Windsor Boys' Golf Team Places 4th at State Event

The elusive first state championship in boys’ golf for the Windsor High School program will have to wait another year.

The Wizards, which call Pelican Lakes Resort & Golf in Windsor, CO their home away from home, finished fourth during Monday and Tuesday’s Colorado Class 4A state tournament held at The Bridges Golf & Country Club in Montrose.

“I expected us to compete and contend, but knew the competition was going to be stiff,” said first-year Windsor head coach, and longtime Pelican Lakes member Jeff Homann. “I tried to keep myself and the boys focused on the process and let it dictate the result.” 

Windsor entered the 12-team event ranked as the top squad in the field, according to iWanamaker averages of the teams participating, and took fourth with a two-day total of 229-223 - 452 (26-over par). Evergreen, the fourth-ranked team in the field, won its first state title with scores of 218-222 for a 440 and 14-over par. Grand Junction finished runner-up at 20-over.

Montrose senior Noah Richmond, playing at his home course, claimed medalist honors with score of 74-65 (139).

Windsor junior Kellen Ball tied for 10th to earn a medal with a 7-over score of 149 (75-74). Classmate Tadese Keyworth shot an 8-over 150 (73-77) to tie for 13th. Senior Connor Kosola finished tied for 21st at 11-over with a 153 (81-72) and classmate Ethan Tippets tied for 69th at 31-over with a 173 (85-88).

Windsor’s finish relative to par (26-over) is the second lowest at state in school history. The 2021 runner-up team shot 25-over at Denver’s City Park.

“Tadese’s first round and Connor’s second round were definitely highlights, along with Kellen’s second top 10 finish,” said Coach Homann. “I was proud of the team for surviving the tough conditions the first day, being within striking distance, and grinding the second day to make up some ground.”

Windsor entered the event on a hot streak. The varsity and junior varsity teams won a combined 10 events this fall and finished second three other times including the Region 3 tournament at Boomerang Golf Links in Greeley on Sept. 21. This year’s team broke a school record for lowest season stroke average with a 75.24. (The 2021 team held the record at 76.46.)

The team also carded four of the 10 lowest three-man scores in school history and four of the six lowest four-man scores.

Oh, and Ball and Keyworth were coming off impressive performances at last year’s state tournament held at Pelican Lakes. Ball finished in a tie for runner-up with scores of 74-70 while Keyworth’s 82-76 tied him for 18th.

The Wizards were primed to hoist a trophy.

Homann brought the players out to the Montrose course, which also hosted the 2019 Class 4A state tournament and WHS placed 7th, for practice rounds on Saturday and Sunday and mentioned they were feeling comfortable with the par 71, 6,669-yard layout.

“The course is pretty straightforward,” Homann mentioned Sunday night. “Just have to battle the wind and cold in the forecast.”

Cold and wind were good weather predictions for the first day of play, but what Homann didn’t mention is the rain.

The 84 players in the field battled cold and wet conditions on Monday, and the scores showed as the stroke average from the first to second day improved from 82.40 to 80.52 when the weather improved.

Ball entered state as the third-ranked player in Class 4A with a stroke average of 71.70 and struggled to card birdies during his first 18 holes. This season Ball was a birdie hunter. He ranked 7th in the state with 37 birdies and only managed two during his state rounds. His first red number came on the 10th hole. While he didn’t knock down birdies, Ball did post 12 pars on day one to card a 4-over 75 and place 12th.

The other Wizard who adhered to the common golf phrase that “par is your friend” was Keyworth. The state veteran rolled in 13 pars on Monday to go with two birdies (holes 13 & 15), two bogeys and one double-bogey. Keyworth’s first round 73 placed him sixth and below his then-stroke average of 75.55.

Nerves played a role in Kosola’s Monday round as the senior teed it up in his first state tournament. Low numbers eluded Kosola but still managed a respectable 10-over 81 that featured 10 pars but was above his then-season average of 76.45.

Tippets did not have a good start with double bogeys on four of his first six holes enroute to a 14-over 85, which was well above his then-season average of 76.36.

Windsor sat in fifth place after the first day, 11 strokes behind eventual champion Evergreen.

Warmer temperatures assisted Windsor’s scores by six strokes on Tuesday.

Kosola closed the book on a wonderful career with an impressive 1-over 72, tied for the 10th lowest Windsor round at state. His card featured 11 pars, three birdies and four bogeys. His stroke average of 76.08 in 2023 ranks 17th all-time in WHS history. Through 38 high school rounds, Kosola’s stroke average is 82.18 to place him 18th all-time in school history. His lowest career round was a 71 on Sept. 5 at Twin Peaks.

Ball turned in a 3-over 74 on the second day. This time his card was littered with 13 pars to go with one birdie and four bogeys. The accomplished Windsor Charter Academy basketball player is already among the finest players in the 29-year history of WHS golf.

He has four of the top 13 lowest rounds in school history, including a 66 fired at Broadlands in August, has qualified for three state tournaments - including runner-up last year - holds two of the top five lowest state tournament scores in school history, is one of two Wizards ever to score in the 60s at a regional tournament (69 this year), posted the fourth-lowest season stroke average in school history in 2023 (71.91) and currently holds the second-lowest career stroke average with a 74.25 in 36 events. (Cole Krantz heads the list with 73.66 in 39 reported rounds.)

Keyworth had a difficult time writing down a par on his scorecard the second day as he only made five of them to go with his three birdies and nine bogeys. His 2023 state finish, however, tied for the sixth lowest in school history, while his 2022 score of 158 is tied for 19th best. Keyworth is also a talented basketball player for the WHS team and holds four of the top 31 lowest rounds in school history, highlighted by a 68 at Saddleback Golf Course last year. His 2023 stroke average of 75.67 is 13th all-time while his 2022 average of 76.54 is 19th best. He will enter his senior season with the sixth-lowest career stroke average of 77.83 in 32 events.

On day two, Tippets appeared to find his groove. He started on the back and made the turn at 3-over. He was 7-over with two to play but an unfortunate 11 on the hardest hole, the par 4 8th, derailed his day. He concluded his high school career with a triple-bogey on the 9th hole to shoot 88 (17-over).

His showing at state does not indicate the type of player he’s been for Windsor. His 2023 season stroke average of 77.32 ranks 24th in school history while his 2022 average of 78.43 is 32nd all time. He concluded his time at WHS with the 22nd-lowest career scoring average of 82.41, and the 69 he shot at Twin Peaks in September is tied for the 31st lowest round in school history against par.  

This was Windsor’s fifth-straight season of qualifying a team at state, and only ninth in 29 years. In the last seven years, Windsor has fielded a state team six times. When posed with the question of why Windsor is now one of the top programs in Colorado high school boys golf, Homann credits the golf course and Water Valley master-planned community.

“Most of the boys grow up on or near Pelican Lakes and can literally golf outside their back door,” he said. “The support of Pelican Lakes golf course and its members has been amazing. I’m flattered to be apart of it and want to thank my assistant coach Henry Raab, (Pelican Lakes owner) Martin Lind, (Pelican Lakes Head PGA Professional) Kevin Cohrs and his staff, the parents, my family, and the entire Pelican Lakes membership. They’ve adopted all the players as their own and that support hasn’t gone unnoticed by me.”

Every program in the state aims to achieve immortality by winning the state championship, yet only one school walks away with the golden hardware. Since its inception in 1995, Windsor has only taken home one runner-up trophy (2021) and has finished among the top 5 four other times in nine total state appearances.

Despite nearly 300 Wizards competing in varsity events since 1995, only 24 have teed it up in state and 17 of them have occurred in the last 10 years. To Homann’s point, there is something in the water at Pelican Lakes. The players who grow up as members of the course and then represent their local high school have only gotten better and better, and that’s a credit to not only the Pelican Lakes staff, but the membership.

Congratulations on yet another fantastic season, boys, and we cannot wait to see what you can do in 2024. Besides Ball and Keyworth, Windsor will return five others who averaged under 83 strokes this year, and they are Teegan Cole (77.73 average in 2023), Dillon Calkins (77.90), Camden Smith (80), Austyn Bell (82.82) and Anderson Carr (83).

Windsor at State:

2023: 26-over, 4th out of 12, The Bridges (Montrose)
2022: 29-over, tie for 5th out of 14, Pelican Lakes (Windsor)
2021: 25-over, 2nd out of 15, City Park (Denver)
2020: 59-over, 5th out of 10, Country Club of Colorado (Colorado Springs)
2019: 56-over, 7th out of 13, The Bridges (Montrose)
2017: 82-over, 9th out of 12, Racoon Creek (Littleton)
2014: 34-over, 4th out of 13, Walking Stick (Pueblo)
2013: 85-over, 10th out of 12, Hiwan (Evergreen)
2012: 70-over, 12th out of 12, The Links at Cobble Creek (Montrose)

2023 State Tournament Facts:

Par 71 | Yardage 6,669
Rating: 73.3 | Slope 141
Low individual round: 65 Noah Richmond of Montrose (Tuesday)
Most birdies: 10 (tied) Jack Finch of Littleton | Liam Houlihan of Evergreen
Defending champion: Riverdale Ridge

Top 10 Individuals:
1. Noah Richmond, Montrose (74-65) – 139
2. (tie) Tyler Long, Evergreen (71-70) – 141
2. (tie) Liam Houlihan, Evergreen (70-71) – 141
4. Jack Finch, Littleton (71-72) – 143
5. (tie) Jason Allen, Pueblo West (77-68) – 145
5. (tie) Jack Kaul, Grand Junction (71-74) – 145
7. Charlie Doyle, Cheyenne Mountain (79-68) – 147
8. (tie) Hunter Simmons, Grand Junction (73-75) – 148
8. (tie) Charlie Reisman, Steamboat Springs (73-75) – 148
10. (tie) Kellen Ball, Windsor (75-74) – 149
10. (tie) Joey Garofalo, Lutheran (75-74) – 149
10. (tie) Will Balliet, Riverdale Ridge (73-76) - 149