Aspen High golfers swinging for states
Aspen High School’s Dominic Lanese doesn’t pretend to harbor any good feelings about last fall’s Class 3A state golf tournament in Eagle. Only a couple of weeks after winning his regional tournament, Lanese succumbed to the pressure of the final show, an opening-round 88 leading to a tie for 30th overall.
Now a sophomore, Lanese enters this season looking for more than redemption.
“States wasn’t a good run for me. But, I think this year I’m going to know what’s going on and what I have to do to win,” he said. “Winning states is probably my biggest goal. Do that and go low at states and hopefully do that three years in a row.”
The Skiers’ boys golf team opens its season today at Cedaredge Golf Club, and Lanese enters atop the field.
Aspen finished its 36-hole tryout Wednesday afternoon at Aspen Golf Club, Lanese’s 73-75 giving him a one-shot edge over fellow sophomore Jack Hughes.
Hughes, who tied for 22nd at state as a freshman, should provide a dangerous 1-2 punch for the Skiers, despite the youth.
Just over a week ago, Hughes, 14, won his age division at the Soda Pop Open in Glenwood Springs, his 63 coming only two strokes short of breaking the course record at Glenwood Springs Golf Course.
Joining Lanese and Hughes on the five-man team competing today in Cedaredge are freshman Jack Pevny, sophomore Dawson Holmes and sophomore Colter Zwieg. That’s four sophomores and one freshman making up the Skiers’ core varsity golf team this fall.
“A very young team, but we finished third at states last year and we are looking to improve on that,” Hughes said. “It’s good to be four guys all in the same grade playing varsity. We have class together and are really good friends.”
Aspen has owned regional competition for years, but this year’s batch of youngsters clearly has their eyes set on a greater prize. The team will be without Will Hazen, who finished second as an individual at state last fall as a senior.
However, AHS boys golf coach Mary Woulfe believes Hazen, who will be a student at the University of Wisconsin this fall, helped lay the foundation for this year’s squad.
“Losing Will is definitely tough,” Woulfe said. “But, when Will had been a freshman I had a conversation with him about looking to the kids that were younger than he was and trying to figure out who they were and making sure we took the time to play with some of those guys and mentor some of those guys in order to have his back.”
And last year, it was Lanese who had Hazen’s back at regionals when an “unusual ruling” late in the round cost Hazen a regional crown. It’s this drive and character that has the Skiers dreaming big this season.
“The expectations are super high. This group is able to go low,” Lanese said. “We are going to be a force to reckon with down the stretch.”
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Chase Kelly, playing at No. 3 singles, won his first three matches before falling to Niwot’s Luke Weber in the final. It was the lone loss of the season for the freshman.