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Niwot boys golf gives players tournament experience

Early in the boys golf season, Niwot High School Coach Ed Weaver wants to see as many players as possible tee it up and feel why high school tournament play is different from the individual events most of his players experience during the rest of the golfing year.

“No matter how you carve it, playing high school golf tournaments is different. It just is,” Weaver said. “The kids put more pressure on themselves, I think. Anyway, they know they’re playing for a team score, which is different from tournaments over the summer when it’s just their own score that matters. I’ve had kids say, ‘Oh man, I feel like I’m letting everybody down,’ which they obviously don’t feel when they're playing just for themselves.”

Last week, Weaver was able to give 10 different players at least one 18-hole round in tournament competition as the Cougars participated in the 51st Annual Spartan Invitational in Greeley on Monday and the Eaton Invitational tournament Thursday at the Eaton Country Club.

The Cougars had both of their five-man teams place in the top 10 of the 21-team Spartan Invitational, hosted by Greeley West High School at the difficult Highland Hills Golf Course in Greeley.

The varsity team, led by senior Emmett Shell, posted a three-player score of 323 to finish fourth and the Cougars’ #2 team finished seventh. Senior Brighton Langenegger posted an 82 to lead the second team.

For all the players in the field, the Highland Hills 18 proved extremely challenging. The 10-player Cougar contingency posted just three birdies during the entire round. Shell carded two of those birdies enroute to a sixth-place tie with his four-over par score.

“Two things happened up there (in Greeley),” Weaver explained. “Highland Hills has more trees than most courses. I’d say it and Greeley Country Club are two of the heaviest tree lined courses around here. But the other part of it was the course played difficult because the roughs hadn’t been mowed down really well. That’s fine. It’s their choice, it just made it very difficult.”

Sophomores Sawyer Bennett and Jackson Sessa joined Shell for the three-player, fourth-place team finish with scores of 80 and 82, respectively.

The same trio tallied the low scores for the Cougars later in the week at Eaton. The Cougars tied for eighth in the field but were bested by only one 4A team, the Loveland Red Wolves, who finished in seventh place overall at 232. Shell finished as the low Cougar, tying for 14th place with a three-over 75. Sessa finished with a 77 and Bennett ended the round with an 84.

Weaver wasn’t completely disappointed with the week’s results, but certainly sees room for improvement.

“The guys played okay. Better course management is what has to happen. They’ve got to think through their shots a little bit more and hopefully that will come as the season goes on. They’ve got to be smarter about what they’re doing and the shots they are taking. Hopefully, this is a learning experience for later.”

The Cougars will be hosting a Longs Peak League event Tuesday, Aug. 22, at the Twin Peaks Golf Course in Longmont. Tee times start at 11 a.m.


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