AURORA | The new season is just 18 holes old, but it already has a much different feel for the Smoky Hill boys golf team.
The senior-laden Buffaloes finished with a total score of 323 Thursday in the first Centennial League tournament of the season, putting them fourth in the team standings behind Cherry Creek (304), Mullen (309) and Arapahoe (315) after a day of play at Meadow Hills Golf Course.
While four of Smoky Hill’s five players were seniors, freshman Paul Cleveland turned in the low score for the round with a 9-over-par 79, one shot better than older brother Joey and Mitchell Robben, who each checked in at 80. Blake Spencer’s 84 rounded out the scoring for the Buffaloes, who finished eighth and last in four of the five Centennial League tournaments last season and only once managed to get into seventh.
“There’s still room for improvement, some of us didn’t shoot as well as we could, myself included, but I still think we could have a great season ahead,” Robben said. “Hopefully we can step up again and get in the top three in one of these tournaments.”
Robben shot 1-over on the back nine to help rescue his round, which included a seven on the first hole.
“I didn’t sleep very well the night before and took a seven on the first one, which is never a good way so start it,” Robben said. “I lost a ball and hooked it into the trees, but I really had one of my better rounds on the back. I just stuck with it and didn’t give up.”
Paul Cleveland capped his round with a solid putt on No. 18, pumping his fist after the ball dropped into the cup.
A shot behind Smoky Hill was Grandview, which carded a total score of 324 despite having three players appearing in their first varsity tournaments. Junior Devyn Solano had the top individual score among Aurora players with a 4-over 75, which tied him for fourth individually.
“I was pretty happy with my round,” said Solano, who was second in last season’s league tournament at Meadow Hills. “I had two double bogeys on the front nine, but I was 1-under on the back until a bogey on 18. It was pretty good overall.”
The Wolves — who also got a 79 from Chad Tam — played without standout senior Randy Urso, who was away playing in a junior golf tournament.
Cherokee Trail sophomore Mitch Nevin (79) was the only other Aurora player to shoot below 80 and helped the Cougars to a sixth-place result.
Senior Joe Slocum’s 82 paced Overland, which had only three players entered in the varsity field, while Justin Tyler’s 95 was seventh-place Eaglecrest’s best score.
Reach Sports Editor Courtney Oakes at email@example.com or 303-750-7555
CENTENNIAL LEAGUE BOYS GOLF MEET NO. 1
Thursday at Meadow Hills Golf Course (par 70)
Team scores: 1. Cherry Creek 304; 2. Mullen 309; 3. Arapahoe 315; 4. Smoky Hill 323; 5. Grandview 324; 6. Cherokee Trail 331; 7. Eaglecrest 389; Overland no score
Top five individuals: 1. Max Urman (Cherry Creek) 72; T1. Grant Vanek (Mullen) 72; 3. Trevor McKune (Mullen) 73; T4. Devyn Solano (Grandview) 75; T4. Kyle Taylor (Arapahoe) 75
AURORA SCORES BY TEAM
Cherokee Trail: Mitch Nevin 40-39 79; Ben Knapp 42-41 83; Ben John 42-41 83; Zach Goldsmith 41-45 86; Dave Matthews 50-40 90
Eaglecrest: Justin Tyler 46-49 95; Isaiah Dixon 49-47 96; Jeff Sternisha 48-51 99; A. Torres 50-49 99; B. Rivore 56-54 110
Grandview: Devyn Solano 39-36 75; Chad Tam 40-39 79; Dylan Sahm 43-41 84; K. Carr 45-41 86; Shane Pouliot 44-45 89
Overland: Joe Slocum 41-41 82; Von Owen 44-42 86; Mac Dings 47-46 93
Smoky Hill: Paul Cleveland 39-40 79; Joey Cleveland 38-42 80; Mitchell Robben 44-36 80; Blake Spencer 42-42 84; Joe Klotz 44-47 91
OTHER SCORES BY TEAM
Arapahoe: Kyle Taylor 35-40 75; Sam Marley 35-43 78; R. Otten 39-42 81; J. Goldsberry 43-38 81; H. Schaefer 46-36 82
Cherry Creek: Max Urman 35-37 72; Jackson Burke 39-37 76; Kobe Padilla 38-38 76; Cole Edwards 39-41 80; J. Guana 41-44 85
Mullen: Grant Vanek 37-35 72; Trevor McKune 37-36 73; E. Redd 39-38 77; CJ Lauer 44-43 87; A. havey 49-53 102