Arapahoe sophomore Will Kates and Lutheran senior Westin Pals delivered their best golf of the season when it counted the most.
Kates won the Class 5A state championship at Pinehurst Country Club on Oct. 8 after carding a final round 4-under-par 66 for a two-round total of 143 to win by five strokes. He also helped Arapahoe rally to capture the second-place trophy.
Pals also saved his best for last as he came from behind with a 2-under-par 70 on the Air Force Academy’s blue course to force a playoff for the Class 3A individual state crown. He and Walker Franklin of Prospect Ridge finished at 144 but Pals won the playoff and the state title with a par on the first extra hole.
He also played a key role in Lutheran capturing the state team title.
Kates and Pals were named the 2019 Colorado Community Media South Metro Co-Golfers of the Year.
“Will worked very hard,” said Arapahoe coach Harry Buckner. “All the practice during the season on his chipping and putting sure paid off. During our practice rounds he figured out where he had to be on the greens to have chances at birdies.
“It was a very smart final round on his part. This was no fluke. He is that good.”
Kates admitted his putting is what helped him surprise the rest of the golfers in the 5A tournament.
“I had a pretty good season,” said Kates. “It feels amazing to be a state champion. I played really good. I made a lot of putts. I didn’t hit the ball any better than normal but I hit my wedges pretty good and my putting was amazing.”
Pals hopes his 3A state tournament performance will draw the attention of college coaches.
“Westin absolutely played his best golf over the two days of the state tournament,” said Lutheran coach Kevin Voltz. “In the four years I’ve known him, he has dedicated his life to golf. His goal has been to play in college and beyond. With his high school days coming to an end, I believe he put too much pressure on himself to perform and subsequently his performance suffered because of this. It all came together at the state tournament, having played the best high-pressure golf I’ve seen from him.”
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