Summit senior puts exclamation point on Tiger career with personal-best round at state tournament
Ranger Stone’s 74 concludes career; Ricky Ahlquist plays at third-consecutive state meet
Just a year after he formally picked up the sport, Summit Tigers senior Ranger Stone shot a personal best 4-over-par 74 Tuesday, Oct. 5, at an 18-hole second round of the Colorado High School Activities Association 4A state boys golf tournament at City Park Golf Course in Denver.
“What a day for him,” Tigers head coach Ryne Scholl. “You love to see the whole year culminate in that. … This finishes his career with his best round ever, and that’s special as a coach to see that come to fruition.”
Stone’s round paired with an 86 from the opening round on Monday, Oct. 4, earned him a total 36-hole score of 16-over — a mark that ranked him in the middle of the pack in the 84-golfer field. Stone’s fellow Summit senior Ricky Ahlquist shot rounds of 85 each day to cap a Tigers career where he played at three state tournaments.
Stone and Scholl said the key development in Stone’s play at the state tournament was his ability to hit a new driver. After Stone was specially fitted for a TaylorMade driver over the weekend, he dialed it in during a practice round at City Park.
“And I was hitting it pretty solid,” he said. “I used to just use just a 3-wood and be 30 yards behind everybody else. But (Tuesday), I was 50 yards in front of the other kids in my group, and that was definitely a huge help.”
Stone’s ability to drive City Park’s new fairways — the city course was redesigned before this summer — enabled him on Tuesday to go to his short game and attack some par-4s. That included Tuesday’s first hole of the day, where on his first swing of the round, he drove off the tee box to just 90 yards from the pin. The second shot was even better, Stone leaning on his 56-degree sand wedge to tag the flag and rest feet from the hole for a tap-in birdie putt.
“Ranger kept his foot on the gas all the way around and played beautifully,” Scholl said. “He played smart golf and was aggressive when he could. He took what the course gave him, and mapped his way around.”
Stone’s strong state championship showing comes just over a year after friends and 2021 Tigers state-championship golf seniors Ryley Cibula and Tyler Nakos encouraged and recruited Stone to the golf team. After a round as friends out on the Keystone River Course in the COVID-affected summer of 2020, Stone took up golf. While Stone is also a soccer player, the soccer season was delayed to spring, making time for golf.
Ever since, Scholl said Stone has brought the best attitude to the course each day, not letting a bad shot get him down. He also brought a competitiveness and consistency to the Tigers, which Scholl said benefited the team and enabled his rise up the ranks, from shooting in the 90s last season to soaring past 80.
“Having passion for the sport is key,” Stone said.
Ahlquist rounded out his Tigers career also having learned to love the sport. Four years ago, he joined then-coach Gary Sorenson’s program at the recommendation from his mom, who wanted to make something of his set of golf clubs. Ahlquist went from being a once-in-a-while golfer who’d go out to shoot nine rounds with his grandfather to the most powerful presence driving fairways for the Tigers this year.
“I wouldn’t take back these four years — they have been some of the best of my life,” Ahlquist said. “Golf has definitely become a huge part of my life. … As a person, golf helped me change my life to have a new outlook on life. And Gary and Ryne helped me get there.”
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