By Craig Harper
For the Courier
DENVER — Motivation matters in a sport’s offseason, as golfers Lenny Urbas of Evergreen and Scott Robb of Littleton can attest.
Neither player was satisfied with his 2013 high school season and both put in the time and effort to improve for 2014. Based on the opening 4A Jeffco tournament on Aug. 13 at Foothills Golf Course, it was a fait accompli.
Urbas, a sophomore, shot the Cougars’ lowest round, a 1-over-par 73 in a tournament that was shortened to nine holes as only four of the 10 teams completed 18 before rain and lightning forced a permanent stoppage. Urbas shot even-par 36 on the front nine, one shot below teammate Alec Moens, who tied for third two shots behind a pair of Valor Christian golfers and finished with a 76. Sophomore Liam Short had 38 for nine holes and 74 for 18.
Robb, a junior, also shot 36 on the front nine. He was 2-over through 15 when play was halted.
Urbas said he played in about half of Evergreen’s matches last year, but not making the regional or state teams was all the prodding he needed.
“I was kind of disappointed and that’s why I worked harder this offseason,” Urbas said.
Urbas has improved enough that he and Short, the team’s lone returning state qualifier, can be considered co-No. 1 players.
“They are about the same in scoring average,’’ said Cougars coach Mike Kuzava. “Lenny came out on top today, but they are neck-and-neck. It’s a good problem to have when you have two guys who are pushing each other. Lenny did probably work harder than anybody and it’s showing because his scores are there. In fact, over the summer Lenny played a little better than Liam.’’
Robb did not qualify for state last year, but he has emerged as Littleton’s top player.
“I didn’t play very well. Last year was a year I’d like to forget,” he said. ”Last year, I almost had a fear to go low and have a good round. It wasn’t, like, a real fear. But I’d kind of be looking at the scorecard and then just waiting for the inevitable blowup. This year, fortunately, I’ve controlled that and played much more consistently.”
Littleton is one of three additions to the 4A Jeffco lineup along with Valor Christian and Standley Lake. As expected, Valor, which has won four of the last five state titles, including 2013, dominated the first tournament. Minus their top two players, the Eagles beat Evergreen 137-147. Littleton, which also got a 38 from Jacob Fuchs, was fifth at 165 behind Golden (161) and Standley Lake (163).
Rebuilding D’Evelyn, seventh at last year’s state meet, was seventh at 177, 16 shots better than eighth-place Conifer.
Sophomore Austin Brown paced the Lobos with a 44. He was 3-over after 12 holes when play was suspended. He was followed by seniors Spencer Greenwood (47) and Christopher Ostberg (49).
“We were short on players at first — we were short one player for the first tryouts — but it’s starting to become a good team. We’ve got good players,” said Brown, who played on last year’s regional team along with Ostberg.