COLORADO SPRINGS — Elly Carlson didn't quite need a career day for Pine Creek to come away the big winner at the Class 4A Region 1 girls golf tournament at the Country Club of Colorado.
But she went and had one anyway.
The Eagles senior sank par putts on the 17th and 18th holes to finish with a par 71 on Monday. It paced Pine Creek, who finished with a 260 as a team, good enough for a win. All four Pine Creek golfers will head to state in two weeks.
And Carlson was rewarded twice over as she grabbed the individual win, setting a career best with that 71.
"I don't think there was a specific point (where a career record was in play), I just knew I was consistently all the way through," Carlson said. "When I was even through nine, I knew I was kind of on a roll."
She actually started a little shaky, opening her round with a bogey on No. 1. She rebounded with a birdie on the fourth and then went on a run of pars, sinking eight in a row.
She sank a birdie on No. 12 to briefly move to 1-under. She gave that stroke back and then regained it over the next two holes. She drove through the fairway on 16 setting up a couple of rough shots — including one from the bunker — that led to a bogey. With two remaining, she made back-to-back, never letting her nerves get the better of her.
"I never get nervous," she said. "It's all in the athleticism and I'm just playing the course. I'm not playing the players I'm with."
Taylor Heisler and Elizabeth Pendleton added to the winning score, shooting a 92 and a 97, respectively, to bring home gold for the Eagles. With state two weeks away at Colorado National in Erie, it was the kind of momentum that coach Shane Brown wanted his girls to seize.
"We've at Taylor at 88 this year, we've had Allison (Palmer) at 88 this year and Elizabeth at 85," he said. "With this 71, we can achieve really anything. And we did. We set a goal to win regionals and take four to state. We've never taken four to state ever in girls golf."
Cheyenne Mountain grabbed second place as a team, meaning that the Indians will also send four girls to state.
It has been a different feel from year's past where they were heading into the state tournament with expectations of winning. Coach John Carricato knew that a lot of work from all four girls was going to be necessary if the entire team was going to make the trip. But what he saw out of that was his team bond together in way they hadn't in previous years.
"It has been great leadership," Carricato said. "Casey Fetters is phenomenal. She's a great player, but just as good a leader. She got these four together and they play for each other."
Fetters finished with a 81, good for third place individually. Her teammate, Maxine Choi, came in with a 78. And she echoed the mentality that this year, these girls are in it for each other and that they worked to score better as one team rather than three or four individuals.
"We pushed our teammates more," Choi said. "During the season, it's been different. We all practiced differently."
The 4A state girls golf tournament begins May 22 at Colorado National.