With two sets of grandparents, aunts, uncles and his parents there to watch, pressure mounted on Eaglecrest’s Davis Bryant Tuesday in the final round of the Class 5A boys state golf tournament.
With all eyes on him and the final group at CommonGround Golf Course, Bryant — as cool a customer as you’ll find on a golf course — never blinked on the final stretch of holes that earned him a long sought-after state title.
Ever since he finished second at last season’s 5A state tournament, Bryant had worked towards this day. He was glad to share it with family and a throng of supporters from his school who turned out to watch.
“I think there were about a dozen of us in the family out there,” said Bryant, who finished 3-under-par for the tournament with rounds of 70 and 69.
“It was a little bit more pressure with them there because you want to play well and have a good finish, but at the same time I tried to put it off to the side and say ‘there is a job to do,’” he added.
“There was a little bit more added pressure, but it was cool to have everyone around.”
The Bryant clan had a lot to be proud of in the play of Bryant, who eventually prevailed in a see-saw battle with his playing partners in the final group, Dillon Stewart of Fossil Ridge and Grand Junction’s Canon Olkowski.
Bryant faced a stroke deficit to Stewart — a good friend who he played with over the summer representing Colorado at the Junior America’s Cup tournament — coming into the final round and eventually caught up by playing steady as he always does while his competitors gave in to frustration.
Bryant took the lead with a clutch uphill putt on Hole No. 12 — which drove the large gallery following crazy — and never gave it back.
He built the lead to as many as three shots, which was plenty, even though he missed a putt on No. 18 that would have been a perfect finish.
“The game plan was to make as many pars as I could and I knew eventually the putts were going to go in the hole,” Bryant said.
“It feels so good and it’s hard to put into words…It will feel really cool to go back to school and say I won a state title.”
Bryant came out firing in his senior season after a summer that saw him qualify for and play in a slew of national tournaments. The fruits of that paid off during an undefeated regular season in which Bryant shot at least 1-under-par in every high school tournament and won a third straight Centennial League crown.
Bryant’s victory brought smiles and tears to his parents, Matt and Julie, who have nurtured his love for golf for many years.
The win also put a permanent grin on the face of longtime Eaglecrest golf coach Stan Adams, who was thrilled for Bryant and the new standard he’d set for the program.
“It took 28 years, but we finally have a state golf champion,” Adams said. “It is really fun to watch a kid that is really dialed in on his craft. He went wire-to-wire this season and wasn’t beaten. That’s tough to do in any sport, so he really dominated.”
Courtney Oakes is Aurora Sentinel Sports Editor. Reach him at 303-750-7555 or firstname.lastname@example.org. Twitter: @aurorasports. FB: Aurora Prep Sentinel