PUEBLO - This time last month, Patrick Shin couldn't crack the varsity lineup at Cheyenne Mountain, unaware where his senior season would eventually lead him.
On Monday at Walking Stick Golf Course, the senior led the Indians back to the 4A state boys' golf tournament, draining a 25-foot birdie putt on the first playoff hole to claim the individual championship and help the Indians win the team regional. Coronado took second, allowing the Cougars to join the Indians at the state tournament.
For Shin, it's been quite a ride.
"Here's a kid who didn't play varsity golf until this year," longtime Indians coach Bill Paulson said. "When the season started, he still wasn't there, but was very close. But once he got his shot, he made the most of it. We like to see this type of thing happen. It's a great example on why you stick with it."
Shin, who went to 2-under after a birdie on No. 13, gave it back on the next hole but stayed at 1-under with four consecutive pars to end the round. Meanwhile, Pueblo West senior Glenn Workman, verbally committed to Wyoming, was 3-over with eight holes left, but rallied with a 33 on the back nine, highlighted by a birdie on No. 18.
The two, playing among the first groups to finish, had to wait for the rest of the 19 schools and 79 players to complete the round before heading to No. 10 to decide the region champ.
Shin missed the fairway on his tee shot but recovered to make the green in two. Workman also made the green in two, but Shin had a longer shot and had the first attempt. His clutch shot certainly put the pressure on Workman, who finished third overall at last season's 4A state meet.
Workman pulled his birdie attempt to the left, making Shin the regional champ.
"When I hooked that tee shot to the left, I was just hoping for the best," Shin said. "I had a good lie in the rough and made the best of the opportunity. The putt was a pretty straight shot. After I missed the first tournament, that was motivation to play well. From the middle of the season, I kept my spot.
Cheyenne Mountain, which finished third in last season's 4A tournament, shot an even-par 216. Coronado overcame a few struggles to hold off reigning 4A state champ Pueblo South by seven shots to grab the second team berth.
Sophomore Austin Burgess carded a one-over 73 to pace the Cougars, while the team's lone senior, Kyle Kleckner, suffered through an 86 but still found a reason to smile at the end of the day.
"I knew we'd have a good team this year, but this actually turned out better than I expected," Kleckner said. "I'm excited to see what we can do at state, especially since this is my senior year. I have great teammates. We definitely rely on each other."
In addition to the two teams, the next 16 individuals also punched tickets to the state tournament, Sept. 30-Oct. 1 at Hiwan Golf Club in Evergreen.
For the third year in a row, Vista Ridge junior Dylan Hall earned a spot among the top 4A golfers. This time, he'll have company wearing the Wolves' Carolina blue and black. His brother, Dean.
After Dylan shot a 73, the Wolves junior waited outside the clubhouse for his older brother, who carded an 83 and waited nervously for a possible playoff as the cut hovered in the low 80s.
As it turned out, it was just what he needed.
"I've been fortunate enough to make state two times before, but it's nice to see Dean get there for the first time, for his senior year," Dylan Hall said. "I thought there would be a playoff, and I knew he'd be upset if he didn't make it. We've both been playing so long, since we could walk. I remember days playing with plastic clubs."