When Cheyenne Mountain’s Keaton Hulen first found out the 4A Region 2 Golf Tournament would be played at the Country Club of Colorado, he was thrilled.
It’s more than his home course. It’s almost as if the course is his own backyard.
Playing under tough conditions, Hulen shot 76 and cruised to victory in the regional tournament.
Hulen, a junior, moved to Colorado Springs from Oklahoma in June. He estimates he’s played the course (Cheyenne Mountain’s home course) 60-plus times since the move. He plays, he said, 18 holes nearly every day.
“Sometimes I play twice a day,” he said.
Most of the golfers struggled mightily Tuesday morning and afternoon. The greens had been freshly mowed and rolled, which meant putts were rolling fast and far. The wind was brutal, especially from 9 a.m., when the golfers started, to noon.
The course was not kind to aggressive play. Golfers who tried the power approach often found themselves in trouble.
Despite the conditions, Hulen was relaxed and confident as he began. He realized he had the extreme blessing of a home-course advantage.
“Oh, it’s incredible,” he said. “All the nuances on the green. All the tee shots, you know. I can’t describe what an advantage it is. It’s great.”
He tried to offer help to his fellow golfers, who were not accustomed to the challenging course. He offered tips when asked.
“I had a little bit of an advantage to say the least,” he said. “I tried to help as much as I could.”
Hulen ended his round with his best shot of the day, sinking a 40-foot blast from the bunker. He shook his fist and started thinking about the state tournament.
Air Academy’s Gage Nartker also qualified for the state tournament. He finished 10th after shooting 88.
Alden Clark of Cheyenne Mountain shot 98. Like Hulen, he’s highly familiar with the course.
“I think it definitely could have helped, but I didn’t take advantage of it,” he said.
Reagan Hasselstrom of Air Academy shot 100. He said the wind was especially distracting during the first four hours of his nearly six-hour round.
“It was a windy morning,” he said. “It was definitely score changing at some points.”
Valor Christian was the team winner.