Regis’ Lundquist is top individual, Raiders are top team at Class 5A state golf
Gus Lundquist had to wait awhile to learn he had won the Class 5A state boys golf championship Tuesday, and even then he couldn’t celebrate.
He and his Regis Jesuit High School teammates went right to the putting green at Bookcliff Country Club — they had to prepare for a team playoff against Cherry Creek.
“I found out just before we went out that I had won,” Lundquist said after shooting an impressive even-par 71 in the wind and rain to finish at 144, one stroke ahead of Mountain Range’s Brandon Gayeski.
Lundquist had to wait for three groups to finish after he did and those scores to be posted to make sure he won.
“I tried not to let it affect me, I kind of kept it suppressed,” he said of the playoff. “I had stuff left to do and I owed it to the team do that.”
Just like the individual championship that came down to the final shot, so did the team title. Daniel Johnson calmly made a three-foot par putt on No. 9 to give the Raiders the team championship after both schools finished at 445.
“It was pretty awesome,” Lundquist said of the double championship for the Raiders. “We have Daniel to thank for that. He got the par. He had about a two-, three-foot putt for par and he made it. That’s what won it for us.”
All the other players in the eight-man, one-hole playoff bogeyed.
The persistent rain made conditions miserable for the golfers, who went through numerous towels trying to keep their grips and hands dry.
“Just staying dry,” Fruita Monument’s Joey Saad said of the challenge the rain presented.
“The course still played itself. The greens were a little slower after the water got on them, but you get used to that. It was really how well you could keep yourself focused, how well you could keep yourself in the game.”
Lundquist, a senior who finished second in last year’s state tournament by one stroke, used the rain to his advantage.
“It was pouring and the wind started blowing and I started taking extra clubs and hitting punch shots, just trying to get the ball on the green,” he said. “I didn’t make many birdies, I had one birdie and one bogey on the front nine and the rest were pars.
“I was just trying my best to keep the ball low, keep it in the fairway, get it on the green and get away with pars.”
A couple of shots hurt Gayeski, who hit into the water on No. 12 and into the hazard on No. 18, costing him two crucial shots.
He needed to make a long putt on 18 to force a playoff for medalist honors, but it came up about a foot short.
The players dealt with less-than ideal conditions all day, from light rain to periods of heavy rain and gusting winds.
Just before the teams went out for the playoff, the sun came out for a few moments, then the wind came up again and it clouded over.
Saad struggled to an 81 in the second round, finishing tied for 39th, but put his final high school round in perspective.
“I think it just wasn’t meant to be,” he said. “And I’m totally fine with that. One thing you learn to overcome as an athlete is failure. You’ve got to be ready for that. I wanted to do good in this tournament, but I’m OK with it.”
In a few weeks, if his back is feeling up to it, Saad said he’s thinking about trying out for the basketball team.
Grand Junction’s Donny Kinnaman, only a freshman, tied for 23rd with a 78 on Tuesday for a 153. Teammate Garrett Fante, a senior, shot a second-round 83 and tied for 55th at 162.
The local golfers enjoyed playing at home, but maybe put a little extra pressure on themselves because they were at home, Fruita coach Dave Fox said.
“I think there are so many good golfers out here, you just don’t know, maybe it is a little added burden being on your home course,” Fox said. “Some of it is being familiar with the course, but the pressure that might be there that you don’t know about, certain subtle pressures.”
For Lundquist, it was a matter of knowing what to expect in the final round that helped him handle the pressure.
“I felt a lot better going into this tournament than last year,” he said. “Last year was a bit of a surprise, I played really, really well and ended up finishing second by one shot, but this year ... it was nice way to build on it, a nice way to go out, that’s for sure.
“I got lucky enough today that even par was good enough with the conditions.”