PUEBLO WEST — As Falcon's Reese Knox walked off the ninth green at Desert Hawk golf course, he looked to his dad and complained about his putting.
So on the back nine, he decided to hole shots out rather than putt them. In a two-hole span he hit one fairway, one green in regulation and just a single putt while shaving three strokes of his score. By the time he got to the clubhouse he had carded a 3-under-par 69 to claim the Class 4A Region 1 title.
A big piece of that round came as he chipped in for eagle at the par-5 12th and holed out from a greenside bunker on 13. That stretched helped him fall back to around even where Coronado's Noah Keller lingered most of the day.
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"On the front I was lipping (putts) out a bit," Knox said. "By the time I got to the back I just decided I was going to play golf and not worry about the score. I started playing and just fell into the moment. I started chipping in and getting some lucky breaks."
His approach shot from the rough on No. 2 landed inches from the hole for his first birdie of the day, but his ensuing tee shot was out of bounds resulting in a double-bogey. He bogeyed No. 4 before making a birdie on the par-3 fifth and eventually made the turn at 1-over. He played the first six holes on the back at 4-under with a par and a bogey before coasting to three pars in the final three holes.
Pueblo West held off Falcon by three strokes to claim the team regional championship. The Cyclones got solid performances from Toby Sailnas and Noah Wagner at last year's 4A tournament at the Bridges. They'll head to the Country Club of Colorado looking to make another run at a state title and coach Dan Sanchez thinks the experience from last year is key.
"In all high school sports, if you've been in those pressure situations and you've felt the struggle, to me that's what it's all about," Sanchez said.
It was announced last week that the 4A state tournament was moving to the Country Club of Colorado but for several players from all around the state, there is a feeling of excitement when it comes to qualifying for the tournament and getting a chance to play a new venue with new players to compete with.
"Today was fun, I had never really met these guys," Durango junior Levi Tichi said. "I had played (Eisenhower) once or twice, it was my freshman year regional course. I was happy to hear about the change to the Country Club of Colorado because I've been struggling with putting all year."
Not that the greens at CC of C are a cakewalk, but Eisenhower has proven to be one of the toughest putting courses in all of the front range. Regardless of the venue, the qualifiers from the Desert Hawk regional will get back to work on Tuesday with an eye on competing at state.
St. Mary's claims team title at 3A Region 2
With two players finishing in the top three, St. Mary's came away with a regional team title at Murphy Creek. Kent Denver's Jeffrey Zhou shot 73 to claim medalist honors.
Sterling and Eaton send teams to Dos Rios
Sterling and Eaton each grabbed a pair of top 10 finishers at 3A Region 3 at Boomerang Golf Links. The Tigers won the team title as senior Trey Kuntz finished second overall with a 73. Strasburg's Jacob Gilbert won the individual title.
Ford tames Country Club of Colorado
Discovery Canyon's Kaden Ford was laughing the last time he played the Country Club of Colorado, calling it the "worst ball-striking day of my life."
The result was much better at regionals. Ford claimed the individual championship at the Country Club of Colorado. Cheyenne Mountain won the team title as Ponderosa took second.
Rock Canyon's team finishes under par at Raccoon Creek
Nick Fallin led the way with a 65 as Rock Canyon grabbed the individual and team regional titles at Raccoon Creek. Overall, five players shot under par at the tournament.
Ralston Valley's Gage Messingham led Ralston Valley with a 67 and the Mustangs finished second to get their team to state.
Fossil Ridge edges Pine Creek at Hyland Hills
Lengend's Ryan Parker claimed the 5A Northern regional title at Hyland Hills with a 71. Pine Creek's Wesley Erling matched him, but ultimately finished second.
Fossil Ridge claimed the team title by beating out Pine Creek by just two strokes.