Despite wet and cloudy conditions at Walking Stick Golf Course Thursday, Pueblo Athletes had some outstanding performances during the 2022 CHSAA 4A Boys Golf Region 1 tournament.
Leading the field locally was Pueblo West High School, which had the tournament’s second overall individual finisher and also finished second as a team.
The Cyclones will have all four of their top golfers advance to the state tournament after Thursday’s finish. The team notched a final score of 237, just two strokes off first-place finisher Falcon High School, and its top golfer Noah Wagner finished second overall behind Falcon’s Reese Knox.
Wagner, Knox and Zane Aiken of Ponderosa finished in a three-way tie after 18 holes and had to compete in a playoff to determine the overall winner.
More:Here are the top Pueblo prep boys Golfers to watch for 2022
After the first extra hole, Wagner and Knox remained tied and were forced to play a second hole to determine the winner. Knox would eventually take the top spot over Wagner with an eagle over Wagner’s birdie, beating him by a single stroke.
“The course was definitely playing tough today,” Wagner said. “It was Windy out there with a little Breeze the whole day and the Pins were tough. I kind of got off to a slow start with a plus-one on the front nine and then I ended up flipping it around and playing well. I just had a tough finish but I mean that’s how the game goes, that’s golf.”
The 18th hole gave Wagner some fits but was forgiving during the playoff. After struggling with a double bogey to end his initial 18 holes, Wagner parred the 18th during the playoff to force play to continue.
“I played well today and I battled,” Wagner said. “I knew I had a two-stroke lead and I was hitting the ball well all day. I battled today and showed my character and I never gave up. I would have loved to win but I also had a good day.”
Other notable Pueblo Athletes to make the state tournament this year are Pueblo County’s Roy Higinbotham and Niko Cozzetto, Pueblo Centennial’s Michael Arrell, Pueblo West’s Preston Allen, Michael Whittlef, and Parker Shaw, and Pueblo East’s Jayden Padilla. Padilla finished fifth overall in the tournament with a score of 76 which was good enough for four over par.
“I feel pretty good,” Padilla said of his performance. “The rain was tough at the end. I was playing actually really well and then those last three holes came and it was a challenge but I felt like I was able to work through it and I finished strong.”
Despite playing through the adverse weather conditions, Padilla was able to make the state tournament with a comfortable score.
More:Wagner hopes to ‘put’ Pueblo on the map at US Junior Amateur
“You know, the greens, they were Rolling for sure,” Padilla said. “They were a little quick but other than that it’s good old Walking Stick — it’s a tough course if you’re all over the place, but I was able to keep it in play today so that was good.”
The Class 4A State final tournament will take place at Pelican Lakes Golf Club in Windsor on Oct. 3-4 starting at 9 am
Christopher Abdelmalek is a sports Reporter for the Pueblo Chieftain and can be reached at [email protected] or on Twitter: @chowebacca