Junta Stapleford. He shot a casual 5-under-par 67 which was good enough to score 31 points and keep him 10 ahead of Pueblo East's Evan Smith.
With golf teams around his area somewhat limited, Peters and Primero have joined up with the Tri-Peaks League where he can battle with top-notch players such as Lamar's Jimmy Clark or St. Mary's standout Peter Stinar. Peters and Clark shot matching 74's at the Alamosa Invitational and Clark got the win via handicap hole tiebreaker.
Peters finished third at Monday's Tri-Peaks Tournament after shooting 80. Clark's 77 was good enough to get the win, but Peters has shown that he'll thrive while playing against talented golfers for the duration of the season despite coming from a school with an enrollment of just 86 kids.
"Competition always makes you play better," he said. "I like that coming from bigger schools."
Another part of what he feels will make him play better is status as a one-kid team. He is the only golfer to represent Primero this year and as other players in the state are now routinely getting paired with their teammates, Peters is truly out on an island.
"It helps me work harder," Peters said. "I don't have a lot of distractions and that can actually be a lot of fun."
Peters finished 27th at the 3A state tournament at Eisenhower Golf Course last year. He's hoping he can play well through the season and be someone that other players will have to worry about this year when the 3A tournament heads to Dos Rios in Gunnison.