Tigers play to 3rd place on home Keystone Ranch course
Summit golfers will look to again qualify team to state at Tuesday’s regional tournament
The Summit High School varsity golf team is rounding into form ahead of the most important time of the year: the postseason.
The Tigers proved as much on their home course Thursday, Sept. 16, with a third-place finish out of 10 schools at the Summit County Keystone Ranch Invitational. At the Keystone Ranch 18-hole course, Tigers senior Ranger Stone continued to blossom in just his second year playing competitive golf, shooting a personal-record round of 77 strokes.
The 5-over-par round earned Stone a tie for an eighth-place finish on a day when some of the state’s best golfers competed against the Tigers. That included Stone’s group mate Arapahoe senior Matthew Wilkinson, who won the tournament with the below-par score of 71 — one under par.
Arapahoe also won the team competition, with a score of 215 to top Denver North (237) and Summit (240). The Tigers’ 240 was based on the three best scores of Summit’s top-five ranked players heading into the day, including Stone’s 77, senior Ricky Ahlquist’s 79 and freshman Jace Melby’s 84. Summit’s third- and fourth-best rounds of the day came from sophomore Carter Gillett (79) and senior Zach Carleton (81) — personal-best rounds for each.
Tigers head coach Ryne Scholl said Stone’s team-best round culminated with a long birdie putt on his 17th hole, Keystone Ranch’s No. 8.
“He kept us in it all day,” Scholl said. “At the end of the day, he held his own with some of the better kids on the Front Range, which was really our goal because we will be playing a few of them this coming week at regionals.”
Scholl said Stone stuck to the game plan that has worked for him throughout the season, opting for a 3-wood off the tee box to hit ’em straight. Stone put the exclamation point on his personal-best day with that birdie on his penultimate hole despite gusty afternoon winds. He then played a par on his final hole to secure the strong round.
“Ranger has sort of put the team on his shoulders this year,” Scholl said. “And he’s put himself and the team in position to go to regionals for what, I believe, may be a good opportunity for the Summit Tigers to have a repeat berth at state. And I would be very surprised if we didn’t see Ranger qualify for states.”
Scholl said the achievement of three Tigers under 80 was a first for him in his two seasons as coach, and the first time it’s been done in recent memory, to his knowledge.
“It was a whole lot of great play and guys, I think, really stepping up to the plate under a bit of pressure,” Scholl said.
The pressure most of the Tigers were under was to earn a spot on the regional team. After Stone and Ahlquist clinched regional spots, Summit had two up for grabs. Gillett’s 79 earned him the third spot. The Tigers coaching staff will determine by Friday who will play in the fourth and final spot for Tuesday’s regional meet at Cobble Creek in Montrose.
Scholl said Ahlquist had a typical round for himself Thursday as he rallied back from a poor start to salvage a strong, below-80 score. As the day wore on, Ahlquist was sure to play most holes to a par and keep the ball in play. He did so by ditching his driver and opting for irons off some strategic tee boxes.
As for Gillett — whose older brother Everett, a junior, shot an 85 — Scholl said “everything went well” for the sophomore Thursday.
“Carter has one of the best attitudes out there,” the coach said. “He’s just a real positive guy who’s always looking forward to the next shot and not worrying about the last shot. Today for Carter was the culmination of keeping big numbers off the scorecard, keeping double bogeys off and mixing in some pars and bogeys to come into the 70s.”
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