Despite the wet and cloudy conditions at Walking Stick Golf on Thursday, the pueblo athletes put in some outstanding performances during the 2022 CHSAA 4A Boys Golf Region 1.
It was Pueblo West High School leading the field locally, which took second place individually in the tournament, and also placed second as a team.
The Cyclones will qualify all four of the top golfers for the state championship after Thursday’s close. The team achieved the final score of 237, with only two strokes from Falcon High School taking first, and golfer Noah Wagner finishing second overall behind Falcon’s Reese Knox.
Wagner, Knox and Zane Aiken of Ponderosa ended a three-way tie after 18 holes and had to compete in a playoff to determine the overall winner.
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After the first extra hole, Wagner and Knox were kept tied up and forced to play a second hole to determine the victor. In the end, Knox took first place over Wagner’s Eagle over a Wagner’s bird, hitting it with one blow.
“The course was definitely playing tough today,” Wagner said. “It was windy up there with a slight breeze all day and the pins were rough. I kind of got a slow start with a plus one in the ninth lead and then ended up turning it over and playing well. I just had a hard finish but I mean that’s the way it goes. The game, that’s golf.”
The 18th hole gave Wagner some bouts but she was forgiving during the playoff. After battling a double bogey to finish the first 18 holes, Wagner knocked out 18 during playoffs to force play to continue.
“I played really well today and wrestled,” Wagner said. “I knew I was two strokes ahead and was hitting the ball really well all day. I fought today and showed my character and never gave up. I was hoping to win but I had a good day too.”
Other notable Pueblo athletes attending this year’s state championships include Pueblo County’s Roy Higginbotham, Pueblo’s Nico Cositto, Pueblo’s Michael Arell, Preston Allen, Michael Waitliff, Pueblo East’s Parker Shaw and Jaden Padilla. Padilla finished fifth overall in the tournament with a score of 76 which was good enough for a four on a par.
“I feel good,” Padilla said of his performance. “It was raining really hard at the end. I was playing really well and then those last three holes came and it was a challenge but I felt like I managed to get through it and I finished strong.”
Despite playing in adverse weather conditions, Padilla managed to make the state championship with a comfortable score.
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“You know, the greens, they were definitely rolling,” Padilla said. “They were a bit quick but other than that it’s a good old walking game – it’s a tough course if you’re all over the place, but I was able to keep playing today so that was fine.”
The Class 4A State Final will take place at Pelican Lakes Golf Club in Windsor on October 3-4 starting at 9 a.m.
Christopher Abdelmalek is a sports reporter for the Pueblo Chieftain and can be contacted at email@example.com or on Twitter: @chowebacca