The birdie putt dropped on No. 18, and Jack Mitchell walked off the Country Club of Colorado course for the last time as a high school golfer. But for the Evergreen High School senior, it didn’t feel like the culmination of his golfing career.
“It didn’t feel like the end of my career. It’s just the beginning,” Mitchell said.
The final tournament of his prep career — the 4A state tournament on Oct. 5-6 in Colorado Springs — didn’t exactly start the way he would’ve liked with an 8-over-par on the first eight holes, including double bogeys on No. 2, 5 and 8. But the finish more than made up for it.
He tied Frederick’s Jake Chesler for fourth place with a 9-over 151 two-day total and just one shot back of Mullen’s Rhett Johnson for third. Mitchell’s even-par 71 on Day 2 included four birdies — three on the final seven holes.
“Everything kind of turned around. I was really excited with how I played (Oct. 6),” Mitchell said.
It marked the school’s best individual finish at state since Bridger Tenney tied for second in 2017 with a 5-over-par 149.
Not too shabby for Mitchell, who earned his second straight top-10 state finish. He tied for 10th as a junior with an 8-over-par 150. He placed 36th as a sophomore.
“I turned around and made the best out of a bad situation from that first day,” Mitchell said of his rough start to the tournament.
Conifer’s Dakota Dolph, like Mitchell, found himself in a hole early on at state. The Lobos senior, who started on No. 10 on Day 1, bogeyed or double bogeyed the first five holes to find himself 7-over. He settled in after that to be just 10-over by the end of the round en route to tying for 18th with a 17-over 159.
“It’s been pretty good. It’s been a pretty good run,” said Dolph, who tied for 14th last year with an 11-over 153 and 18th as a sophomore with a 13-over 157. “I didn’t really realize what I had done my sophomore and junior years until I looked back after the second round.”
Mechanically, Dolph thought that he played pretty well. He was hitting the fairways but struggled on the greens. He finished the two-day tournament with no birdies, a rarity for sure.
“This was probably the hardest state tournament. The course was harder. It definitely played hard. The greens were faster,” Dolph said.
Evergreen, as a team, placed eighth. Jake Dekoker carded a 26-over 168 to finish 46th, while Marco Shields was 79th with a 51-over 193. Conifer’s Luca Parks-Arenare tied for 57th with a 30-over-par 172.
Montrose’s Jordan Jennings won the individual title with a 144, while Cheyenne Mountain took home team honors by five shots — 459 to 464 — over Mullen.