GOLDEN - Eric Chen couldn’t help but sneak a peek behind him on the 18th hole Tuesday, knowing his main competition for the Class 5A state title …
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GOLDEN - Eric Chen couldn’t help but sneak a peek behind him on the 18th hole Tuesday, knowing his main competition for the Class 5A state title was only a short distance behind.
However, the Legacy sophomore didn’t let that faze him as he fired an impressive 1-under-par 70 on the second day of the 5A state golf tournament and finished with a two-day score of 146.
It looked good enough for a state title, but Douglas County’s Kyler Dunkler was able to birdie the final hole to finish one stroke ahead of Chen to be crowned the state champion.
“I knew I was close to the top, but I didn’t know until later that he birdied the last hole,” said Chen, who finished tied for second with Regis Jesuit’s Spencer Painton. “It really wasn’t too bad with him back there. I didn’t let that bother me.”
Dunkle, who also shot a 70 Tuesday, and Chen were the only two golfers that were under par throughout the tournament.
Grand Junction’s Donny Kinnaman was the leader after the first day with a 72, he finished fourth after shooting a 76 during the second day.
Chen went into Tuesday’s round at The Club at Rolling Hills tied for seventh but made some adjustments to his putt and it paid dividends.
After bogeying three of the first four holes on Monday, Chen was able to shoot par on the first six holes and then birdied the seventh, ninth and 10th holes.
“I adjusted my putter (Tuesday) and made it squarer,” Chen said. “I felt a lot more comfortable putting the ball and more confident.”
Last season, Chen finished tied for 32nd with a two-day score of 155. Now the Legacy star is even hungrier for a state title so he can join former Legacy star golfer Steve Zeigler, who won back-to-back state titles in 2005 and 2006.
“That’s my goal, to be just like him,” Chen said. “I want at least one (state title).”
Mountain Range’s Evin Lewis (82-80) birdied the first hole, but couldn’t overcome 10 bogeys on Tuesday and finished tied for 36th. Standley Lake’s Eli Mackay finished tied for 50th after shooting an 86 on Tuesday, which was a stroke more than he shot on Monday.
Northglenn’s Chris Strukman (85-88) was tied for 58th, while teammate Louis Vadeen (82-101) was 75th.
Regis Jesuit won the team title with a 446, while Ralston Valley was second with a 454. In Class 3A, Holy Family finished as runner-up after jumping up from eighth place.
The Tigers, who shot a 246 on Monday, rebounded with a 226 on Tuesday to finish second to Kent Denver (217-228).
Conor Stanley (83-76) and Blake Bollman (76-83) were tied for 13th, while Tyler Lucero (87-74) was tied for 19th and Joey Bartolelli (88-76) was tied for 26th.
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