Justin Spray barely warmed up because of a stiff back. He doublebogeyed the fourth hole and hit into a sand trap on the fifth. This was not how the top-ranked player in the 21-team Class 4A Regional figured his day would go. But Spray turned it around and won individual honors Monday at Springs Ranch Golf Club. He shot a 1-under-par 71 to win by two strokes over Cheyenne Mountain teammate Garrett Smith, Taylor Stamp of Colorado Springs Christian School and Chris Lorenzini of Pine Creek. Cheyenne Mountain won the team title by 15 strokes over Colorado Springs Christian School. The top two teams — and the best seven individuals not on those teams — qualified for the state tournament Oct. 3-4 at Wellshire Golf Course in Englewood. It will be Cheyenne Mountain coach Bill Paulson’s 13th trip to the state tournament in 26 years. “Justin deserved to win,” Paulson said. “He’s won every Metro League tournament.” Dave Schroeder of Cheyenne Mountain finished fifth with a 74 while teammate Rex Ingham tied CSCS’ Tim Freeman for sixth at 75. Also for CSCS, Brandon Hystad shot 77, Chris Delorey 82 and Austin Bevere 89. Qualifying for state as individuals were Stamp, Lorenzini, Derek Fisher (76) of St. Mary’s, Kevin Hurley (76) of Salida, William Bender (77) of Lake County, Zach Grames (77) of Pine Creek and James Nagl (78) of St. Mary’s. Spray shot a 77 in last year’s regional as a sophomore but had higher goals Monday, especially since his average score this season is 70. “I made a sand save on No. 5 and that gave me confidence,” Spray said. “That was a big save, coming right after the double (bogey).” He birdied four of the next five holes, then birdied No. 15 to get to 3-under. He had a three-putt bogey on 16 and bogeyed 18 after pulling his drive into a pond. “I hit the ball really well,” Spray said. “I learned a lot today. I learned I can get it back. I was 2-over and normally when I lose a few strokes, I don’t get it back.” A bigger goal, he said, was for Cheyenne Mountain to win the regional. A year ago, the Indians beat CSCS in a playoff for the second spot — Liberty was regional champ — and won the state tournament. “I think we have a real good shot to win it again,” Smith said. “We’re really strong one through four, or even five.” The Indians’ only tournament loss is to ThunderRidge, which has won the past four 5A state titles. Tom Glissmeyer was Cheyenne Mountain’s marquee player the past four seasons. “(Spray’s) stroke average is lower than Tom’s was last year,” Paulson said. “Tom’s part of this in a way, though. He left such a work ethic and the guys have emulated that. But with Tom gone, they all felt like they had something to prove. They’ve played great all year.” CONTACT THE WRITER: 636-0250 or email@example.com
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