does not typically bow to pressure.
It is a trait that has made the senior from Kent Denver (Englewood)
one of the top prep golfers in the state. It has helped Freeman land numerous titles while earning an invitation to join the golf program at the University of Colorado.
Of course, keeping calm is a common skill among elite golf players. Yet Freeman's excellence in this arena will be sorely tested when the Class 3A state finals begin next week.
Not only will Freeman be hoping to lead the Sun Devils to a seventh consecutive team title, but he will be shooting for history as he attempts to become the first Colorado prep player to land three individual state titles.
Kent Denver's run at history will begin Monday at the Pinehurst Country Club in Denver, with the final round slated for Tuesday. The Class 5A and 4A finals also will be held on Monday and Tuesday, with the 4A tournament scheduled for Cobble Creek Golf Course in Montrose and the 5A tournament teeing off at The Club at Rolling Hills in Golden.
"He's a great talent and is real sharp," Kent Denver coach Bob Austin said. "He's playing well, and he certainly comes in with a lot of confidence. He always seems to handle the pressure. I always stress on him to just play the next hole. We never talk about (the record). Down the stretch on Tuesday we won't bring it up, but it certainly will be something that might come into play."
Kent Denver won three consecutive Class 4A titles before winning the past three Class 3A titles. Freeman has been the central figure in those 3A championships—he also finished in a tie for fourth as a freshman in 2009—but the Sun Devils will aim for the seven-peat armed with more than just Freeman's talents, as all four of the players in Kent's lineup are seniors with state experience.
Kent senior Ben Moore
finished fourth last year and will be a title contender if Freeman happens to falter. Will Fehr
is a big hitter eager to make amends for a tough state final last year, and No. 4 player Josh Repine
is one of the best all-around athletes at Kent.
"Our message is always that you can't look at the outcome and you can't look at the result," Austin said. "(Moore) has the talent to be a Division I player. In my mind, there are probably five to 10 guys who could win this, and he's certainly on that list."
In the Class 4A final, Silver Creek (Longmont)
will shoot for a second consecutive 4A title despite a scoring error during the Raptors' victory at the Northern Regional that cost Silver Creek the state eligibility of junior Todd Millard. Silver Creek will compete with only three players but two of those athletes — Jack Adolfson
and Dylan Wonnacott
— finished second and third, respectively, at state last year.
In the Class 5A tournament, Regis Jesuit (Aurora)
will be shooting for a third consecutive championship behind state title hopeful Cole Cunningham
. Cunningham, a senior who tied for fifth last year, is backed by two other skilled juniors, Chris Korte
and Jack Kelley
. And while the Raiders' No. 4 player, Spencer Painton
, narrowly missed cracking the Raiders' state lineup last year, he did gain state experience two years ago as a freshman at Grandview (Aurora).
"All of those guys average about 73 to 74, and on any given day one of them has been our top player," Regis Jesuit coach Craig Rogers said. "All are very capable players and we have a lot of depth. Making our top four itself is quite an achievement. I like where we're at. They are bound to be a little nervous, but that's OK. I think once they get a few shots in, they'll settle in and stay steady."State tournament informationClass 5A
Oct. 1-2 at The Club at Rolling Hills, Golden. PairingsClass 4A
Oct. 1-2 at Cobble Creek G.C., Montrose. Pairings Class 3A
Oct. 1-2, Pinehurst C.C., Denver.Pairings