SANTA ANA PUEBLO – This wasn’t just the best round of golf ever shot in a New Mexico High School state tournament.
This was almost certainly the best round of golf shot at ANY New Mexico high school tournament.
Cibola senior Aiden Krafft lit up Twin Warriors Golf Club on the second and final day of what turned out to be a historic Class 5A state event. Krafft, always in control with pinpoint driving and on-target iron play, authored a magnificent round of 12-under-par 60 to win the tournament by 13 shots on Tuesday afternoon.
“Everyone was telling me I was cracked all day,” he said. “It just means you’re really, really good, just kind of on cruise control, but in a good way.”
The competitive course record at Twin Warriors is 63, but that score was recorded from a back tee where the course plays much longer. Krafft played Twin Warriors at about 6,700 yards this week.
In this century, the lowest single-round score recorded by any boy at state was Rio Rancho’s Trent Rommann’s 65 in 2001. And it is believed Krafft’s 60 was the best round ever recorded by any high school golfer at state, although there was no way to immediately confirm due to incomplete record keeping.
The best score Krafft had previously shot at Twin, he said, was a 69 in last week’s district tournament.
On Tuesday, the University of Oregon signee was basically Tiger Woods 2000 at Pebble Beach, and the field was no match for his talent.
“It’s strange, because you know you can do it,” he said. “Everyone always knows they can shoot really low.”
Krafft’s 36-hole total of 131 – his 1-under 71 staked him to a slim one-shot lead after Monday’s first round – left the two players who tied for second, Vari Mariscal of Deming and defending champ Quinn Yost of Piedra Vista, far in the rear-view mirror. Those two shot even-par 144 for the two days. Yost shot the only other subpar round Tuesday, a 2-under 70.
Meanwhile, for the easygoing Krafft, 60 merely matched the lowest score of his career. He also shot 60 at Los Altos Golf Course in August of 2020 on the final day of the men’s city tournament, in calm conditions.
These two 60s were completely different animals, obviously, mostly because of the comparative difficulty in Twin Warriors versus an Albuquerque city track.
Krafft’s iron play was strong from the start Tuesday, and he came out blazing, with birdies on his first three holes and six of his first seven. He turned in 6-under 30.
He chipped in from just off the green for eagle at the par-5 first, and he left himself three consecutive, 3-foot birdie putts at holes 3-5. He converted them all to move to 11-under.
“I thought I was gonna shoot 58 there for a while,” Krafft said wistfully.
He parred Nos. 6 and 7, setting up a dramatic finish.
Krafft, with an increasingly large crowd surrounding the par-5 eighth hole – his 17th of the day – whistled a 5-iron second shot from 220 yards away to about 25 feet below the hole.
His eagle putt, which would have vaulted him to 13-under, did almost a complete horseshoe before staying on the edge.
“It was looking good the whole way,” said Krafft, who was also the state champion his freshman season ( 2019) at the Canyon Club. “Just shows that golf still sucks even when you’re playing good.”
Krafft burned the edge on a 20-foot birdie putt on the par-3 ninth, a putt that he thought was in with about 3 feet to go. He thought it would break slightly left at the end. The putt remained straight and singed the lip of the cup.
“I wanted that to go in so bad,” Krafft said. “I think everyone did. It looked like it was hearted. It didn’t turn, it just stayed there.”
Deming’s boys outlasted Cibola in a three-hole, nearly two-hour playoff for the boys team title, a playoff that only occurred because of Krafft’s spectacular round. Both teams finished at 43-over par 619. Piedra Vista was third, eight shots back.
It was a contrast between individual winners Tuesday.
While Krafft won state in his final prep event, the girls champion isn’t even technically in high school yet. Organ Mountain eighth-grader Eleanor Warden – who attends Camino Real Middle School in Las Cruces – posted a three-shot victory over the defending state champ, Centennial’s Alex Armendariz.
Warden had a three-shot lead to start Tuesday’s second round.
“I’ve told this to a lot of people, but it was my overall goal to win state (today),” she said. “I definitely accomplished that.”
Centennial won the 5A team title, with a two-day total of 716, a dozen strokes ahead of first-round leader La Cueva.
The top metro-area girl in the standings was Sandia sophomore Olivia Zamarripa, who tied for fifth place.