Rifle Creek is a difficult course because it is narrow and filled with hazards. The team fell short of qualifying for state as a team, but the Indians sent one golfer to state competition. Senior Kolton Kyne was able to play through the tough course to earn a spot in the class 4A state tournament.
After keeping his focus for hours through the first 18 holes at regionals, Kyne shot an 80, tying with four other golfers for two remaining qualifying spots. To break the tie, the four golfers participated in a sudden death round.
Kyne coolly shot a par on the first hole, qualifying him for the state tournament at Pelican Lake in Windsor.
“I have been in playoffs before, but I actually really liked it,” Kyne said. “It was a good test but it was stressful and I was happy to make it through.”
The Montrose team placed fourth overall with a score of 246, a composite score from the top three golfers on the team: Kyne, and seniors Owen Parker and Josh DeRosia. But it was not enough to take them all to state; for the team to qualify, all three would have had to place in the top nine.
“We had the capability, we just did not have a good day,” head golf coach Angelo DeJulio said.
At the state competition, Kyne faced tough competition, but after two rounds over two days, he tied for fifth with Nick Reisch from Broomfield. For the first 18 holes on Monday Kyne shot a 70, two under par for the course. He came back the next day and shot par for a total of 142 points.
“Kolton played terrific,”DeJulio said. “He had a solid round [Monday]. Under par for the state tournament is awesome. He was hitting well and putting well,”
Before the tournament in Rifle, Kyne was ranked third in the region. The ranking came from his stroke average for all the tournaments he competed in this season.
According to Kyne, being ranked third in the region was decent because he felt he did not have a good year.
“I was making swing changes and it was hard for me to trust myself. I had some good days and some bad days,” he said.
Kyne also had other changes to deal with this golf season. Kyne is a student at Ridgway High School, but his golf team got cut this year because he was the only returning golfer. Kyne opted to play golf for Montrose because it was the next closest team.
Kyne was a proven player at the 2A level when he played for Ridgway High School his previous three seasons. He qualified for the 2A state tournament his sophomore and junior years. Last year Kyne placed in the top 15 at state, shooting a 75 and a 76 for a total score of 251.
“I love having Kolton [on the team],” DeJulio said. “He is our best player and a good leader. I wish we could have had him all four years.”
Although commuting to Montrose for practice was difficult, Kyne said he was happy to be there because of the coach and the team.
“Angelo was a good friend of mine and the team was really good so it was fun and I made some new friends,” Kyne said.
College golf is on the agenda for Kyne. A few schools are offering scholarships, and Kyne hopes his top five finish at the state tournament will open some other college coaches’ eyes.
DeJulio believes he Kyne will succeed as a college golf player thanks to his skills and maturity.
“Kolton is maturing into a good player. His mental game is really strong, and he is one heck of a competitor,” DeJulio said.